Team First

There will be plenty of young, talented defensive players taking the field for the Irish this season, and Kyle McCarthy will be relied on to lead them. The senior from Youngstown, Ohio was recently named the captain of the Notre Dame defense.

The tackles piled up for Kyle McCarthy in 2008, his first year as a starter. Double digit stops became the norm and he was labeled, possibly unfairly, as a one-dimensional player – a tackler on a defense that had one too many holes up front by season's end. His coaches, of course, saw everything else the 5th year safety did for the Irish secondary. The little things unnoticed by most fans.

Technically his contributions were 110 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, and 2 interceptions. But McCarthy's impact is much more in-depth than what appears in your post-game box score.

"I have my own goals," McCarthy said. "I think I can attain them. Hopefully by the end of the season a lot more people will notice the success of our defense and our defensive backs. If we have success on the field, I think it will satisfy me a whole lot."

That's McCarthy in a nutshell: he does his talking on the field and the safety from Youngstown, OH has an attitude and approach that rubs off on the rest of the younger players.

"I think the biggest change from years past has been the attitude," McCarthy said. "I really think it is the go get 'em attitude. We have a group of guys that works hard and wants to be great.

"We (could) have all the talent in the world but if you don't show up on Saturday, your not going to win the football game. I think our guys are mature enough to realize that and know they need to perform on the field. "We're practicing this training camp and watching film to be great. Hopefully the work pays off."

McCarthy, like all veterans that have already tasted game action and success, has individual goals, but those are secondary to the success of the team.

"Whatever it takes for the team to win. If that means I have to make one-hundred-and-how-many tackles for our defense to do well, then that's what it means. We really don't game plan to have the safeties make all of the tackles or the linebackers to make all of the tackles. It's a game-by-game basis…the biggest thing is the success of the defense." Top Stories