Berry, Irish Defense Lift It Up Against Huskies
By Heather Cocks
Among the many things lacking in Notre Dame’s 29-16 loss to Ohio State werea dominating defensive front seven and a consistently loud and enthusiasticcrowd.
Rush linebacker Bert Berry and the rest of the Irish defense made sure bothwere plenty present in Saturday’s 54-20 thrashing of the WashingtonHuskies. In fact, they “raised it to another level”.
The Irish defensive front which had been manhandled at times by OrlandoPace and Co. two weeks ago did a little manhandling of their own Saturday.And they did it early and often.
Berry led the Irish onslaught with three sacks, but it wasn’t just his playthat set the tone for the day. On numerous occasions after a key stop,the senior sack specialist would — with palms facing up as if he waslifting something to the sky — gesture to the crowd to raise it up.”It’s just a Texas thing,” Berry explained regarding the motion. “It’s justto get the crowd going and excited.”
It couldn’t have worked more perfectly, as a majority of the studentsection began to join Berry’s symbolic display as the game wore on.”I didn’t realize the crowd would pick it up like they did,” Berry said.”They helped.”
While the actual derivation of the gesture may be related toAfrican-American organizations who view it as raising or lifting off theyoke of discrimination, it’s symbolic application to the 1996 Notre Damefootball team is simply to raise the pressure on the defense to a newlevel.
“Defensively, we played an outstanding game,” head coach Lou Holtz said. “I was surprisedour defense did as good of a job as they did.”
But the front seven regaining their form of dominance should really come asno surpise.”We wanted to make a statement,” said Berry. “This is the team we’re usedto seeing.”
“The game is won or lost at the line of scrimmage and they did a great jobof controlling that line of scrimmage,” Husky coach Jim Lambright said.”Brock Huard was knocked a little silly and did not know where he was,”Lambright revealed.
“They took things away from us,” Lambright admitted. “We couldn’testablish anything at the line of scrimmage.”