Notre Dame are going to be doing some serious preparation for the Sun Bowl showdown on New Year’s Eve, when they play the Hurricanes in El Paso, Texas.
The Irish will have been off the pitch for five weeks by the time they get down to El Paso. The Fight Irish’s coach, Brian Kelly, said that he’s learnt some pointers from the Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer and one thing is that there’s a need for tackling practice.
Kelly said “One thing that stood out that he (Beamer) said, is you still have to go back and tackle…I think we all get caught up with we want to be injury free. We want to make sure we are fine going into the game, and then the game is a little too fast for you early on. We are going to get back to tackling. We will get back to some scrimmaging and live work."
Ian Williams, senior nose guard, has been out since October 23 having suffered a knee sprain. Also Theo Riddick, receiver, has seen limited duty during the season. They’re sure to see significant play time.
The coach said "Ian is chomping at the bit to get back out there." He added that Williams will have to "tap his helmet and yell real loud" to get taken off the field. "He moved well Saturday in a limited practice. And we will continue to add more to him. Obviously when you bring back a guy of that caliber it's a huge upgrade going into the bowl game with Ian back. ...I also see Theo Riddick playing more of a role."
The Irish won their final three games to finish 7-5. The team have also been mentioned as possible participants in the Champs Sports Bowl and the Holiday Bowl. However, Kelly is happy Notre Dame is headed to the Sun Bowl, with its 77-year history.
He said "From our standpoint, we are excited about being a part of this…A month ago, we didn't know if we would have a bowl opportunity."