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Cole Laux: Competitive spirit kept him on the practice field

Scott Brodfuehrer | Friday, November 14, 2003

Returning from vacation on Jan. 1, 2002 Cole Laux rushed to the packed Monogram Room to listen to head coach Tyrone Willingham at his first Notre Dame press conference.

“[I met] with the coach for the first time and I remember being excited about the possibilities that he brought,” Laux said.

While a handful of other football players were at the press conference, Laux’s presence was surprising. The then-sophomore had no intention of playing football for Notre Dame when he graduated from Marian High School in Mishawaka two years ago.

Laux, whose dad was a Notre Dame graduate, remembers watching Notre Dame football and tailgating before games with his family. In high school, most of his fall Saturdays involved watching film from Friday night’s game and tailgating with teammates and friends outside Notre Dame Stadium. But he never considered playing for the Irish.

Laux said in high school he focused on grades and playing football for the Marian Knights. But after graduation he relished the opportunity to compete again and contacted the football staff about walking on to the team.

“Well I competed in high school and had a lot of fun,” Laux said. “I like to compete and after I graduated from my senior year and I got into Notre Dame. I thought I would like to continue my career and walk on to the Notre Dame football team.”

For Laux, being a Notre Dame football player is his life. He shrugs off the hard work and focuses on how he can prepare his teammates during practice as a member of the scout team.

“I think I bring a big physical guy trying to work [hard] against the defense every day,” Laux said. “I try to throw them around as much as I can … and just try to bring everything I can and make them better for the next game.”

Laux did see playing time for the Irish in 2002 against Rutgers. Laux said though he and the other walk-ons are a distinct group who from time to time hang out together, in his eyes there is no distinction between him and any other member of the team.

“I think somewhat walk-ons will do things together every now and then because we are kind of a group all by ourselves paying our way through and trying to keep everything up – grades and football at the same time.” Laux said. “For the most part we are just a part of the team like everyone else and I just look at it as pretty much the same. We do all of the same work and do all of the same practices and I really don’t see that much of a difference.”

Laux said he worries about what it will be like after he graduates this May when he will be not just a Notre Dame alumnus but also a former Notre Dame football player.

“I will miss the atmosphere, helping with the team and playing everyday with them,” Laux said.