Notre Dame excited to start camp away from home

Notre Dame excited to start camp away from home
August 4, 2013, 4:15 pm
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- A long, dragging, drama-filled offseason is nearly over.

The Irish open preseason camp Monday in Marion, Ind., about two hours away from South Bend. There goal is to provide a distraction-free environment in which the team can come together, and it's one coach Brian Kelly and his players think will be beneficial. 

Defensive tackle Louis Nix, though, had one caveat.

"If I can't tweet for four days, that might be an issue," he said, "but I think I'll find a way."

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The good news for Nix is Shiloh Park, where the Irish will train, does have Wi-Fi -- although the bad news is Kelly expects it to crash within 20 minutes of having a large group of 18-to-22-year-olds in a confined space. 

It'll be nine players to each cabin at Shiloh Park, where there's no TV, no class schedule and no opportunities to do much else than concentrate on the task at hand.

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"It's all football," Kelly said. "Don't have to worry about getting to math class. We don't need to worry about guys off campus. We're all together. It's 100 percent being around each other and our football team." 

Irish players hope the lack of distractions will help keep their minds on football, not everything else that goes with their lives in South Bend. And, too, they see it as an opportunity to get to know some of the younger guys -- as in, the talented group of incoming freshmen -- before getting back to campus.

"I think the biggest thing is just bonding as a team," offensive lineman and 2012 captain Zack Martin said. "We have a lot of new guys on the team, and I got to know a lot of the offensive linemen but I haven't got to know really any other freshmen all that well. Getting to know some of those guys, and just being able to be around just the football guys -- not walking around seeing guys on campus or in South Bend, just being around this group I think will be really fun."

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The last seven months have been full of distractions, from Kelly's flirtation with the Philadelphia Eagles to the Manti Te'o drama to Everett Golson's expulsion from Notre Dame. Couple that with the beatdown Notre Dame received in its last game -- a 42-14 loss in the BCS Championship to Alabama -- and this group thinks getting away for a few days will do them well.

"I'm ready to get camp started, man," Nix said. "We've been waiting a while, getting here it's been kind of slow, but now it's here and you're like man, time just flew by. I'm just ready to get it started, ready to start working."