Hord Learning From Veterans

The freshmen of the Notre Dame football team got a reprieve last weekend when they left the team for a few days to participate in orientation on campus. After a fall camp that even veterans have admitted was rough, the break came at the right time for these rookies. For freshman wide receiver D.J. Hord, it even gave him a chance to see some familiar faces.

"It was pretty good," Hord said. "It gave us a little break. It was fun. I got to see a lot of new students and meet some new people. It's always good to get a little break. It was just relaxing. My parents got came up and I got to hang out with them.

"Your body is going to be sore. You really don't hit the wall but you keep on pushing through and keep on going. Whatever pain you got you rest it as much as you can and go fight through it."

Hord and the other freshmen got back with the team last Sunday and are starting to zero in on preparations for their opener versus the Pittsburgh Panthers. The bright lights of ABC will be shining down upon them as it will be a nationally televised broadcast at night seen by the majority of the nation. Hord just wants to "get on that bus" and make the trip anyway possible.

"Whatever way I can get on the field, special teams, anything," Hord said. "Whatever chance I have to get on the field, I want to do it and travel."

The traveling part will be important for Hord. As a freshman, he is stuck behind four veteran receivers with high expectations for this season. This year could be a learning experience for Hord, who came out of high school as Missouri's Gatorade Player of the Year. Wide receivers coach Rob Ianello and the experienced pass catchers are doing their part in the Hord's maturation process.

"He's been great giving me a lot of tips on releases and how to run different routes," Hord said about Ianello. "He's been a big help. Coach and the upperclassmen wide receivers, they all know a lot. Every question you have, they can answer so it gives you that much more.

"I always ask them if I have any kind of question or any kind of problem. I go to (Maurice) Stovall or Rhema (McKnight) or (Jeff) Samardzija or (Matt) Shelton and ask them to help me. They help me out all the time. That's what I like. They are like big brothers to me. I look to them for guidance."

Hord and his fellow class have taken advantage of a new NCAA rule that allows them to be on campus earlier than ever. Weis did not order the freshmen here but it was strongly preferred. The group has been together since June 21st and this has given them time to get acclimated to college life. For Hord, it was easier to handle the physical workload of training camp and the upcoming season.

"It was very beneficial because you worked out, you ran and lifted," Hord said. "Going into two-a-days and training camp, you were in shape. Instead of having to come in on your own, it helped out a lot.

"Personally, I wouldn't turn down the opportunity (to come early) because if you kind of wanted to play, you had to come up here early to try to meet the players and try to learn the new system and get in the best possible shape you can."

The freshman's talents extend farther than the football field. Hord was a an all-state track sprinter in Missouri in the 100 and 200 meters as a senior. He ran the 100 in 10.39 and the 200 in 21.39. This quickness could help the Irish in several areas. As far as going out for the track team after the football season, Hord thinks right now his plate is full.

"Right now, I would have to say no," Hord said. "I think football is enough and with school on top of that, that's enough."

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