Bobby Elliott the Safeties Coach for the Notre Dame Football Team has seen a lot in his career.
Before this season, well, “It was scary,” says Bobby Elliot Irish Safeties Coach. “We thought we'd have a serviceable outfit going through into the season.”
Then came all the injuries, first was Austin Collinsworth, then Corner Lo Wood, and then Safety Jamoris Slaughter.
"That really threw a monkey wrench into the plan," says Elliiot
At safety, Zeke Motta became the rock. Alongside him was Sophomore Matthias Farley, who spent his freshman year as an unused wide receiver and just three years ago was playing soccer instead of football.
"Coach Elliot since he got here has been in my corner,” explains Matthias Farley Irish Saftey. “He knows a ridiculous amount about football because of all his experience. To have him take extra time and develop me as a player has been a huge blessing."
At corner Bennett Jackson was the seasoned vet even though he had very little experience himself. The man to replace Lo Wood was true Freshman KeiVarae Russell. A high school wide receiver, recruited as a running back who switched positions and numbers during training camp.
"Over the season I got progressively better,” explains KeiVarae Russell Irish Corner. “Every practice, I tried to work on my tackling. I worked on my flaws rather than the gifts I got."
No one gave this group a shot, and that may have been the best thing for them.
"We expected to take all the harassment from the outside world, continuously having people say stuff about us,” says Bennett Jackson Irish Corner. “You try to ignore it but obviously it is not always ignored. You can't ignore it, you still here. So you use it as motivation."
"When you are an underdog and people do not believe in you, that makes you want to prove everybody wrong," says Zeke Motta Irish Safety.
"The group did not panic, the team did not panic, the defense did not panic,” says Kerry Cooks Irish Safety. “We knew that whoever we put in there, they would be capable of executing the defense the way we needed them to."
“The focus these guys have had, they have been able to accelerate their learning curve and really come a long way,” says Elliot. “A great story I think.”
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