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Nightmare scenerio

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – No offense wants to be in third-and-long situations, but that is especially true against Alabama.

Notre Dame offensive coordinator Chuck Martin said it will be crucial for the No. 1 Irish (12-0) to stay out of third-and-7 or longer situations in Monday's BCS championship game against the No. 2 Crimson Tide (12-1).

"If you get to third-and-long, they throw a lot of stuff at you, and then it becomes more problematic to see what they're doing, and then they do a good job if your quarterback checks and they change the defense right after he checks or what he just checked for is no longer there, now they do a very good job of when they get you in third-and-long," Martin said. "I went through the third-and-long … they've gotten more fumbles and interceptions and sacks than they've given up first downs on third-and-7-plus. If you want to get demoralized, if you're a Notre Dame fan, watch the Alabama third-and-7-plus tape, which we did one morning, and then we called it a day after that because we were all demoralized. If (Alabama's opponents) just punted on third down the whole season against Alabama than actually going for it on third-and-7-plus (they'd have been better off)."

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.