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Notre Dame

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Notre Dame notebook

Comparisons fine for safety

– Notre Dame freshman safety Nick Baratti has the same tall, lanky body type of teammate and safety Zeke Motta and former Irish safety Harrison Smith, who was selected in the first round of the NFL draft by the Minnesota Vikings.

The 6-foot-1, 206-pound Baratti welcomes the comparisons to the safeties who combined for 130 tackles last season.

“I keep hearing that a lot, that I look like them,” Baratti said Monday. “I can’t complain, because those are two great players.”

Baratti may have to wait to play the same role on defense as Motta and Smith, but he could see action this year on special teams.

He said he has been working out with all the special team units during fall camp.

“Anywhere where I can fit in really,” Baratti said. “If it is special teams, if it’s going in to play defense, anything really. Anything I can do to contribute to the team.”

Shifting over

Freshman outside linebacker Romeo Okwara moved from one side of the defense to the other when junior Danny Spond was injured last week.

Okwara, along with C.J. Prosise, were moved to backup Ben Councell as Spond is out indefinitely from an injury that is still being examined.

The move has not fazed the 6-4, 239-pound Okawara, who was working behind Prince Shembo, Ishaq Williams and Anthony Rabasa on the other side of the defense.

“They are actually very similar, just on the opposite side,” Okawara said.

“I’m just doing what I can to help the team, so I don’t really care where they move me.”

Back with team

Freshman safety Chris Badger is ready to contribute after two years away from Notre Dame to complete his Mormon mission in Ecuador.

The 6-foot, 193-pound Badger enrolled in school in January 2010 and returned this June. Badger said he made sure he woke up early and worked out while on his mission so he could compete for playing time when he returned.

“I set a lot of really high goals as a person,” Badger said.

“I just want to do the best I can for me. That’s why I worked out every morning and did everything I did so I could come back and help the team out.”

tkrausz@jg.net

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