Leaders Won't Allow For Divide

Notre Dame defensive captains David Bruton and Maurice Crum Jr. met with the media on Thursday afternoon to discuss last week's game against Boston College and the challenge that Navy will present on Saturday.

The defense was not the reason that Notre Dame lost 17-0 at Boston College last weekend and while Charlie Weis placed the blame firmly with the offense, do not expect the defense to throw the offense under the bus. Its leaders won't let them.

"There's no individuals, there's no factions within this team. We're all one, we're all in this together," David Bruton said. "We understand that some days we've got to make more plays or some days they've got to make more plays."

As captain, Maurice Crum felt that it was his job to keep the team in the game, but did not say too much to the offense.

"The only thing I said to Jimmy was just to keep playing," Crum said. "We're going to keep playing and I always tell that to the team that we're going to ride together, we're all in this together no matter what."

Crum said that the defense is not allowed to get frustrated when the offense is struggling.

"For us, it's what we do," he said. "Our job is to go out, no matter the situation, no matter the score, no matter what's going on, our job is to go out and make stops so we can't get frustrated at all."

Crum said that the team is too tight for any divides to develop.

"We have an extremely close team," he said. "You can go to any part of the locker room and sit down and have a conversation with any guy on the team and enjoy the conversation. There's no egos and everyone is all in this together."

Crum and Bruton were hit just as hard as their teammates by last year's loss to Navy, but not harder than any other defeat.

"For me personally, I take every loss the same. The streak or whatever, I wasn't here for but four of those games or whatever, so the streak doesn't really apply," said Crum. "They all hurt just the same to me."

"Every loss is the same," Bruton said. "It can be a team that's undefeated and lose a close game or a team that hasn't won a game and you end up losing to them. Every game is just as important."

They may not get much credit, but there are some real players on this year's Navy team like running back Shun White and receiver Tyree Barnes.

"I think White is a pretty good back. I think he showed excellent speed the few times that I've seen him. He's going to break tackles, he's going to get up the sidelines," Crum said. "I definitely think you can't sleep on guys like him."

"Another guy is #89, Barnes, he's made plays on all of the deep balls," said Bruton. "He's been able to adjust to the ball, whether it's catching it right behind a guy's back or high-pointing the ball, he's doing a great job adjusting to the ball and making the big play."

Bruton currently trails fellow safety Kyle McCarthy for the team lead in tackles – 84 to 76 – but he will try to change that against Navy's triple-option attack this weekend.

"It's a way for me to try to beat him in tackles. We just have a little fun in this tackle battle that we have between each other," Bruton said. "We're looking forward to it in a sense that we both have to play a very disciplined game since we're on the back end."

Weis has said that when he talks to NFL scouts, the first person they ask about is usually Bruton, but that is not something that the senior safety is concentrating on right now.

"I can't honestly say that it's not something that has crossed my mind at times, but as it affects my play, I've had my motivation with my son and with the Lord," he said. "The NFL is not the biggest motivation for me because at the end of the day football can be over in one play. Right now, my main responsibilty is to lead this team to more victories and just to continue to be a team player."

Bruton had a scare when he landed on his head after an interception toward the end of the Pittsburgh game.

"By the good graces of God, I'm OK, I'm good, it wasn't anything serious," he said. "After, you just ask what if you landed a little harder or something like that. But it didn't happen, I'm still standing, still walking, still playing."

But Bruton will not forget the play and it has forced him to take the game more seriously, "and not make light of the fact that football could be over."

IrishIllustrated.com Top Stories