Diaco on Freshmen in first game: They will do dumb stuff

There's nothing quite like the first game of the season and there's definitely nothing quite like your first college game.

From sophomores who didn't play last season to freshman who will play right out of the gate, Saturday will be an experience like no other for many Notre Dame players.

Defensive lineman like Louis Nix, Stephon Tuitt and Aaron Lynch will all see the first action of their careers.

So how much does Irish defensive Coordinator Bob Diaco talk to his inexperienced guys about those first moments?

Every minute the NCAA allows us absolutely," Diaco explained Wednesday with a big laugh and smile. "With that said, they will go in the game and do dumb stuff."

Diaco says he, himself, was guilty of some pretty bad mistakes in his opening moments of his career as well.

So was Ethan Johnson. The now star defensive end remembers playing on 3rd downs during his freshman campaign. And Game one in 2008 definitely stands out.

"I got my butt handed to me a few times," Johnson says with a big laugh. "Even in warm-ups I think someone pancaked me. They were going at a different speed and I didn't realize 'oh it's practice.' No. Warm-ups you are getting ready for that game speed and its different.

"I'm glad I got pancaked on my first warm-up not first play," Johnson concluded with another big laugh.

Johnson says the guys who will play their first game Saturday will have a rude awakening when they see plays they did in high school won't work at the next level.


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