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Te'o gearing up for Alabama

By Dave Reardon

LAST UPDATED: 08:43 a.m. HST, Jan 03, 2013

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. » Manti Te'o answered questions for an hour this morning for around 150 media members covering the Discover BCS National Championship game.

Te'o, the Notre Dame senior linebacker and Heisman Trophy runner-up from Laie and Punahou, is the single biggest name in Monday's game between the No. 1-ranked Fighting Irish (12-0) and defending champion Alabama (12-1) at Sun Life Stadium.

Notre Dame defensive coordinator Bob Diaco shared the podium with Te'o before the team's first practice here today.

"Manti has actually practiced harder the last week than he has all season," Diaco said. "So he has raised his game even just as early as last week and leading up to the travel here to South Florida.

Te'o expressed respect for the Crimson Tide, but confidence despite being 10-point underdogs.

"We know who we are, obviously, and we obviously know who Alabama is, and as this week goes on and the practices continue, we'll know the terrain," Te'o said. "For me, I've always been a believer that regardless of the situation, the field is still 120 yards long, football is still the same shape, and everybody straps on their chinstraps the same way. So we understand that this is a big game, but at the end of the day, it's still football, and I think when we start to do things differently than we've done all season, that's when we're going to start getting into trouble."

Earlier, Alabama offensive players and offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier spoke. Nussmeier said Notre Dame's defense presents a challenge because it is superb at the most important part of its job: Keeping opponents out of the end zone.

"To me the biggest thing is they lead the nation in scoring defense," Nussmeier said. "They've given up 10.3 points a game. … The goal of the game is to score points."

Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron said Te'o "is the heart and soul for them. He's going to be a big key to the game, like always."

"You look at the interceptions, the tackles, he always seems to be around the ball," Nussmeier said. "He has great natural instincts. Obviously he's a phenomenal athlete. It's going to be very important that we know where he is at all times."

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BigIsandLava wrote:
Nobody wants to post regarding this article, well I will. Good job Manti. I really would've liked you to represent the 808 and play for UH, but you made a good choice. At least you have the national stage and placed yourself in a position to win a national title. I just hope that other good athletes in Hawaii chooses to stay home to begin building a college football dynasty here. Home fans grumble about you leaving and encouraging others to leave too, but I know they will be watching the game also and cheering for our Hawaii boys. I know I will. Shaka us after a good defensive play on national TV and all will be forgiven.
on January 3,2013 | 07:36AM
allie wrote:
can you blame the best student athletes for leaving and experiencing the wider world? Manti made the right choice
on January 3,2013 | 10:37AM
false wrote:
Manti and play like you always have......like a Champion.
on January 3,2013 | 09:15AM
allie wrote:
good luck teo!
on January 3,2013 | 10:36AM
nodaddynotthebelt wrote:
This will be a close game but Notre Dame should win this one. Congratulations to Manti Teo. Yes, he did commit to UH and then switched to Notre Dame but obviously he made the right decision for him. All eyes in the nation will be on this one. All the analyses have been made and the so-called experts have called it an Alabama win. Even the prognosticators in Vegas has placed Alabama as the ten point favorites. Many have contended that they had the easier schedule and some of the teams that they have beaten have a collective losing record. ESPN has them winning about 26 to 16. This is an opportunity for Notre Dame to prove them all wrong. But still the same I am hoping for a Notre Dame win so that Manti Teo can bring it home.
on January 3,2013 | 11:06AM
false wrote:
ND 24 - Bama 17
on January 3,2013 | 02:04PM
Skyler wrote:
Go Te'o! Vegas has the Crimson Tide by 7.5 pts. I'd bet otherwise if I was a bettin' man.
on January 3,2013 | 05:04PM