FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – It isnt easy to find a weakness in Alabamas top-ranked defense, but No. 1 Notre Dame (12-0) hopes to find it in the Crimson Tides secondary when the teams play in the BCS championship game Monday.
Irish receiver/running back Theo Riddick was asked Friday what Notre Dame could take away from Texas A&Ms win over No. 2 Alabama (12-1), and the senior pointed to a secondary that gave up 253 passing yards and two passing touchdowns to the Aggies in a 29-24 loss Nov. 10.
Alabama also gave up 281 passing yards in its 32-28 win over Georgia in the Southeastern Conference title game Dec. 1, but overall, the Tide has the sixth-best passing defense in the nation, giving up 166.2 passing yards per game.
Im glad that they would say something like that, just because it makes you want to play even more, go out there and make plays, cornerback Dee Milliner said.
Our secondary has been hearing that all season, that we have proved that we can be exploited. Hopefully, they try to exploit us like they said, and we make plays and change their minds.
Notre Dame hasnt won a national title since 1988, and Alabama is going for its third crown in four years.
That disparity has led to the Irish fielding questions about whether they are ready to play on the big stage Monday night.
Notre Dame offensive coordinator Chuck Martin said Friday that he and the team are not worried about any stage fright when the Irish play for the title.
I think our kids have shown that theyre a pretty resilient bunch, and theyre pretty battle tested whether it be home or away, Martin said.
Theyve been told for 12 weeks that they werent good enough to get this far, and somehow were sitting in front of you guys answering questions, Martin said.
Sweating it out
Notre Dame had two practices in Florida since arriving Wednesday, and it has been an adjustment to get used to temperatures in the 80s.
It was brutal, receiver TJ Jones said of getting used to the heat at the first practice.
Irish add recruit
Max Redfield, a 6-foot-2, 195-pound safety from Mission Viejo (Calif.) High School, orally committed to the Irish during the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, which was televised on ESPN.
Redfield is a five-star prospect, according to Rivals.com, and he is the 23rd player to join Notre Dames 2013 recruiting class.