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Irish defensive linemen click despite differences

January 6, 2013
By TIM REYNOLDS , The Associated Press

MIAMI- Louis Nix III is the talker. Stephon Tuitt is the thinker.

Put them together, and you've got the start of quite a stout defensive line for top-ranked Notre Dame.

From a personality standpoint, there would seem to be little that links the loquacious Nix and the church-quiet Tuitt. Yet both on and off the field, they find ways to click in just about every way - and they're generally considered the two most productive defensive linemen on an Fighting Irish team that plays No. 2 Alabama on Monday in the Bowl Championship Series title game.

Article Photos

Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te‘o kisses the national Bowl Championship Series trophy during Saturday’s media day.

AP photo

"Guys want to talk, I like to talk," Nix said Saturday. "Tuitt, he just hits people. I think that's the talking he does."

For the Irish, it works.

Nix, Notre Dame's stellar nose guard, leads the line with 45 tackles despite regularly seeing double-teams, at minimum - and he was chosen as the team's defensive lineman of the year. Tuitt had 42 tackles and a team-best 12 sacks from his defensive end spot, along with a fumble return for a score in the season-opening win over Navy.

Fact Box

BOWL SCHEDULE

All Times HST

Saturday's Result

BBVA Compass Bowl

At Birmingham, Ala.

Mississippi 38, Pittsburgh 17

Today's Game

GoDaddy.com Bowl At Mobile, Ala.

Kent St. (11-2) vs. Arkansas St. (9-3), 4 p.m. (ESPN)

Monday's Game

BCS National Championship

At Miami

Notre Dame (12-0) vs. Alabama (12-1), 3:30 p.m. (ESPN)

That seems so long ago. The Irish were unranked then, and now are not only No. 1 in the land, but one victory away from maybe a most unlikely national title.

"It's exciting. I'm glad to be here," Tuitt said. "It's something we've worked for all year. We made it. We've worked hard for six weeks and we're ready to come out and play."

So much about their personalities was made clear on Saturday when the Irish arrived at Sun Life Stadium for the BCS media day festivities.

Tuitt took a spot inside a tent, his backpack obstructing the number and name on the back of his jersey. Nix, on the other hand, stood outside the tent, surrounded by a half-dozen television cameras as he discussed the upcoming return of his reality show of sorts, a YouTube sensation he calls "Chocolate News" where he basically shows snippets of behind-the-scenes life at Notre Dame.

"Chocolate News" has been on hiatus this fall, with Nix simply too busy to work on it because of football.

"Hopefully I have one soon, depending on how this game goes," Nix said when asked when the next episode will be. "If we win, I'll be happy and I'll have one out the next day."

Sitting nearby, Tuitt could hear his affable teammate, and just grinned.

"I'm just the person who's just here," Tuitt said. "I don't really do that much talking."

Except on the field. That is, with his play - not even words there.

"Tuitt? He doesn't talk on the field at all," Nix said. "No. He doesn't talk on the field at all. Like, he'll talk with us, talk with his team. He doesn't talk at all."

 
 

 

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