Notre Dame ready to play Navy in Dublin
Notre Dame defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore was happy to get out
of town, leaving South Bend behind for four days and crossing the
Atlantic for the first time in his life.
Dublin for a matchup against Navy on Saturday.
”I’m looking forward to doing something new,” said
Lewis-Moore, one of Notre Dame’s four captains for the trip to
”I’ve never been across the ocean – or the pond like everybody
says. I hear it (Ireland) is gorgeous and hopefully we’ll do a
little sightseeing. I’ve never been overseas. I’ve been to
Notre Dame’s official traveling party of more than 200 people –
including about 100 players – took off Wednesday night from South
Bend. And the players’ primary task was to get some sleep.
After coach Brian Kelly held a 6 a.m. practice Wednesday, the
players went to class, returned to their facilities building for
meetings and weight lifting, had dinner and then headed to the
airport for an evening flight.
”Hopefully I can kind of lean back as far as I can,” the
6-foot-4, 306-pound Lewis-Moore said with a laugh. ”I might have
to ask somebody behind me if they can like give me a little leg
The exhausting day Wednesday was set up to make the players
tired for the long flight, so they would rest on the plane. When
they arrive, it’ll be day time in Ireland and they can hopefully
adapt to the time change.
Kickoff Saturday will be 9 a.m. Eastern time. It’s the second
time the schools have met in Dublin. Notre Dame rolled to a 54-27
win in 1996, Lou Holtz’s final season as the Irish’s head coach. A
long time ago.
Tight end Tyler Eifert, who said his longest previous travel
experience was a trip to Mexico, said the coaching and training
staff had everything planned out and the players were trying to
approach it like a business trip.
”But I think we need to take in the experience and not just let
it go by without making the most of it,” Eifert said.
”They put in a plan they think will get us rested up and our
clocks flipped. We’ll be fine.”
Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick said getting ready
for an excursion that will require the transfer of thousands of
pounds of equipment for a long distance has been ”incredibly
challenging” for months.
”The logistics of it are something else. Not every 18-year-old
has a passport. You start with basic things like that. You have to
get everybody a passport,” Swarbrick said.
”Customs issues. We are going to have four trucks taking
equipment out to the airport all throughout the game. When we take
the field at the end of pre-game, whatever we don’t need for the
game, that’s the first load out to the airport. … If we brought
everything we traditionally do during a domestic game to the
airport at one time and had to go through customs with it, we’d be
there a very long time.”
Making sure the team has the right food and gets enough rest has
also been a challenge. Coach Brian Kelly’s initial concern was that
any weariness the trip creates might not be felt until the third or
fourth week of the season.
But Kelly cut back on the number of morning practices he had
initially planned, figuring his team needed to sleep more than
That didn’t happen Wednesday, however. The entire team had
arrived for practice by 5:20 a.m.
”I made it clear that if anybody was late they were staying in
South Bend,” he said. ”We’ll see how it goes. We’re confident we
made the right decisions in terms of practice.”
Notre Dame will be without four suspended players. Starting
tailback Cierre Wood and reserve defensive end Justin Utupo were
suspended two game for violating team rules. Earlier, Kelly
suspended quarterback Tommy Rees and linebacker Carlo Calabrese for
their roles in a skirmish with police following a party in May.
Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo said he’s reminded his team that this
is not like going to a bowl.
”This is a football game and we’re treating it like that.
There’s a tendency to treat this like a bowl. I’m trying my best to
remind people that this is a football game and we’re playing a very
good team. Hopefully, I’ve done a good job of getting that message
across,” he said.
Thousands of Notre Dame fans are expected to attend the game at
And Navy will have a presence, as well. The Brigade of
Midshipmen will march before the game and the academy says more
than 1,000 of those members paid their own way to Dublin to attend
Niumatalolo said he’s not worried about the difficulties of
playing so far from home.
”The time difference and we have no idea what the weather is
doing to be in Dublin,” he said. ”There’s nothing we can about
Navy guard Josh Cabral, like Lewis-Moore of the Irish, can’t
wait to check out the surroundings.
”It think it’s a pretty cool opportunity,” he said.
One thing for sure, attending the Naval Academy with its
disciplines and requirements should have the Midshipmen ready for
the early start – body time.
”Yeah,” Kelly said. ”They won’t be late for the game. I know