Blue and Gold Illustrated

February 2019

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Page 6 of 47 FEBRUARY 2019 7 UNDER THE DOME Holy Cross Village is a continuing care retirement community, sponsored by the Brothers of Holy Cross, with a tradition of caring, compassion and trust. Holy Cross Village welcomes people of all faiths. 54515 State Rd., 933 North, Notre Dame, IN 46556 ... AND ENJOY THE GAME OF LIFE AT HOLY CROSS VILLAGE I magine making new friends and developing new talents, where everything you need to enjoy the game of life is right outside your front door. Nestled among three institutions of higher learning, Holy Cross Village at Notre Dame is a senior living community unlike anything else around. Our warm and inviting community offers: Independent Living Homes and Apartments Assisted Living Apartments Skilled Nursing Memory Care Rehabilitation Services Call (574) 251-2235 today for more information and to schedule a tour. sense for what's going on, and that's crafting what you're thinking about as the game unfolds," Kelly said. FIRE & ICE Heading into the College Football Playoff under Lea, the Irish ranked third nationally in pass efficiency de- fense — the highest ever at the school since the NCAA first tracked the stat in the early 1990s — No. 8 overall in the Fremeau Efficiency Index and No. 10 in scoring defense. Where the 2004 Vanderbilt graduate breaks the mold is the stereotype of a defensive coordinator needing to be a maniacal, fire-breathing, profanity- spewing figure to motivate his troops. Highly eloquent in speech and "almost a fully functioning vegetarian", Lea often has been described as one whose profile better fits a college lecture hall in academia than a football office. "I always reflect on how I appreci- ated being coached," Lea said. "It's a realization that winning games has strategic components, it has talent com- ponents, technical components, but it's also about a response to adversity and learning how to play with a lead. "Those things require you to push emotions to the side and stay focused on what the task is. And if don't do that — in my opinion — as the co- ordinator, how could I expect the player to have that same mindset? The end goal is to have these guys performing at the highest possible level you can. "How in the moment do you im- pact that positively? If you steer them in a direction emotionally that takes that away from them, or some- how clouds their judgment in the moment, then you're creating prob- lems for your players." To the Irish defenders, though, they have seen on occasion a differ- ent persona as well. "Behind closed doors, the dog comes out," junior strong safety Alohi Gilman said with a smile of Lea. "Everyone has that. … He's quiet off the field, very level-headed. When he comes on to the field ... he's intense. He flips it on." "The message I'm trying to con- vey, especially when I'm sharing that with players, is we can never be con- tent," Lea said. "The minute that you feel like you've arrived, you're going to be humbled. "That's that internal feeling for me … knowing that your best days and best accomplishments are out in front of you — setting your sights each day to make sure you're not miss- ing out on the little details you need to perform to keep those long-term goals within reach." Maybe even at Notre Dame for the long haul. ✦ In Lea's first season as defensive coordinator, the Irish ranked third nationally in pass effi- ciency defense, No. 8 overall in the Fremeau Efficiency Index and No. 10 in scoring defense. PHOTO BY ANGELA DRISKELL

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