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ND players say Irish, Tide defenses are alike

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ND players say Irish, Tide defenses are alike

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) When No. 1 Notre Dame lines up on offense Monday night in the BCS championship, the team on the other side of the ball will look a little familiar.

Fighting Irish players and coaches said Friday that the defense for No. 2 Alabama and their own have some similarities, including that both teams are known for giving opponents plenty of different looks.

``They're pretty diverse on defense,'' Irish offensive coordinator Chuck Martin said. ``They use their three-down and four-down packages, much like our defense uses our three-down and four-down packages.''

Alabama calls its base defense a 3-4, though the Crimson Tide are in that formation about once every five plays in the estimation of coach Nick Saban. Since arriving in South Florida earlier this week, Notre Dame players said the long gap between games - the Irish have not played since Nov. 24 - hasn't so much hurt rhythm as it gave them time to prepare for what's coming in the title game.

Quarterback Everett Golson may have been the biggest beneficiary of all that extra preparation time.

``They have a great defense, and like I said earlier, they play their responsibilities,'' Golson said. ``So it's going to be hard for us to kind of exploit their defense. But I'm sure just my ability to improvise, and the guys' around me ability to improvise, we'll work something out.''

This much was clear: There's a great respect for the Alabama defense, with good reason.

While Notre Dame leads the nation in scoring defense by a fraction of a point over Alabama, the Crimson Tide gave up the fewest yards per game of any team in the country.

``Very big,'' Irish running back Theo Riddick said. ``Very athletic.''

Not to mention very good.

Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart said it's clear to the Crimson Tide that Golson has gotten immeasurably better since the start of the season. Still, even Golson knows he'll have to be at his best against a championship-proven defense in the title matchup.

``Like we've said time and time again, Alabama has a great defense, and there's many things that they do, talking about switching out from three-down to four-down, just simple things like that that you have to prepare for or you have to have it instituted,'' Golson said. ``But for me, it's definitely going to be a great opportunity to compete for this national championship, so I'm looking forward to it.''

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Meet the group of friends saving up for matching Caps tattoos

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NBCSW

Meet the group of friends saving up for matching Caps tattoos

Charlie Sutton’s nails garnered lots of attention at the official Game 4 watch party, as her blue, white and red “LET'S GO CAPS” nails sparkled among the sea of red jerseys.

“I was originally just going to make the nails have the colors and sparkles, but I realized I had enough fingers to write out ‘Let’s Go Caps,’ so that’s what I did!” she said.

Sutton grew up in Idaho following the Steelheads. “We moved to Maryland five years ago because my dad’s in the military and he got stationed here, so when he did I thought, ‘Hey, there’s an NHL team here!’ and started following the Caps then. I've been a huge fan since” she said.

Sutton was at the watch party with her two friends, Hannah Steele and Amye Elfin. Steele’s father worked in Northern Virginia when the Capitals organization started and sold them equipment. “He’s probably the first Caps fan ever,” she joked. Elfin’s father was a sports journalist for the Washington Times when Alexander Ovechkin was drafted, creating a Capitals lineage in their family.

“This has been my whole life,” Elfin said.

The three friends are hardcore Capitals fans, saving enough money to get Capitals-themed tattoos together. Elfin already has three blue and red stars tattooed on her left arm: “I got this done at Tattoo Paradise, where the Caps got their tattoos done!”

“We were way too broke to get that tattoo with her,” Sutton said, laughing with Steele. “But we’ve been coming up with lots of ideas and thinking about placement together.”

The three joked about getting Lars Eller’s abs tattooed on their stomachs, skate laces tattooed over their feet or the entire Stanley Cup tattooed over their spines.

Realistically, though, Sutton said that they plan to get something small to memorialize their favorite team.

“Ovechkin has ‘Sergei’ on his gloves, so maybe I’ll get that on the bottom of my hand where it is on his gloves,” Sutton said. Steele said that she might get the year 2019 for the team’s Stanley Cup victory, or a jersey number or two.

Check in with us when you’re at the parlor!

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Hurricanes shock Capitals, score 17 seconds into Game 4

Hurricanes shock Capitals, score 17 seconds into Game 4

The Capitals were looking to rebound quickly from their 5-0 drubbing Monday night against the Hurricanes and take a 3-1 series lead.

But the Hurricanes had other plans.

17 seconds into the game, Matt Niskanen pinched to try and keep the puck in. It backfired, and Justin Williams found Jaccob Slavin with an outlet pass. The Canes' speed created a  3-on-1 opportunity, and Slavin sent the puck to a streaking Warren Foegele for the tap in.

It's Foegele's third goal of the series. The fastest goal to start a playoff game is courtesy of Don Kozak in 1977. He scored 6 seconds into the opening frame. 

The fastest the Capitals have conceded a goal to start a period was to Sidney Crosby 12 seconds into a 3-2 loss against the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2017.

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