Blue and Gold Illustrated

February 2015

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

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Page 29 of 105

"Joe Schmidt can't come off the field," otherwise the defense will suffer. Yeah, sure, Coach — a former walk‑ on with 21 career tackles and zero starts entering his senior year will make a difference. It proved to be the most prophetic statement of the year. MVP isn't mea‑ sured necessarily by who is the "best" player, but more so by who makes everyone else around him better to where he becomes the least expend‑ able figure. That defined Schmidt. The Irish were 7‑1 with him in the lineup during the regular season, and 0‑4 — and lost and searching — without him. Despite playing inside linebacker for the first time in his career, sophomore Jaylon Smith racked up a team- high 103 tackles en route to second-team Associated Press All-America honors. PHOTO BY BILL PANZICA

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