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Irish Insights

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It's just talk

Notre Dame defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore's received an excited call from his sister Tuesday.

The senior captain had to calm her down after she relayed what USC quarterback Max Wittek said during a radio interview.

"I'm going to go out there. I'm going to play within myself, within the system, and we're going to win this ballgame," Wittek said on a Los Angeles' radio station.

"I was like chill, chill. It's OK. He's a confident quarterback," Lewis-Moore said. "What do you expect? You don't expect him to say, 'We are going to lose,' I think people are making it a bigger deal than what it is.

"He's a confident quarterback, and you want to play for a confident quarterback. Him coming out and saying we are going to win, that's what you want out of your quarterback. … It's not hanging up in the locker room. It's not bulletin board material. It is just something that you know about, shrug off and go to work."

Lewis-Moore's feelings that Wittek's comments are nothing to get upset about was consistent with his teammates.

Wittek is making his first start Saturday when No. 1 Notre Dame (11-0) travel to play USC (7-4). Wittek, a freshman, is getting the start because Matt Barkley, a senior, suffered a shoulder injury last weekend against UCLA.

The 6-foot-4, 235-pound Wittek has complete 8 of 9 passes for 95 yards with a touchdown.

And while the freshman's comment is being portrayed as a guarantee, the Irish are not worried about what the quarterback says going into the game.

"It's whatever," safety Zeke Motta said. "If I was on that team I would want my quarterback to be confident too. You can say what you want, but he's got to have some sort of motivation going into this game and try to get everybody else fired up.

"I think at the end of the day, he's got nothing to lose. That's a little more dangerous than when somebody calculates what they are doing. That could be to our advantage, but who knows? Right now, it is all speculation at this point."

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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