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Lewis-Moore brings positive energy to defense

Andrew Owens | Thursday, October 18, 2012

Kapron Lewis-Moore represents the old guard of Notre Dame’s youthful defensive line. When he committed to the Irish in January 2008, Irish coach Brian Kelly had just wrapped up his inaugural season – at Cincinnati.

But don’t confuse Lewis-Moore’s age with a lack of energy. In fact, it’s the fifth-year captain who in many ways is the boisterous leader of a resurgent Irish defense.

“When he feels that there is not as much energy, he’s the guy that steps out in front and really gets guys going,” senior linebacker Manti Te’o said. “When we’re in a huddle or something, he’ll get guys going like that. When he makes a play, if you watch, every time somebody makes a play, you always will see [No.] 89 in there congratulating his teammate. He energizes the group in so many ways.”

To Lewis-Moore, having an animated defense can be just as critical to the unit’s success as proper tackling technique or possessing a knack for forcing turnovers.

“Yeah, you have to maintain it,” he said. “You have to maintain it as much as possible and I feel like positive energy is really infectious. If somebody gets a good play, it sort of just goes all over. If you get a big play on an interception or a big tackle I just feel like that elevates everybody.”

As Notre Dame students can attest, Lewis-Moore’s vibrant personality extends beyond Notre Dame Stadium. At men’s basketball games, he typically stands underneath the basket in the front row of the student section wearing a floppy hat while screaming at the top of his lungs for an Irish victory.

“I like to be fun but I know with this team there is a time to play and a time to be serious,” said Lewis-Moore of his personality. “Usually when it is time to be serious everybody knows that it is time to get serious. Luckily I don’t have to get out there and try to put on a hard front or something like that. I just try to keep the energy up and try to be positive as much as I can and try to have my attitude as positive as possible.”

Kelly said Lewis-Moore has developed as much as any player in the program during the past three years.

“Yeah, a lot of growth, a lot of growth as a leader in our football program,” Kelly said. “Yeah, certainly the dynamics there which put him front and center now in that defensive line meeting room, he has taken that over.
“He is the guy that is respected in that room. There is clearly, from my end, a commitment from him to being a better football player – not that he didn’t want to be last year.”

Like any influential leader, Lewis-Moore realizes the importance of preparing the next crop of talent to replace him, duties that include rooming with freshman defensive end Sheldon Day for road games and organizing captain-led film sessions.

“I just kind of want to be a battery for the [defensive line], a battery for the team,” Lewis-Moore said. “Just trying to help out as much as I can. If they have something that they need or something they need to ask, I try to help them out as much as I can. I almost want to be like a mentor but I try to be there. I try to embrace that role.”

When Kelly named Lewis-Moore one of four team captains in August, it represented a long path to success that the graduate student never envisioned when he signed his Letter of Intent to play for Notre Dame.

“If you would have asked me last year or a couple of years ago, I never would have thought that. So I just try to have fun with that,” he said.

Although his personality and approach differ from that of the other captains, Lewis-Moore’s role in the team’s 6-0 start and No. 5 Bowl Championship Series ranking cannot be overstated.

“He’s funny, so he brings that kind of energy, and then he’s serious at the same time,” Te’o said. “He’s that guy that makes that group run. So Kap, there is the reason why he’s the captain on our team.”

Contact Andrew Owens at aowens2@nd.edu