Aug. 13, 2003

On Tuesday after the first full practice of the fall training camp, caught up with Notre Dame freshman wide receiver Chinedum Ndukwe. Here is your chance to hear how things are going for the native of Dublin, Ohio, as we will regularly check in with members of the Irish roster throughout the fall.

Q. Tell us about your first day of practice in an Irish uniform? Is it harder than you thought it would be?

A. I just realized that I have a lot of work to do to get caught up with the veterans. There were things I thought I was doing right, but found out I was completely doing it wrong. In college, the coaches pay more attention to detail which is something that we really didn’t do in high school.

Q. What is the biggest difference you saw today between high school and college football. Many people say it is the speed. What do you think?

A. In high school, everyone came to me to ask questions and now I am the one that doesn’t know what is exactly going on. The speed of the game really didn’t get me, except for (senior cornerback) Vontez Duff. The freshman all came to camp in really good shape so that hasn’t been as big of an adjustment.

Q. How have you handled training camp thus far?

A. So far, I keep thinking I could have done better. I could have run some better routes. I could have worked a little harder. Those are things that I need to make progress with this year.

Q. Does it help you to have (fellow freshman and quarterback) Brady Quinn here since you both went to the same high school?

A. It is good because you know that someone is always going to be in your corner. I have caught passes from him since the seventh grade so that helps. It helps me be a little more comfortable.

Q. How has the food been in the dining hall?

A. It has been all right. My brother, who went to Notre Dame, says it gets old after a while, but it has been good. I have had pizza nonstop except for breakfast.

Q. How have the meetings been for you thus far?

A. In high school, I was always showing people different things and helping them with things I have noticed. Now, everyone is dissecting what I am doing and it is obvious when you get back to the huddle and hear the things they are saying. You just don’t notice it when you are actually doing it.

Q. It has only been two days, but have any of the veterans taken you under their wings?

A. All of the older receivers have helped me. They have all been there to get me through. Matt (Shelton), Ronnie (Rodamer), Omar (Jenkins), Rhema (McKnight) and Maurice (Stovall) have been watching everything I have done and helping me every step of the way.

Q. Why did you come to Notre Dame?

A. It wasn’t always my dream to come here like many people. I just felt comfortable here when I visited. I always came to visit my brother when I was younger. That made it an easier decision. It is beautiful and such a people place. Why wouldn’t you not want to come here.

Q. How did you feel putting on the gold helmet for the first time today?

A. It actually hurt. It was like putting on any football helmet. They are really sore and painful. No really, I am so blessed to have the opportunity to wear it and to represent Notre Dame.

Visit again later in the day as we will check in with another Irish player after practice No. 2.