Irish Notebook

Beard bond galvanizes Notre Dame players

 

sdegnan@MiamiHerald.com

They call themselves “the beard gang” — 6-2, 306-pound defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore; 5-11, 200-pound safety Matthias Farley; 6-6, 300-pound nose guard Tony Springmann; and 6-3, 295-pound right guard Mike Golic Jr.

Safety Zeke Motta “jumped on late,” Lewis-Moore said.

Lewis-Moore insisted the beards don’t give his teammates special powers, but they do create a hairy bond.

All vowed not to shave until the Fighting Irish lose.

What if one of them shaves?

“We will give them the stank eye,” Lewis-Moore said.

Good work out

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said coaches “pushed” the players Friday through the second practice session at the Miami Dolphins facility in Davie. It lasted only an hour and 15 minutes.

“I thought they responded very well,” Kelly said. “I’m pleased with back-to-back days where we got a lot of work done. We’re ready to play. We have one more day [Saturday], and we’ll clean some things up … and get ready to play Alabama in a great game.”

Kelly said his players were free for the first time Friday afternoon.

“So, they’ll get a chance to relax,’’ he said.

NO. 5 AND NO. 5

If you’re watching the game Monday and notice two players wearing jersey No. 5 for Notre Dame, don’t be confused.

The No. 5 on offense is quarterback Everett Golson.

The No. 5 on defense is linebacker Manti Te’o.

Te’o was asked if there was a reason behind him wearing that number.

“It’s kind of a simple story,” he said, explaining that he was 5 years old when he and his father “were driving around Laie [Hawaii] where I grew up. He asked me, ‘Son, when you play football what number do you want to be?’ I said, ‘Five.’ I’ve managed to be lucky enough to carry on that little tradition that I started.”

Golson was asked a similar question. “I just always wore it,” he said, “from like JV in high school.”

This and that

• Irish offensive coordinator Chuck Martin insisted his players have no pregame rituals — at least at Sun Life Stadium. They’re famous for slapping the “Play Like A Champion Today” sign as they enter Notre Dame Stadium.

“We try not to do anything the same way twice because then we can never be off schedule,” Martin said. “We can never say, ‘We didn’t put our socks on the right way today.’ There are a lot of things that can creep in your mind and help you lose a game. We try to stay away from those.”

• The Irish have been involved in 26 games decided by seven points or less since the start of the 2009 campaign. Fifteen of the past 21 losses for the Irish have been decided by a touchdown or less, including seven by a field goal or less.

Notre Dame has played in 60 games in the 125-year history of the program where the winning points occurred in overtime or the game’s final minute of regulation. Fifteen have come in the past five years.

This season, the Irish won five games by a touchdown or less. They defeated Pittsburgh 29-26 on Nov. 3 in triple overtime.

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