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Notre Dame Football

Notre Dame's Tremble: We're 100% until whistle blows

November 27, 2020

Brian Kelly termed it football for aficionados of the game.

Tommy Tremble doesn't much care what it's called; just bring the pain.

“Growing up I played defense mostly,” said Tremble, No. 2 Notre Dame's no-nonsense offensive bruiser. “And so I was used to, I always sought contact. I played running back, too, and I never shied away from that.

“My dad (former Georgia Bulldogs and NFL defensive back Greg Tremble) taught me that, too; he was like, 'Never be scared of contact. The more scared you are, the more hurt you're going to be.'”

Tremble doesn't point to his individual approach but rather that of the collective offense that's generating the identity for No. 2 Notre Dame, which faces No. 19 North Carolina today in a pivotal Atlantic Coast Conference clash. Kick-off is 3:30 p.m. on ABC.

“I think we brought that kind of fearlessness overall to our offense,” Tremble said. “No one's shying away from contact. Everyone wants it. You see Kyren (Williams) in his pass-blocking, everything he's doing; he's never shying away from that contact. He's embracing it, and that's really showing the physicality we have as a team.”

After scoring his first career touchdown in Notre Dame's 2019 season-opening win at Louisville, Tremble's stats this year hardly reveal his impact, snap after snap. He's fifth on the team with 15 receptions and has a four-yard carry.

Yet Tremble's equal parts sixth offensive lineman, matchup problem for opposing linebackers in the pass game and more than happy to clear real estate for the Irish ball-carriers.

“Tommy Tremble should be spotlighted for the way he blocks and the ferocity, if that's a word, in which he does that,” coach Brian Kelly said. “He plays so fast, plays so aggressive and he finishes his blocks. I just think it's a lost art in so many instances when we talk about the game of football. And so when people see that, it really stands out.

“I know for the aficionados of this game, love watching that. I love watching that. The more Tommy Tremble, give me more. I love watching him play.”

Tremble simply knows no other approach to the game.

“Who wants to play some real football? Smash-mouth football. I love that,” Tremble, now 6-foot-4, 248 pounds, said. “Recruiting in high school, I was really young coming out. I just wasn't as developed; I wasn't big enough to be a physical blocker. Some guys would be 220, 225. I was registered at 225. I was probably at 210, 205, really.

“So I couldn't really get my chance to be that dominant blocker, but I always had that physical mindset. I never really lost that.”

The approach Tremble brings and expects from the rest of his teammates is expected to get its stiffest remaining test of this 11-game, provisional-ACC membership season when Notre Dame (8-0, 7-0 ACC) seeks to stay perfect against the Heels, porous on defense but explosive on offense.

Tremble says Notre Dame will play its style for the duration.

“Going to the fourth quarter, we're always going to be the team that is, when we're tired, we're going even harder,” Tremble said. “We're never just like, 'Oh, let's end this, let's get out of here, boohoo.' We're 100% until the whistle blows at the end of the fourth quarter. We're physical 100% the entire game, no matter what's happening.

“We're never going to shy away from that. I think that's helped, not only our team but me individually, being able to be confident knowing that the man next to me is going to go just as hard. It's just an amazing program to really be around.”

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