The Norman Transcript

National Sports

December 4, 2012

Waiting game

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly has bigger things to worry about right now than defending national champion Alabama.

With the national championship game between top-ranked Fighting Irish (12-0) and the Crimson Tide (12-1) more than a month away, Kelly’s main concern is making sure his will be ready to play after 44 days without a game.

“We’re just trying to be better than Alabama on Monday, Jan. 7,” Kelly said. “So our entire focus will be on a one-game season, trying to be better on Monday, Jan. 7. So you can understand, we don’t want to be better than Alabama on the 27th of December.”

Alabama has already shown it knows how to be ready after long layoffs, winning the BCS title game in 2009 and again last season. Kelly said he talked to coaches at LSU, Oregon to get advice on how best prepare for a long layoff and they reinforced his plan of starting off slow with fundamentals.

Last week and this week, Irish players have been focusing on conditioning, weightlifting and school work. It’s a chance for players who may have lost a few pounds to get back up to weight and gain strength, he said. Notre Dame will hold its first practices on Friday and Saturday, then hold six more practices before players head home on Dec. 21. They’ll return to campus for practices Dec. 28-31, and then leave for Miami on Jan. 2. They will practice three times in Florida before the game.

The early practices will have a preseason camp feel stressing fundamentals and giving younger players more work, then begin to fine tune the practices for Alabama as the game draws nearer, Kelly said.

The time away from the field will help some players. Kelly mentioned linebacker Manti Te’o specifically as someone who needs a little time to recover with all the attention he’s been under as he begins traveling the nation for all the awards he’s up for. He won the Butkus Award as the nation’s top linebacker on Monday and was named one of the Heisman Trophy finalists, too.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
National Sports
  • Tiger in the hunt after day one at Bridgestone

    AKRON, Ohio — Tiger Woods showed signs of a positive recovery Thursday at the Bridgestone Invitational. Not just from back surgery, but from making bogeys....

    August 1, 2014

  • Cardinals Red Sox Trade Cardinals land Lackey, shore up rotation

    BOSTON — The Boston Red Sox traded right-hander John Lackey to the St. Louis Cardinals for right-hander Joe Kelly and outfielder Allen Craig before Thursday’s deadline....

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Defensive indefernce in Big-D as injury suffles front seven

    OXNARD, Calif. — Rookie pass rusher DeMarcus Lawrence’s broken foot didn’t send the Dallas Cowboys scrambling because they’re already in rebuilding mode with their defensive line....

    August 1, 2014

  • Rams’ go with youth in secondary

    ST. LOUIS — The St. Louis Rams secondary doesn’t have veteran leaders, high-dollar talent or big names. Those handling spots on the last line of defense are confident they won’t be a liability....

    August 1, 2014

  • Tigers go all in on Price

    DETROIT — When David Price was finally traded, it was to an unexpected bidder. The Detroit Tigers added another Cy Young Award winner to their star-studded rotation, acquiring Price from Tampa Bay in a blockbuster deal Thursday....

    August 1, 2014

  • Oakland lands Lester, Gomes in exchange for Cespedes

    OAKLAND, Calif. — The Oakland Athletics won the Jon Lester sweepstakes, acquiring the left-hander and outfielder Jonny Gomes from the Boston Red Sox for slugging outfielder Yoenis Cespedes before Thursday’s trade deadline....

    August 1, 2014

  • Indians trade Justin Masterson to Cardinals

    CLEVELAND — The Indians had little choice but to give up Justin Masterson. The trade doesn’t mean they’re going to surrender the season....

    July 31, 2014

  • Cowboys sign tackle Smith to 8-year extension

    OXNARD, Calif. — Tyron Smith has a new contract that will probably make him the most important blocker for the next Dallas quarterback after Tony Romo....

    July 31, 2014

  • Quarterback questions abound with big stars gone from SEC offenses

    MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Quarterback battles and signal-caller questions abound in the Southeastern Conference going into preseason camps around the league. Big names, not so much....

    July 31, 2014

  • Jones says Brent out of rehab, NFL question next

    OXNARD, Calif. — Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones says former defensive tackle Josh Brent is out of rehabilitation and could have his future with the NFL resolved before the team leaves training camp in California in two weeks....

    July 31, 2014