LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Hunter Bivin started Under Armour All-America practice working out at left tackle, but it barely took the Black Team coaches half of one practice for them to realize they needed the Notre Dame commit to help them at center.
The 6-foot-7, 290-pounder from Kentucky jumped at the opportunity to play a position he hasn’t played in more than a year in order to help his team in the exhibition contest.
“I played a lot of center my junior year,” said Bivin. “I’m still getting used to the snapping and stepping. I think once I get that ironed out, I’ll be good to go. Overall, I think I’m playing hard, playing well.”
Irish offensive line coach Harry Hiestand has brought up the possibility of Bivin playing center at some point in South Bend and not surprisingly, Bivin's attitude is the same.
“Me and Coach Hiestand have talked about it a little bit,” said Bivin. “Wherever I fit best, wherever they need me, I’m down for anything.”
By day three down here, it was clear that Bivin was ironing things out. He has excelled all week in pass protection while also making the most of his chances in the running game as the starting center. The entire Black Team offensive line seems to have improved as the week’s gone on, leading up to Friday's game.
“We were clicking a little bit better,” Bivin said after one practice. “The first day everybody was just trying to get everything ironed out and hadn’t hit in a while. But we were clicking. We were moving the ball running it, passing it well, getting good pass protection. I think we’ll be good.”
Bivin has enjoyed going against All-Americans at every position all week.
“It’s definitely a lot faster,” he said. “That’s the main difference. I’ve been against stronger guys, but not nearly as fast and not strong and fast. That’s the main difference.”
He’s also enjoyed meeting a lot of new people and reuniting with old friends and future teammates like Colin McGovern, Alex Anzalone and Tarean Folston.
“Obviously I know Colin,” Bivin said. “I knew Ethan Pocic from playing for Team USA together. He’s my roommate. I met some new guys. Everybody’s pretty cool down here.”
The Kentucky lineman has also stuck out as one of the leaders of his offensive line group, quick to get everybody organized, making sure the coaches’ messages are being understood and always there to offer encouragement to his fellow linemen.
That effort was recognized on Thursday as Black Team head coach Herm Edwards announced Bivin as one of the squad’s co-captains.