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Cave enjoys combine experience

INDIANAPOLIS – Center Braxston Cave is one of eight former Notre Dame players at the NFL combine this week.

Cave is joined by tight end and Bishop Dwenger graduate Tyler Eifert, linebacker Manti Te'o, defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore, safeties Zeke Motta and Jamoris Slaughter and running backs Theo Riddick and Cierre Wood as the combine puts them through their paces through Tuesday.

""I've been with Eifert all day," said Cave, who is on the same schedule as Eifert – who wasn't available for interviews Thursday – at the combine. "It's good to see some familiar faces."

Cave said he feels prepared for the combine, especially after participating in the Senior Bowl last month. He said he hopes to show off his athleticism and prove that he is an athlete during Saturday's on-field workouts.

"I like to think of myself as one of the best centers in the country, and we will leave that up for teams to decide," Cave said. "I would like to come out here and show my athletic ability and how smooth I can run. In our offense, I was matched up one-on-one a lot, and I really didn't get a chance to show my speed in the open field or anything like that. It will be nice to get out there and open it up."

Cave said he understands that Te'o will be focused on a lot this week. The linebackers are scheduled to talk to the media Saturday and go through on-field workouts Monday.

Te'o was the victim of a hoax that made him believe he had a relationship with a woman who supposedly died during the season but actually never existed. The hoax was revealed Jan. 16. The linebacker admitted he kept talking about the non-existent woman after he knew he had been duped, but he also said he had nothing to do with the plot.

"It's unfortunate the way that this turned him from being one of the greatest college football players this year to this whole different image that has been set for him," Cave said. "I will be happy when his name is called in the draft, and we can all put this behind us."

Cave said he doesn't believe the hoax affected Te'o in the Irish's 42-14 loss to Alabama in the BCS championship game, and the center also said Te'o's performance in that loss didn't reflect what he can do on the field.

"We didn't play well as a team. Alabama came out and was the better team," Cave said. "Whether there were other things on his mind or not, it didn't really matter that day."

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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