Quotes from Notre Dame

About the tattoo on his right shoulder of a firefighter with angels on his shoulder, Notre Dame player Eric Olsen (whose father is a NY City firefighter) said:
“My father survived, thank God, but he was in the mix at Ground Zero. He went through all of that. It was a trying time for me personally and my family.” (HA)

Olsen (who was in the 8th gradeat the time) said that on 9/11 his father:
“got into lower Manhattan immediately after the second tower fell. He was lucky to not be inside or anything. But he lost a lot of good friends, a lot of people he worked with and knew really well. That was a really tough time for him.” (HA)

About how his father did not return home for 30 hours, Olsen said:
“We didn’t know if he made it inside when the towers fell or not. We were in a panic.” (HA)

About how his mother had to report to work also, Olsen said:
“my mother’s an emergency-room nurse. She was called in, also. I was with my grandma. Me and my little brother had no idea what was going on. We didn’t know who was going to come home, or what was going to happen.” (HA)

Olsen wanted to honor the firefighters:
“who gave their lives, the guys who were down there giving everything they had, endless hours. Those guys are definitely heroes. I’m personally thankful for all of the things they’ve done. I’m thankful for my dad being fortunate enough to survive. I have to remember the guys who didn’t. I have to remember they paid the ultimate price for strangers, to save people.” (HA)

About their long travel process, Olsen said:
“We watched a lot of movies on the plane. I listened to my iPod, and tried to sleep. I didn’t sleep well.” (HA)

HA Note: “Notre Dame was scheduled to arrive at 10 p.m. Friday. But because of weather-related delays in South Bend, Ind., and a layover to refuel in Los Angeles, the Fighting Irish did not arrive in town until 1 a.m. yesterday. They checked into their hotel rooms at about 2 a.m., and their luggage did not arrive until 3.”

About how they lost a lot of sleep and had a long flight, Jimmy Clausen said:
“It was a long, long flight. And we had to be up at 6:45 in the morning. I got about 4 1/2 hours of sleep.” (HA)

“Guys are tired from the flight, and Coach (Charlie) Weis did his best to try to get our legs back even though it’s a tough day out here, the first day in hot weather. But it’s good for us.” (HSB)

HA Note: “The Fighting Irish traveled on a charter flight. The travel party totaled more than 200, including 105 players. The 747 jet, configured in a 3-4-3-section alignment, allowed for an empty seat between players.”

HSB Note: “Sleep was a precious commodity, as the team saw its flight departures delayed due to foul weather on the mainland. Notre Dame’s targeted 10 p.m. arrival time on Friday became 1 a.m. yesterday, but the Irish were able to turn around and assemble on the stadium field 8 hours after first arriving at their hotel.”

HSB Note: “The youth of the Irish offense is immediately noticeable. Nine of the top 12 scorers are sophomores or freshmen and all but six of 33 Notre Dame touchdowns this season were scored by underclassmen.”

About how their young players have progressed this season, junior RT Sam Young (6’8″, 330-pounds) said:
“As the season’s progressed that’s kind of been taking place. What’s nice is over the course of the year we’ve got some young guys like (freshman tight end) Kyle Rudolph (6-6, 252) … starting to step up to the plate and figure it all out. It’s been progressing and now we got more guys taking the reins.” (HSB)

About their practice yesterday, Tate said:
“(The legs) were definitely fatigued, but we just have to … prepare ourselves and overcome it.” (HSB)

About how his name matches the color of their helmets, Tate said:
“It worked out perfect. I love my name.” (HSB)

Happy to be in nice weather, RB Armando Allen said:
“It was pretty rough (getting in when we did). When we come out it’s 80 degrees, compared to South Bend it’s negative 10. I’m just sitting here and trying to embrace the atmosphere right now.” (HSB)

About how they are improving, Clausen said:
“Just getting more comfortable every game, each and every day during practice. Just progressing as an offense, as one unit. I think we’re getting a lot better.” (HSB)

About how they could end Notre Dame’s 9-game bowl losing streak, Clausen said:
“It’s huge (if we did). That’s our goal, coming out here and ultimately win the game.” (HSB)

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