Irish Seniors Stepping Up

<P>At this time last year, the Notre Dame football team was 2-5 and in the midst of a dismal season. At 5-2, the Irish have plenty left to play for this season, and two seniors want to make sure this team understands that, starting with this game. We talked to a couple of senior players on Wednesday to get their thoughts on Boston College, as well as a coach or two. </P>

Senior defensive end Kyle Budinscak has never beaten Boston College and he's not happy about that. The Bridgewater, N.J. native says his job is to get his team ready to play this week.

"These guys have got to understand, we've lost to these guys three years in a row now, and that just isn't right," said Budinscak on how he'll try to lead the Irish this week. "They play us hard every year. But it's time for us to step and get a win over these guys. We need to communicate that to everyone."

Beating Boston College will mean stopping quarterback Paul Peterson. The talented quarterback likes to get outside the pocket and makes big plays on the run. Budinscak says the Irish will just play their defense, which means stopping the run.

"We're not going to worry about him scrambling too much," Budinscak said. "We need to take away the run. They've had a lot of success. They do a lot of straight-ahead running. We need to stop the run."

The Irish have been very effective against the run and Budinscak says the interior defensive line has been one of the main reasons for the success against the run this season.

"(Greg) Pauly's been just awesome this year," said Budinscak. "You watch him on film and he's just been bullying guys around in there, and they other guys are doing a great job with the nose, too, with the way they play and their quickness. It's such an advantage to have those guys."

Budinsack made it clear that he isn't a fan of Boston College on Wednesday, but he also said he really enjoys playing these types of games.

"It's good to have a couple games like this every year, where each team wants more than anything else, to beat the heck out of the guy across from them," he said. "That's what's football is all about. This is certainly becoming one of those rivalries."

Senior defensive lineman Greg Pauly agreed with Budinscak and says the losses motivate him more than any antics done after the game.

"It's definitely a big game," said Pauly of the game this weekend. "I've never beaten Boston College.

"When we lose games like that, it hurts. The Purdue game hurt this year. You always want to win."

Pauly also says this game always brings a lot of chatter amongst the teams.

"This has been known as one of the more talkative games on the line," he said. "It gets kind of rough and rowdy out there compared to some other games."

Offensive line and tight ends coach Mike Denbrock admitted the Irish coaching staff also considers this a big game this weekend.

"Since we've been here we have not had the type of success against Boston College that we'd like to have," said Denbrock. "That always brings a little extra meaning to the game. We certainly want to play our very best on Saturday and we've got to help the kids do that."

We asked Denbrock why the Eagle defense has had so much success stopping the Irish offense recently.

"I do think their defensive coaches do a great job. I think the kids look at this game as one they really want to win," the third-year coach said. "They circle it on their calendar. We've got to come out and match that intensity. They play hard and we've got to play harder."

We also asked Denbrock if that might be the problem—the Irish don't match the intensity of the Eagles and why they've lost three straight games to Boston College.

"I don't necessarily believe that," he said. "I think we've played hard. I think we've just kind of shot ourselves in the foot with mistakes.

"The first year we played them, the turnovers were a big key in the game. Last year we didn't play as well as we wanted to in the first half, got ourselves behind, and made a furious rally to try to salvage the game. We've just got to put a complete game together and play the way we're capable of playing."

Another player the Irish offense will have to account for is Eagle defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka. The talented pass rusher has four sacks and nine sacks on the season.

Irish head coach Tyrone Willingham had a lot of compliments for Mr. Kiwanuka on Wednesday.

"He is as fine a pass rusher as there is in the country," said Willingham of Kiwanuka. "And I think some people say he is the best pass rusher in the country. We have to make sure that our guys understand that this is a big game for our tackles so we have to do a great job there and we cannot leave that game just to our tackles. If we do that, it is a mistake with a guy that talented. So we have to make sure we get them some help and do some things to kind of keep him at bay."

Also a concern for Willingham is Peterson. Willingham knows that Peterson can hurt you once he scrambles.

"We cannot let him outside of the pocket, that's one," said Willingham on how to Stop Peterson. "We cannot let him get into a rhythm and they really have a pretty good twosome of wide-outs in Hazard and Grant. They like to get the ball to the fullback so he moves it around and their tight ends have traditionally been pretty good. So he has some good weapons at his disposal. We have to do a great job of containing him and not allowing him to have rhythm and hopefully he has one of those days that is not his traditional day." Top Stories