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ANTHONY SALVADOR: Salvador finds a home on field with special teams

Chris Khorey | Friday, November 18, 2005

Anthony Salvador has always loved playing on special teams.

The walk-on senior linebacker won an award at De La Salle High School for being the team’s top special teams player, and nothing changed when he came to Notre Dame.

“I really enjoy playing special teams,” Salvador said. “When I came to Notre Dame, one of my goals was to get on the field, and I knew my best way to achieve that was to play special teams.”

While Salvador has come on in several different kicking situations throughout his four years with the Irish, he said his favorite is running down kickoffs.

“Kickoffs are the most fun,” he said. “Whenever I’m playing football I love coming down on kickoffs. You get to come down full speed. You have some responsibility, but it’s more about coming down and being reckless. You can fly at them and have some fun.”

Salvador suffered a knee injury last season against Pittsburgh while blocking for a kickoff return.

“It was the opening kickoff,” he said. “I got a little tweaked and tore my MCL.”

Fortunately, Salvador was only held out of the USC and Oregon State games and returned to spring practice at full strength.

“It was the first I’ve been seriously injured, so it was a little frustrating, but the training staff was great,” he said. “During Christmas break and the bowl game I rested.”

Salvador, along with Irish defensive lineman Derek Landri, was at De La Salle for part of the school’s famous 12-year, 151-game winning streak.

“You really have to be a part of that program to really understand,” Salvador said. “When we were there it was great. There was a lot of tradition and a great team atmosphere.”

Both Landri and Salvador graduated in 2002, two seasons before the Spartans lost their first game since 1991.

Salvador said Landri, who was a five-star prospect and drawing national attention, was one of the reasons he came to Notre Dame.

Salvador said there were other factors, as well.

“One was academics, also I had a great time when I visited, and the third factor was that I’d get to play football if I came here,” he said.

One factor Salvador did not consider was the Irish head coach. During his senior year of high school, Notre Dame fired then coach Bob Davie and replaced him with Tyrone Willingham.

“When I was picking a college to go to, I was trying to find a school that I wanted to get a degree from,” Salvador said. “It had nothing to do with who was coach.”

Salvador will graduate from the Mendoza College of Business and said he has not yet figured out what he will do after graduation, which is quickly approaching.

“I guess right now I’m just still trying to focus on the season,” he said. “When that ends, then I’ll start looking at things. I’ve been talking to some companies, but nothing really formal.”