CNHI News Service

Sports

January 2, 2013

Kelly says pre-game hoopla won't distract Irish

Notre Dame arrives in South Florida for BCS title contest

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Brian Kelly, Notre Dame's football coach, stood on the airport tarmac here Wednesday afternoon and mused about his safety as he looked out at the media hord awaiting his thoughts about the BCS championship game Monday against Alabama.

"Do you see that," Kelly said, gesturing at the sea of microphones and cameras. "I'm not going in there!"

But he hesitated for only a moment as he led his No. 1 ranked  Fighting Irish off their chartered flight and four days of preparation, mixed with pre-game celebration, for the biggest game of his coaching career.

"We're going to get our work done and we're going to enjoy our time here and we're going to get the proper rest necessary," Kelly said. "You don't go 35 days and condition your team to come out and blow it. We've had plenty of fun, we'll enjoy our time here, but we're here to win a football game."

That is a formidable challenge for the only major college undefeated team. Alabama is familiar with the rituals and distractions of a championship game, having played in three of the last four. And the Crimson Tide is a double-digit favorite to crush the Irish.

That didn't seem to bother Notre Dame, which started the 2012 season unranked. That changed when the Irish upset Michigan State and Oklahoma, and defeated highly-ranked Stanford.

"We've played a lot of games as underdogs this year," said Robby Toma, Notre Dame's senior wide receiver and the only player the media was allowed to speak with at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Jet Center.

"A lot of people doubted us," said Toma. "Nothing's going to change. We're going to compete for four quarters. We're not going to guarantee a win. We're just going to go out there and play."

Text Only
Sports
  • mfp Hoffner's return 1.jpg Players protest return of fired Minnesota coach

    The University of Minnesota-Mankato football refused to practice Wednesday afternoon, boycotting the return of Todd Hoffner as head foot ball coach. Players said in a prepared statement that they preferred interim coach Aaron Keen, who led the team to an 11-1 record last season and the second round of the NCAA Division II tournament.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Wildcats aren't champs but we're all still watching Calipari

    Kentucky coach John Calipari is a college basketball phenom for his ability to knit together championship-caliber teams of freshmen. How long will Calipari's success last as other coaches catch on?

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Too much of a good thing at UConn?

    The Connecticut Huskies dominate women's college basketball - which makes for a boring game.

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-04-09 at 5.06.43 PM.png Spartans mourn passing of 'Princess Lacey'

    Lacey Holsworth, the 8-year-old cancer patient from Michigan who befriended Michigan State forward Adreian Payne and established a bond with his teammates before and during the Spartans’ run to the Elite Eight, died at her home late Tuesday night, her family said.

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Taking someone out to the ballgame gets expensive

    Families in big-league cities like Boston and New York pay steep prices to catch a baseball game. It's not so expensive everywhere - especially if you're frugal.
     

    April 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • hank_aaron_display_image.jpg VIDEO: Aaron's historic homer

    On the 40th anniversary of Hank Aaron's record-breaking 715th career home run, take a look at the historic moment as it happened.

    April 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg As Final Four tips off, all eyes are on the refs

    Whistles have changed the course of the NCAA tournament. Let's just hope one doesn't decide college basketball's next national champion.

    April 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • spt_mariejones.jpg 92-year-old fan bleeds UK Wildcats blue

    As the Kentucky Wildcats prepare for their 16th Final Four appearance this weekend, they’ve reawakened the passions of fans across the country, including one woman who watches every game on TV, even though she can’t clearly see the players’ faces.

    April 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-04-02 at 3.45.19 PM.png VIDEO: Nolan Ryan's wild first pitch

    Even in his most dominant years, Nolan Ryan was never known for his pinpoint control. The all-time Major League leader in strikeouts -- and walks -- threw out the ceremonial first pitch this week before the Houston Astros' opener against the New York Yankees. It did not go well.

    April 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • spt_baylor.jpg VIDEO: Angels hitting coach suffers bizarre leg injury

    LA Angels hitting coach Don Baylor suffered a broken leg while squatting to catch a ceremonial first pitch from former Angel Vladimir Guerrero on Opening Day.

    April 2, 2014 1 Photo

News

Features

Opinion