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
  • Drivers visit Indiana National Guard before race at Brickyard

    EDINBURGH, Ind. — Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Graham Rahal are used to occasional fireworks when drivers get upset at the track....

    July 25, 2014

  • Nibali wins Stage 18, builds overall lead

    ARGELES-GAZOST, France — As his team hoped, Vincenzo Nibali demonstrated he’s the “boss” of the Tour de France. Just don’t compare him to the last rider to regularly bear that sobriquet at cycling’s greatest race, Lance Armstrong....

    July 25, 2014

  • Sooners use momentum from Sugar Bowl in preparation for 2015 season

    The Associated Press NORMAN, Okla. — Oklahoma got a lot of attention with its upset victory over Alabama in the Sugar Bowl....

    July 25, 2014

  • Yankees edge Texas for sixth victory in seven games

    NEW YORK — Brandon McCarthy and Chase Headley are quickly putting their stamp on a playoff surge for the New York Yankees....

    July 25, 2014

  • Smoke turns corner at Indy

    INDIANAPOLIS — Drivers always say there’s something magical about Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and the opportunity for NASCAR to race there opened the door for one of Jeff Gordon’s most treasured victories. It was a race Tony Stewart ...

    July 24, 2014

  • Former great addressed during annual shareholders meeting in G.B.

    GREEN BAY, Wis. — Flush with cash, the Packers have a 112,000 name-long waiting list for season tickets filled with die-hards eager to see a team that figures to be an NFC contender for years to come....

    July 24, 2014

  • Roma tops Liverpool

    BOSTON — Marco Borriello scored in the 90th minute to give Roma a 1-0 victory over Liverpool in a preseason friendly Wednesday night at Fenway Park. There were limited chances until Borriello volleyed in a corner from in front of goal....

    July 24, 2014

  • Marcus Mariota helps Oregon’s PAC-12 title chance in preseason polls

    LOS ANGELES — Although Marcus Mariota knew he would be under a spotlight when he stepped onto the famed Paramount Studios lot Wednesday, the Oregon quarterback is getting quite comfortable in his starring role....

    July 24, 2014

  • Potential buyer group scouts Toronto area

    BUFFALO, N.Y. — A Buffalo Bills prospective ownership group that includes rocker Jon Bon Jovi has conducted a feasibility study into buying the NFL franchise and building a stadium in Toronto, a person close to the situation said....

    July 24, 2014

  • Majka wins 16th stage, Nibali leads

    PLA D’ADET, France — On the last of four Pyrenees ascents, Rafal Majka winked at a French TV camera and tugged playfully at a motorcycle’s antenna....

    July 24, 2014