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Irish Insights

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Bonding in the middle

Notre Dame linebackers Manti Te'o and Carlo Calabrese share the top two tackling spots on the defensive statistics.

Te'o leads the team with 64 tackles, and Calabrese is second with 38.

But the two inside linebackers share more than statistics and the middle of the field, they also have bonded over the soothing painting skills of the late Bob Ross on "The Joy of Painting" on game days.

"Me and Manti, we go down, eat breakfast, have a couple meetings and then come back up to the (hotel room) and we got some time before the game, before we leave," Calabrese said Wednesday. "I was just flicking through the channels, ESPN, you know whatever is on, and then one time we just flicked to a channel and it was just this guy with an afro painting. I was just looking at it, and I like art and all that, so I was like, OK, let's see this. And then I looked at Manti, and he was liking it. So we just started watching it, and now we watch it every week."

Calabrese's and Te'o's time away from the game doesn't stop at watching Ross paint.

They also regularly play Tiger Woods' golf video game, though Calabrese claims he never loses.

"Me and him in the dorm rooms, we played during the summer," Calabrese said. "He was usually a 'Call of Duty' guy, and I was like, 'C'mon man, you got to try this game.'

"Me and him played it, and he started liking it. He was horrible in the beginning. Then he got better and better, and he started liking it."

The off-field relationship has helped their on-field dynamic.

Te'o and Calabrese each had 10 tackles against Boston College, and though Te'o leads the teams in tackles, Calabrese has the edge in tackles for loss with a team high five.

"We got real close this year," Calabrese said. "Me lining up next to him and just watching film with him, we are real close."

The Journal Gazette's Assistant Sports Editor Tony Krausz covers The University of Notre Dame. Krausz, a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and a native of St. Louis, has been assistant sports editor since October 2005. Prior to joining the JG, he worked at two papers in Mississippi covering high school and college athletics.

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