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Patrick Nally: Helping prepare the starters is just plain fun

Scott Brodfuehrer | Thursday, November 13, 2003

For walk-on tight-end Patrick Nally, the opportunity to play Notre Dame football is just plain fun.”I’m scrimmaging football most of the time, which is just a blast,” Nally said. “To go out there and go against some of the best athletes in the world, it’s fun to go out and compete.”As a member of the scout team, Nally helps prepare the defense by simulating the next opponent’s offense in practice the week before the game. How he does this – and sometimes even the position he plays – changes every week. “Boston College used a lot of tight ends … Florida State hardly used any and Navy doesn’t even have a tight end on their team. … I was a tackle that week,” he said.And even though his hard work at practice doesn’t usually result in playing time, he still has a lot invested in each game.”You definitely take pride and definitely look at the defense and see how they do and how they perform and always hope for a shutout or very low points scored on them,” he said.Nally said he knew he wanted to come to Notre Dame and play football since third grade and always worked toward that goal. And while no members of his family had attended Notre Dame, he was following his father’s footsteps, who played football at the University of Tulsa.”The first thing was getting into school and once I was able to get in to school it was to work towards doing the football,” he said.Nally prepared by adding 25 pounds between the time he arrived on campus and when he tried out for the team in the spring of his freshman year in 2001. After he made the team, he began working towards his next goal – playing during a game.That opportunity came during Notre Dame’s 42-0 victory over Rutgers last November, when Nally played for just under a minute.”It was real exciting and pretty unreal at the time, I couldn’t really believe it was happening,” he said. “Definitely one of the goals I set out when I joined the team was to get on the field, play at least a play and get my name on the all-time roster.”Nally would welcome the opportunity to play again, but said wants to see his team win more than anything else.”I definitely want to go out on top. I would like to win the games first and foremost,” he said. “I’ll play hard at practice and play hard at every play, prepare the defense for everything and see what happens. “If I have the opportunity to play again, it would be awesome, if not, I just really hope we win.”An accounting major, Nally has also spent this fall interviewing for jobs, and like many other students, isn’t sure where he will end up next year.”I’m going back to being a normal guy I guess,” he said. “I am going through the interview process and going to get a job, just like a typical, average Notre Dame student.”But playing on the most storied college football program is an opportunity few students get and one Nally said he is thankful for.”It’s a real neat experience, I feel very fortunate to have had it and I try to work as hard as I can at it,” he said. “I have met some great guys doing this and really have been fortunate with all the people I have met and made friends. It’s definitely something I would like to take with me beyond football.”