"The visit went very well," said Brandon Nicolas of his recent trip to South Bend. "I was there for the whole week working out with the team. I really enjoyed it."
Nicolas also was able to meet a number of the players that will be joining him this fall as freshman football players at Notre Dame. "I got to hang out with a bunch of them," Nicolas said. "Anthony (Vernaglia), Terrail Lambert, Chris Vaughn, (Darrin) Bragg, (Ronald) Talley, Abdel Banda, Tregg Duerson. I got to meet a bunch of them. We all hung out together and got to know each other better."
The main reason for the trip, according to Nicolas, was to get a look at life as a Notre Dame football player. "The workouts were about what I expected," he said. "The pace of everything is much faster. They put us through some tough workouts. Everybody was working very hard."
We asked Brandon what he worked on with the defensive linemen. "We mainly did drills. We worked the bags, agility drills, hand work and quickness drills mainly. We also did some read-and-react drills. We mainly worked against each other. The offensive linemen worked together and we worked together." Nicolas said.
Nicolas said that the older Irish players accepted him with open arms--something he was very glad to see. "Everyone was really cool to me," he said. "They were really willing to teach me, especially the older guys. I worked out a lot with Greg Pauly and Matt Hasbrook. They both really helped me a lot."
The Santa Ana, Calif. native said he was also impressed with the attitude of the team. "They are a really tight bunch," Nicolas said of his new teammates. "Everyone was working really hard and getting after it. They knew they had a bad season and they are working really hard to make sure that doesn't happen again. I was really impressed with the attitude."
The jump from high school to college football is a big step--Nicolas says he quickly found that out. "Everyone is really talented, that is the difference," Nicolas said. "Everyone is big, strong and fast. In high school, you might see that now and again--you see it every day there. Just the speed of the game is a lot faster."
Nicolas says leaving home won't be as hard for him as some of the other California players in his class. "I lived in the Midwest for a lot of my life," he said. "I know what to expect. Still, you get used to living out here and it's quite a bit different. I just look at it as a challenge."
Nicolas said he's very excited about reporting to Notre Dame in less than a month. "I'm very glad I went up there," he said. "I really learned a lot and I'll work out the same way that we were working out there. It gave me a good idea of what to expect. I can't wait to get back there. I love the training, although I'm not sure I'll say that during two-a-days."