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College Adjustment

Mike Monaco | Sunday, October 2, 2011

Notre Dame has one of only two intramural tackle college football leagues in the United States. For many high school football players, attending Notre Dame provides them with the opportunity to continue playing a sport they love at a high level.

But for college freshmen, the interhall football season is a far cry from the high school football they were playing just months ago.

One difference between the high school and interhall levels is the amount of structure and technique refinement.

“It’s less organized and less disciplined so there are more breakdowns,” O’Neill freshman linebacker David Lee said. “You don’t know your assignments as well, so everyone plays at a slightly lower and slower level.”

O’Neill freshman lineman Jack McKeon echoed Lee’s sentiment and noted the impact on the balance of the game.

“Games are more defensive because the playbooks are so much less complex on offense,” McKeon said.

Practices are also much different from high school. Most interhall teams practice twice a week while high school teams usually practice five days a week. The 24-man roster limit as well as the lack of coaches makee for a different environment when the dorm teams do practice.

“If everyone shows up we can practice 11-on-11, but rarely can everyone make it,” McKeon said.

“We have to kind of teach each other how to do stuff [in practice],” Lee said. “[In high school] you’d have a coach tell you what you’re doing wrong. Guys here are more of the intellectual type so it’s easier for them to help each other.”

Despite the differences at the end of the day, the players love playing tackle football.

“It’s refreshing to put the helmet back on and go out and hit someone because after a while you get the itch to play,” Lee said.

“The camaraderie is just as high as it was in high school, especially since we’re all living together,” McKeon said.

Most guys hang up their cleats when they graduate high school. For freshmen at Notre Dame, a new type of football is just beginning.