Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct. 6, 2014 Issue

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

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Page 27 of 108

BY ANDREW OWENS A s a freshman adjusting to life at Notre Dame, Drue Tran- quill perhaps has more to juggle than most first-years as a mechanical engineering major also acquainting himself with Van- Gorder 101. To date, however, the Fort Wayne, Ind., native has shown absolutely no signs of being overwhelmed with ei- ther undertaking. "I came in with the mindset to help the team in the best way that I could," he said. "Everyone's got their piece of the puzzle that they've got to do to help the team. Whatever that was for me I didn't know coming in, but I knew I was going to work hard to contribute." So far, Tranquill has served as multi- ple puzzle pieces: a special teams con- tributor on all four units, dime line- backer and — in the 30-14 win against Purdue Sept. 13 — strong safety. During a two-play sequence in the second quarter at Lucas Oil Stadium, sophomore Max Redfield was ejected for targeting and junior Nicky Baratti suffered a season-ending shoulder in- jury. With those two out — joining then-injured safety Austin Collin- sworth and Eilar Hardy, who is not practicing or playing during the aca- demic probe — Tranquill jumped into the fray with the first team at strong safety. After the shuffle, Notre Dame al- lowed just seven points the remainder of the game, and that was when a Ben Koyack fumble handed Purdue the ball at the Irish 26-yard line. "It's something you prepare for the whole week going into it," Tranquill said. "You can't be out there being ner- vous and playing timid. That's not how this game is played. You've got to know your stuff and go out there and be confident in yourself. I thought the guys did a great job of rallying around me and helping me be more confident. It was a good experience." After the win, head coach Brian Kelly joked that Tranquill "doesn't know what he's doing, but he's awe- some." "He's running around there," Kelly said. "I say that kiddingly because he does know what he's doing. But we're trying to really keep it simple for him out there. He was such a locked-in kid. We're able to do some things with him, A Fresh LOOK Notre Dame's new defense under coordinator Brian VanGorder has received a jolt from several freshmen

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