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Not all about Orton

Matt Lozar | Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Kyle Budinscak was answering a question Monday afternoon about how important pressuring Purdue quarterback Kyle Orton will be Saturday.But then all of a sudden, Budinscak stopped talking about Orton and switched gears.”It’ll start with stopping the run actually, to make it into passing situations where we can tee off a little bit,” Budinscak said. “It’s always [important to take away run], but especially in this game.”Orton’s passing statistics [69.8 completion percentage, 982 yards, 13 touchdowns and zero interceptions] deter opponents from making Purdue one-dimensional, but the Boilermakers also average 205 yards per game on the ground, good enough for No. 24 nationally.”Any team that has a great quarterback and great receivers and knows the system real well … if you can be 90 percent sure they’re going to throw the ball that helps you so much more,” Budinscak said. “If they’re having a little success running the ball and you have to do things to honor the run, you’ve already given yourself a huge disadvantage in the passing game.”So it’s just huge if we can make them one-dimensional, and I believe we can do that.”The Irish have been successful shutting down the run – yielding an average of just under 89 yards per contest. The Notre Dame run defense ranks No. 17 nationally. But the Boilermakers offense will be the best unit Notre Dame will face thus far for the season, and Orton will be the best quarterback, as well.As linebacker Brandon Hoyte has said for the past few weeks, it’s not what the opponent’s offense does, but what the Notre Dame defense goes out and does to influence the outcome of the game. With the potent Boilermaker offense visiting South Bend, Hoyte still feels that way.”I think we have a tremendous opportunity and playing a top offense like Purdue has, that’s a showcase to really show what your defense is really about,” Hoyte said. “That weekend presents that opportunity. I think it still stands – it’s not about them, it’s about how we play.”Contrary to the national attention garnered by the 2002 defense, which was headlined by All-American Shane Walton, this year’s defense has talked about each person making a contribution for the team’s success. Coaches put together a chain at the beginning of the year to represent what the defense stands for – being only as good as it’s weakest link.Hoyte knows that facing an offense as good as Purdue’s will give this defense the opportunity to show the country – which anointed Orton a Heisman Trophy candidate and Purdue’s offense a top group -that a “team-first” attitude gets the job done.”I think right now our defense is gelling. I think everyone is playing a role and there’s no main person making play after play,” Hoyte said. “It’s the fact that the Notre Dame defense as a whole is making plays. I think we’re in the position right now where we can definitely show everyone what we are about.”This weekend we get that opportunity.”