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Irish Insights


Mentoring Manti

Manti Te'o

When Irish freshman linebacker Manti Te'o needs some help, he just needs to call out "Smith."

Notre Dame linebackers Brian Smith, Scott Smith and Toryan Smith have each contributed to the freshman's development.

"Three guys on this defense that go out of their way to help Manti the most – Scott Smith, Brian Smith and Toryan Smith. We throw (free safety) Harrison (Smith) in there, we could have the whole contingent," coach Charlie Weis said. "Those three guys, Toryan, Brian Smith and Scott Smith, have done everything they can to get Manti ready to play."

The three Smith linebackers all deflected credit for helping Te'o become game-ready, saying the freshman linebacker has all the physical tools and studies the Irish's defense intensely to be ready to play.

"He fits the bill of a big-time player," Toryan Smith said of Te'o. "He is two years ahead of most freshmen. He will be a great player for a long time."

Toryan Smith didn't shy away from talking about the group of linebackers helping Te'o keep his confidence if defensive coordinator and linebackers coach John Tenuta gets on the freshman's case.

"(Tenuta) coaches all of us hard," Toryan Smith said. "He can be especially tough on Manti because he is a freshman. It's nothing personal, and don't get me wrong, (Tenuta) rides all of us pretty hard when we make a mistake. But when you do something well, (Tenuta) will let you know that, too."