There was no Mass at the Basilica and no team walk to the stadium. There was no opening kickoff or game, but in between everything else was exactly the same as it will be next Saturday for the Fighting Irish.

David Bruton had his playlist, Maurice Crum had a weak stomach and Terrail Lambert had his lucky pajamas. Charlie Weis delivered the pregame speech before the Fighting Irish hit the ‘Play Like a Champion Today' sign and ran out of the tunnel and then…silence.

With a bye week before the opening game, Weis decided to put his team through a mock walkthrough at Notre Dame Stadium on Saturday.

"We started at 1:00 today. We just did everything that we do," said Jimmy Clausen. "Got taped up, got dressed just like we were about to play a game. Went out and stretched and went through pregame warmups, the whole thing."

Then with no game to play, Notre Dame went through a walkthrough and some quick conditioning drills, but the players still allowed themselves to get fired up a week early.

"I got butterflies walking in the stadium," said Crum. "Anytime, I walk in the stadium and I see my jersey hanging in my locker it's just a sight that excites me."

For Lambert, the gameday feeling lasted even longer.

"When I walked out and hit the sign and ran out of the tunnel it was feeling real and then once I heard the silence I kind of came out of it," he said. "Even walking here before anyone else got here, I was one of the first people here and I got chills up my spine."

Bruton went through the same pregame routine that he will on September 6.

"Usually I listen to music before I get dressed, I listen to a specific playlist called ‘Dat Thump', just a whole bunch of rap songs that help me kind of relax in a way but keep my energy up," Bruton said. "Coach Weis speaks and he goes through the whole thing. It will be a lot more exciting when an actually game is happening."

Weis used the early games on Saturday as a warning for his squad.

"He was just talking about how basically every week can change the outcome of the season. East Carolina just beat (Virgina) Tech and that's what can happen," said Bruton.

Bruton admitted that it was sort of weird to run out of the tunnel to empty crowd.

"A little bit," he said. "You always want to go out there and compete, especially when you come into this place and this stadium, you expect to play. It's just a good experience but next week, seven days from now we're doing it for real."

Bruton said that the team had "some hyped-up moments, but generally it was more or less low key."

Crum also said that the team was a bit more relaxed than it will be next week.

"For the most part we kind of toned it down realizing that we want to save it, but I think it's hard to. I definitely think we felt it with the games going on and we know it's college football season," he said. "It wasn't odd for me. I like to get in the stadium and go through the warmups and get my mind ready and prepare myself like I'm going through a game."

Obviously the group that will benefit the most from the routine is the newcomers.

"For a lot of the freshmen this is their first time doing it and I think it's a good idea just to get them out there and know what's going to go on during the game and before the game," Clausen said. "It was kind of weird. We wish we could be playing out there right there right now but we've got to wait one more Saturday for that."

Lambert agreed that the practice was more so for the freshmen than the veterans.

"Of course, guys like me and the older guys that have been through it before already know how the rehearsal goes, but the younger guys may or may not know how we operate during a game situation," he said. "It was a simulated pregame situation so that everybody knows where to be at at this time and that time."

Asaph Schwapp said that the week off will help the Irish on Saturday.

"It was cool, basically it was a practice for the new guys. We just went over our routine on gameday and walked through a couple of plays and did a little bit of conditioning just to keep our legs going," he said. "I think we've got a little advantage this week having a bye week and having another week to prepare."

For Scott Smith it was just another reminder that the season is here.

"Today just basically was getting ready for the game just like it would be after making our walk from the Basilica," Smith said. "Just going through the normal game steps, heading out there and going down the tunnel. Personally, I know a lot of guys felt this way, we are going to be doing this one week from today and that just makes a lot of guys really excited the fact that we have this chance coming up in a week."

So what do the Irish intend to do with that chance when it is for real?

"We're just going to come out swinging, ready and all aboard, knowing that we control our own destiny," Bruton said. Top Stories