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Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert

Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert, a Bishop Dwenger graduate, talks about not getting caught up in the hype after the Irish's 4-0 start, quarterback Everett Golson and the uniforms the team will wear Saturday night against Miami. By Tony Krausz, The Journal Gazette

Eifert enjoys role in offense

Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert only caught one pass in wins over Michigan State and Michigan.

But it was a critical reception.

Eifert, a Bishop Dwenger graduate, hauled in a 38-yard reception with just more than two minutes remaining to help seal a 13-6 victory over the Wolverines on Sept. 22.

"I just do what I'm asked, run the routes the way I'm supposed to run them. I'm ready to make a play whenever the ball comes my way," Eifert said after practice Wednesday as the No. 9 Irish (4-0) prepare to play Miami(4-1) at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Chicago's Soldier Field.

Eifert, who didn't have a reception against in a 20-3 win over Michigan State on Sept. 15, was expected to be Notre Dame's top target in the passing game this year.

The 6-foot-6, 251-pound senior started the season that way with a team-high four receptions in a 50-10 win over Navy on Sept. 1. He had four more receptions for 98 yards in a 20-17 win over Purdue on Sept. 8.

But since the win over Purdue, Eifert has been called on to do more than make plays, especially helping block in the running game.

And that's just fine with him.

"You can't really get frustrated when we're 4-0, if we were 0-4 then I would be pretty upset, but we are doing all right," said Eifert, who has nine receptions for 158 yards with one touchdown this year.

Though Notre Dame won without using Eifert much against Michigan and Michigan State, coach Brian Kelly doesn't plan to keep the ball out of one of his top playmakers' hands the rest of the season.

"We've got to find him," Kelly said. "Having said that, trust me, (opponents) know where he is. He's getting disrupted off the line of scrimmage, he's got hands on him wherever he is, and that makes it equally more difficult. But he's still being extremely effective for us. He effectively closed out the (Michigan) game for us on a big reception. But we need to continue to work in getting him the football."