This trash-talking will be personal.
Just, please, whatever you do, RJ, don’t flatten your Notre-Dame-repping little brother Deon if he comes calling with the ball in his hand Saturday at Hard Rock Stadium.
Your mom will love you even more for it.
Your dad? You have his permission to give little bro a good, safe hit.
The tension is high this week in the McIntosh household in Fort Lauderdale, where six siblings and mom and dad are in a tizzy over their oldest son RJ McIntosh, a hard-hitting star defensive tackle for the Miami Hurricanes, going head-to-head for the first time against backup Notre Dame tailback Deon.
“I know their dad loves Miami,” Kyria McIntosh, the mom of this brood, told the Miami Herald on Friday. “But as far as I’m concerned, I want them both to win.
“I just hung up the phone with RJ. He wants to make sure I’m OK that he’s not going to intentionally hurt his brother.’’
Added Kyria: “He did say, ‘But Mom, I have a job to do.’’’
RJ McIntosh, a 6-4, 293-pound junior, lining up against his 5-10, 193-pound redshirt freshman brother is enough to make any parent sweat. Just keep in mind that Notre Dame’s top running back Josh Adams, who already has 1,191 yards, nine touchdowns and averages 7.2 yards a carry, is a Heisman Trophy candidate.
Big-brother McIntosh, 21, got to wear UM’s vaunted turnover chain after recovering a fumble and rumbling 35 yards toward the goal line with the ball last week against Virginia Tech. He is fifth on the team with 32 tackles and has six tackles for loss, two sacks, six pass breakups and three quarterback hurries.
Little brother McIntosh, 20, has rushed for 367 yards and five touchdowns on 64 carries for a strong 5.7-yard-per-rush average.
Both played for Cardinal Gibbons in Fort Lauderdale.
The other McIntoshes: Dad Richard, who won a state title as a running back for Fort Lauderdale Dillard High in 1989; and children Kiera, 27; Ricki, 24; Debbie, Deon’s twin (yes, she’s pulling for Notre Dame); and Kenny, 17, a star running back/receiver at University School, where he is being wooed by many top schools, including Notre Dame and Miami.
Kyria works in human resources at Macy’s and Richard owns a business that remodels swimming pools.
At least 40 family members, some traveling from Ohio and Georgia, will be at the game, meeting early for tailgating. The family designed colorful T-shirts with both players and teams represented and “House Not Divided” on the back.
But, hey, is it RJ’s fault that he’s 100 pounds heavier than Deon and his so-called quiet little brother has been trash-talking with the big guy this week?
“He’s a good player. I grew up with him,” RJ said this week with a grin. “But we’re going to handle him, too. He’s fast, he’s quick, he trash talks. He tried to get in my head.
“It’s going to be fun.’’
The No. 3 Fighting Irish (8-1) are favored to beat the No. 7 Canes (8-0, 6-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) by 3 ½ points.
Notre Dame did not make Deon available to the media this week.
“I told him, ‘I’m going to get a hit on your brother,’ ” starter Adams said to reporters Wednesday on Deon’s behalf. “But that was just me joking.’’
Richard said his sons have been telling him about their “going back and forth.’’
RJ told his father that Deon told him via text or social media, “Bro, I know you haven’t lost yet, but I’m sorry we’re going to have to bring that ‘L’ to you.’’
RJ replied: “No, bro. You have it wrong. I know you didn’t go to a bowl game last year, so at least you’re going to get to a bowl. But you’re not getting a ‘W’ against us.’’
Truth is, after last year’s UM loss against Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, the two brothers met on the field and embraced, Dad said.
Richard said he routinely texts a “pregame speech” to each son every Saturday.
“The best thing for me would be if Deon runs for 100 yards and Miami comes away with the victory,’’ the father said. “May the best team win.’’