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Notre Dame Football

Notre Dame S Shaun Crawford Ready For Final Run with Irish

December 31, 2020

There are a million words you could use to describe Notre Dame safety Shaun Crawford. 

You could go down the route of adversity as few have dealt with more injuries. 

It would also make sense to use words that describe a selfless leader or even the ultimate teammate. 

Whatever word you use, Crawford will describe Notre Dame as home. 

"This place is home to me," stated Crawford. "This is where I grew up at. This is where I found myself and continue to just find love and passion for the game. Coach Kelly has been great to me. He's stuck with me through a lot of the adversity. He's just been like another father figure to me on campus and while I'm at school away from my home in Cleveland.

"This place is just home. It was an opportunity for me to find myself, for me to battle through adversity, to really grow into myself. I love this team, love this university, so each and every day, I just go out there cherish the moment, cherish the opportunities that this university has provided me." 

The Cleveland native has a maximum of two games left in his career and to get to the second game, Notre Dame must go through No. 1 Alabama in Friday's Rose Bowl. 

It will be a tough challenge, but Crawford ready to lead the secondary against one of the nation's top passing attacks. 

"This team is very talented," said Crawford. "On the outside, they have great skill. They have a great running back and a good offensive line. Then a good quarterback who can get their receivers in the skill positions the ball.

"It will be a challenge for us to try to contain them and just try to continue to go out there and throw different looks, throw disguises, try to make it difficult for their coaching staff and for Mac Jones as well back there so he can't get a good read on us. Just try to play top-down and contain the receivers as much as we can." 

While there might be differences, Crawford feels the Crimson Tide are similar to a team the Irish beat in November. 

"A similar team you can compare them to is North Carolina," explained Crawford. "A team that had a lot of speed and a lot of talent on the outside. A quarterback who can make all the throws. A quarterback who can make all the reads, as well as running backs who can take it the distance, any play.

"So when you're looking at a team like Alabama and I guess the teams that we've played, I think those two are pretty similar as far as the talent that they have on the outside with the quarterback and also the running game that's excellent as well." 

Notre Dame's defense will not only need to be disciplined to be in the right spots, the Irish will need to tackle. Alabama is extremely dangerous with the ball, so sound tackling will be critical to avoid giving up explosive plays. 

"Just to get a body on them, try not to leave my feet, try not to dive as much, because they are --  Najee Harris is a bigger back. So just try to get square on him, fit him up and wrap, try to wrap and just bring him to the ground as much as -- or try to bring him to the ground every single time.
But just pursuing to the ball, get a lot of hats to the ball, that's what we're going to do need to do. Try to get to him before his momentum gets going.

"On the outside, they're going to catch balls. They're a good receiving corps. When they do catch balls, we got to limit the YAC and so make sure we get them down as soon as we can." 

The sixth-year student-athlete will also be coaching up his younger teammates not to get frustrated if they allow a catch on Friday evening. 

"I think a key for us in the secondary is not so much just getting upset with if they catch a ball, but just making sure they don't take it the distance if they do catch the ball. So just getting them down right after the catch will be huge." 

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