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Notre Dame Football

Notre Dame LB Marist Liufau Healthy & Ready to Roll

March 25, 2022
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Marist Liufau was the talk of fall camp seven months ago. The 6-foot-2, 229-pounder had more than flashed from his Will linebacker spot and off the edge, but then a tragic ankle injury sidelined him for the 2021 season as the Irish wrapped up camp. 

Liufau is back and healthy this spring, which has the Hawaii native itching for September. 

"It's so exciting," stated Liufau. "It feels great. It's been a long time since I've played. My last game was over a year ago. So I'm just excited to be out here practicing again."

The time away from the field was hard, but Liufau also embraced it and made an effort to turn it into a positive. 

"The biggest change is being more football smart, just knowing why I'm doing certain things and when to do certain things," explained Liufau. "Like in terms of the d-line and when they're moving in places and knowing offensive formations and what to do when we get a certain look from them."

New Notre Dame defensive coordinator Al Golden has thoroughly been impressed with Liufau's makeup in his short time on the job.

"Very, very talented," Golden said of Liufau. "He's a talented young man and he's really worked hard. I wasn't here for the injury, but I was here for the last month of his recovery and his return and there's a lot of people in this building that hold him in high regard in the way he attacked his rehab and put himself in position now. 

"So there's probably a lot of guys that would have said, 'I don't know if I'll be out there for spring, maybe I'll be back in June.' But that's not part of his makeup. So we're glad to have him and we're really happy for him that he's back because he's been good.

"I can't imagine he slowed down— he's playing fast. So I'm excited."

And yes, Liufau has shown Golden he can be used in various ways on the field. 

" He's got length," stated Golden. "He can trigger. He's smart. He's a really, really smart kid. He's playing multiple positions. He can blitz. He can play pass defense and he can come off the edge if we want him to. 

"There's a lot of competition in that room and it will sort itself out." 

Liufau has also been impressed with Golden through four practices as no detail is overlooked. 

"Something that has impressed me is just how smart he is, how much he knows the game," Liufau said. "You can tell he's been around the game for a long time. He knows what he's doing."

Liufau will have his third defensive coordinator, but not much has changed when it comes to the big picture under Golden. 

"We set our foundation," said Liufau. "Even though we've had a coaching change, we still have our fundamentals, like running to the ball, creating chaos for the offense, attacking the football. Things like that just kept us on track."

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