Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct. 21, 2013 Issue

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

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Page 28 of 108

T By Dan Murphy here's a picture hanging in the football office at Verona High School in northern New Jersey. At the start of each season Lou Racioppe, the team's head coach, pulls it off the wall and shows it to his new defense. This, he tells them, is what a linebacker looks like. In the middle of the frame, a young Carlo Calabrese, 185 pounds as a high school freshman at the time, stands over a fallen opponent during a 2005 on the roster. He went into the Arizona State game Oct. 5 second on the team with 36 stops on the year, one behind fellow linebacker Jarrett Grace. He leads the defense in tackles for loss (four of them) and unofficially in big hits. Notre Dame's running backs say Calabrese is no different when facing his teammates in practice. His whiplashinducing hit of George Atkinson III in last April's Blue-Gold Game was a good reminder for the back to keep his shoulders down even in friendly A Mean Kind Of Love Linebacker Carlo Calabrese's hard-hitting nature comes from a deep passion for the game state playoff game. You can feel the menace just looking at it, Racioppe said. "That intensity," he said. "You can see it right on him. That's something that's just there. Kids are born with that, and Carlo fortunately was." Calabrese's teammates at Notre Dame are used to that look. The fifthyear senior is in his fourth season as a regular contributor at the middle linebacker position for the Irish. His 181 career tackles through five games this season are the most of any player territory. He's notorious for finishing his tackles during seven-on-seven non-contact drills and other parts of practice when the defense isn't supposed to hit. "You always keep your head on a swivel when you're going across the middle when Carlo is in, because sometimes he forgets that it's tag off," junior running back Cam McDaniel said. "He's a mean player on the field. That's the best way for me to put it." As Racioppe said, Calabrese was born with it. He started knocking

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