Senior fullback Cole Laux runs through drills at football practice on Monday, Aug. 23.

Football Practice Report - Day 14

Aug. 23, 2004

With a bevy of activity on campus, the Notre Dame football team is wrapping up its preseason camp on Monday, Aug. 23. Temperatures are rising in Northern Indiana, with today’s morning workout arguably the warmest of the preseason (mid to high 80s). The Irish will return to the field for their final two-a-day of the preseason this evening. The Notre Dame football program is dedicated to giving its student-athletes a chance to experience as many aspects of college life as possible. As soon as practice wrapped up around 12 noon local time, the team showered quickly and headed to a luncheon held for student-athletes in the Joyce Center. Campus is flooded with students moving into dorms, standing in line for the coveted football student ticket book and registering for classes, which begin tomorrow (Aug. 24). In an abbreviated media session after the morning practice, was able to sit down and get a few quick comments from sophomore safety Chinedum Ndukwe. Ndukwe is one of the more interesting stories on the Irish team this preseason. A freshman wide receiver and special teams standout last season, Ndukwe has thrust himself into the rotation at strong safety this fall. For Irish fans looking forward to seeing Ndukwe on the field, here is a tutorial on how to pronounce his name – SHIM-uh-doom en-DUKE-way. Or, you could refer to him by the nickname his fellow players and Irish coaching staff and picked up – Neh-doo. And remember, Ndukwe is wearing #18 this season (opposite of #81, which he wore as a freshman). Q: What advice would you give a freshman who might contribute quickly much like you did in 2003? Ndukwe: “Be patient because every one gets their chance. Even if it is a little tiny chance, every one is going to get a chance. Just feel blessed that you are one of the players out there that gets the experience of traveling with the team. Take it all in and learn from those around you. That is the biggest thing, be patient.” Q: How does it feel to be a safety delivering hits instead of a wide receiver coming across the middle attempting to avoid being hit? Ndukwe: “You have control of everything. You can control what you want to do. A lot of times, you ease up in practice because it is your teammates. You know that if it was, like someone from BYU or another opponent, you could light them up. That is great.” Q: Do you feel more comfortable in your runs support or pass defense right now? Ndukwe: “Right now it is pass, because I can still think like a receiver and go up for the ball.” Q: Now that you are on the defensive side of the ball, what is your impression of the Irish offense? Ndukwe: “The offense on the team is rolling much smoother. A lot of things are clicking and I think they are going well.” Q: How do you feel about the position switch and how would your grade yourself so far? Ndukwe: “The position switch is going well and I am just trying to get adjusted. I want to go out and battle every day. I am enjoying it. I would give myself a six or seven (on a scale of 10) I guess.” Q: What do you like the most about playing safety? Ndukwe: “I like having more responsibility and the hits. (I like) the opportunity to get interceptions and being more involved and getting a chance to play.”