Photo by Rick Kimball/ISD
Notre Dame Football

Love Unconcerned With Doubters Heading Into The Cotton Bowl

December 24, 2018

Notre Dame cornerback Julian Love knows the Irish have a tough task of handling Clemson’s offense in the Cotton Bowl on December 29th. 

It’s rare to find a program with big receivers like Notre Dame, but it’s extremely rare to find tall receivers with speed and athleticism. 

“They are very talented and have a good system,” said Love. “We’ve played a lot of taller receivers in the past. They might be a little more complete across the board, but we’ve faced some tough receivers who are similar.” 

As the Cotton Bowl gets closer, it’s become evident Notre Dame has a giant chip on its shoulder as they have dealt with doubters in the national media for weeks. 

“People definitely talk and people love to talk,” laughed Love. “Nothing matters in any of that except the guys playing on the field. That’s the beauty of the game. People can speculate all they want, but it doesn’t affect the game at all.”

While Love and his teammates might say the negative noise doesn’t have an impact on them, it has motivated them if they admit on the record or not. 

In some cases, it might be a negative to get caught up in the noise, but in this case, it’s a good thing for the Irish.

“We don’t really care,” stated Love. “We know what people are seeing us as and this matchup, but we’re taking full advantage of that. We’re going to do what we’ve done all year and compete to the best of our ability. 

“People have said all year that it could be the week of the upset. That never happened because we’re a complete and tough team. We’ll show that on the 29th.” 

On the field, Love, a consensus All-American, produced once again as he racked up 61 tackles, one interception and 15 pass breakups. 

Love also holds the Notre Dame record for most pass breakups in a career 38 and the 5-foot-11, 193-pounder credits his big season to maturity. 

“I’m more mature in a sense of not everything has gone my way or our way this year,” explained Love. “The ability to come back and realize the team needs me and still play almost every play every game. That’s what has taken me to the next level.

“I’m more of a complete tackler. I think those little things are key. In terms of leading, we have some young guys in key roles and we need young guys to be the X-factor each year.” 

With the All-American accolades comes a decision. Love will have to decide between staying for his senior year or entering the 2019 NFL Draft, but the decision will come at a later point. 

“I stepped back from the process and I’m not focused on it,” said Love. “I’m worried about Clemson right now.” 

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