Notre Dame football finds normalcy ahead of North Carolina game

Having spilled so much sweat that his soaked T-shirt looked as if he got caught in a downpour, Notre Dame defensive tackle Howard Cross III made the slow walk away from another afternoon of work.

The path was a familiar one for Cross from the LaBar Practice Fields, back through the Irish Athletic Center and then out the big garage door and across the street to the Guglielmino Athletics Complex, where a shower and dinner awaited. It was a route that Cross walked the previous Tuesday, and the Tuesday before that. And that.

The Trek on this night was different. Not because he had to take a detour and meet with the media — a sure sign that his early season’s been a success — but because on this Tuesday, everything seemed a bit more normal.

It was all about football.

Finally, this week has been just about football for defensive tackle Howard Cross and Notre Dame.

The first three weeks of the college season carried a suffocating scrutiny about everything Notre Dame. That’s nothing new around here, but it was to this group this season. The run-up to the opener at Ohio State, a game that featured two top-10 teams, lasted eight months. Did you know Ohio State is where first-year Notre Dame Coach Marcus Freeman went to school? Where did they play? Where did his college coaching career begin as a graduate assistant? Really.

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Week Two, the Spotlight again was white hot on Freeman for his first game as head Coach in Notre Dame Stadium, which became his first loss as head Coach at Notre Dame Stadium. Then last week, the meh home game against California became bigger than expected for then-winless Notre Dame. The Irish really needed a win, and got it while wearing green jerseys. Against Cal. In September.

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