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
  • Popovich wins Coach of the Year

    The San Antonio Spurs, the model for stability and sustained success in the modern NBA, were still a shaken team when they showed up for training camp in October, less than four months after a devastating loss to Miami in the NBA Finals. ...

    April 23, 2014

  • Tony Allen’s hounding defense a challenge, even for Durant

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Kevin Durant is tired of hearing about Tony Allen’s defense....

    April 23, 2014

  • Albert Pujols hits 500th HR of major league career

    WASHINGTON — Albert Pujols reached 500 homers in a hurry....

    April 23, 2014

  • Lawmakers seek change in MLB Cuban player policy

    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Two Florida lawmakers motivated by Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig’s dangerous escape from Cuba are trying to change the way Major League Baseball treats Cuban players and are willing to tie state money for ...

    April 23, 2014

  • Physical stars ruffling Ducks’ feathers

    DALLAS — Anaheim captain Ryan Getzlaf was asked about the Dallas Stars trying to get under his skin or into his head with their physical play in Game 3. “Trying to hit my head how about?” the already stitched-up and visor-protected ...

    April 23, 2014

  • Pacers need statement game to stay afloat in series with Hawks

    INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana’s next game is the most important of the season. If the top-seeded Pacers can’t protect their home court Tuesday night, they’ll be down 2-0 heading to Atlanta — where they have only won twice since December 2006....

    April 22, 2014

  • Dwyane Wade looks like his old self, again

    MIAMI — Dwyane Wade is not planning on missing any more games this season, and that means life on the Miami Heat equipment room staff is going to get considerably more demanding....

    April 22, 2014

  • American wins first Boston Marathon after bombing

    BOSTON — “The Star-Spangled Banner” played over Boylston Street in honor of an American winner of the Boston Marathon....

    April 22, 2014

  • St. Louis falls again

    NEW YORK — Jenrry Mejia pitched four-hit ball into the seventh inning, David Wright delivered another key hit and the New York Mets beat the St. Louis Cardinals 2-0 Monday night....

    April 22, 2014

  • Portland’s Aldridge primed for Game 2

    HOUSTON — A day after etching his name in Portland’s record books with a franchise playoff-record 46 points in Game 1 of the first-round playoff series against Houston, LaMarcus Aldridge was already looking forward....

    April 22, 2014