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Football:’Redemption Song’

Joe Meixell | Tuesday, December 9, 2008

After a disappointing finish to the regular season, Notre Dame seniors have one last chance to end their up and down football careers on a high note.

Irish captains Maurice Crum, David Grimes and David Bruton met with media Monday to discuss their upcoming appearance at the Sheraton Hawai’i Bowl against the Rainbow Warriors in Honolulu.

“This truly is my last chance to leave a mark in the program, and also give those guys who are coming back something to build off of,” Crum said. “I really do think that will be a good way just to leave a good taste in my mouth.”

The senior class finished their final season with a 38-3 loss to USC in Los Angeles and also dropped their final home game to Syracuse the week before. It was first time since 2004 that the Irish lost on Senior Day. Grimes was also excited about the opportunity to freshen his breath, so to speak.

“Kind of take that bitter taste out of our mouth that we had this last month, and get the seniors something to be happy about,” he said.

On top of a chance for redemption, Grimes was also excited to get a chance to get away from the bitter cold of South Bend to the sunny shores of Hawai’i.

“I think there’s even more energy, because Hawaii, nice weather, beautiful women,” Grimes said.

Notre Dame had a choice of bowl games to pick from but opted to head to Hawai’i because of the unique atmosphere, the earlier date – the game will be played at 8 p.m. EST on Dec. 24 – that would allow some players to be home for Christmas and of course the women.

“What Little David said, just the women, the sun, the atmosphere in general of Hawai’i and just basically living a dream or a fantasy just to go out there,” Bruton said.

When presented with the option of bowls, Irish coach Charlie Weis asked for his players input. He turned to the captains and leadership council to help him make the decision.

“Friday we met about it and just kind of, in order of the options, which one we thought was best for the team. And that’s the one we thought was best,” Crum said.

The captains said the team was hoping to have a good time, but knew that they were going on a business trip not a vacation. All three agreed that the team would have no problem focusing on the task at hand when it came time to work.

“The party line, since we found out, has been just to win the Bowl game. I think secondly is to enjoy a place like Hawaii, but definitely our goal it to win a Bowl game.

Notre Dame has not won a postseason game since 1994.


uFriday evening the team met for their annual awards banquet. Crum was awarded the team’s MVP. He also shared the Nick Pietrosante Award with fellow senior Mike Anello. Anello also picked up a second award when he was named the Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley Rockne Student-Athlete Award winner.

uFormer Irish coach Lou Holtz will also be collecting hardware this week. Holtz is set to be inducted into the College Football of Fame tonight in New York City. He is being inducted with an impressive class including Troy Aikman, Pat Fitzgerald and Thurman Thomas.