Notre Dame is now exactly one week away from their Pinstripe Bowl battle with Rutgers on December 28th at Yankee Stadium in New York. The Irish haven't played a game since November 30th and it is safe to say the team is ready to get back out on the field.
"“I don’t like bowl games because there is always so much time between the last game and the bowl game," Irish tight end Troy Niklas said. "You really get kind of antsy and just want to play the game but we still have a lot of work to get done.”
This year the time off between games is no where near as long as last season's wait for the BCS Championship game. But, three weeks of going against your own team will start to take its toll.
"I think everybody is ready to play," Notre Dame running back Cam McDaniel said. "It has been a while. We are kind of sick of hitting each other. It is almost like that camp atmosphere again after a while. The grind for the last two-two and a half weeks has just been hitting each other and going live against each other. That is never fun when you have to do that week in and week out. We are ready to play our opponent.”
Then there are players, like center Matt Hegarty, who hasn''t seen much time this season that have used the break to get extra reps with the first team. Hegarty acknowledged how crucial these past couple weeks have been in terms of preparation but now he is ready to go.
"It feels like it has been long enough already," Hegarty said. "I am glad it is finally coming around. I can’t wait to get out there. We have been getting a lot of good work in so we will get another good one in on Monday and head on out.”
With finals coming to an end Friday, Brian Kelly is happy about the fact that his team can now focus entirely on the task at hand.
"They just got their exams behind them," Kelly said. "I think we have got their full attention and focus 100% on football. It hasn’t been 100% towards Rutgers, it has been one eye on Rutgers and the rest on their academics and finishing up their exams. We should have all their attention and focus on Rutgers from this point forward.”
Kickoff at Yankee Stadium is set for 12:00 PM on the 28th.