ND players say Irish, Tide defenses are alike


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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Former Raven Terrell Suggs and the Kansas City Chiefs are Super Bowl-bound

Former Raven Terrell Suggs and the Kansas City Chiefs are Super Bowl-bound

Terrell Suggs and the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Tennessee Titans 35-24 Sunday to advance to Super Bowl LIV in Miami. 

Suggs, who spent 16 seasons with the Ravens, will look to cement his Hall of Fame candidacy with a victory in his second Super Bowl appearance (Won SB XLVII) this time as a member of the AFC Champion Kansas City Chiefs.

Suggs departed from Baltimore before the 2019 season, signing a one-year deal with his hometown Arizona Cardinals before being waived mid-season. 

The Ravens were rumored to be interested in a reunion with their all-time leader in sacks but did not put in a claim, being last in waiver priority, and Suggs was claimed by the Kansas City Chiefs.

While the Ravens' 2019 season ended prematurely at the hands of the Titans, fans in Baltimore can take solace knowing that Suggs and the Chiefs helped bring the Titans' magical season to an end.

Suggs' accolades (2011 AP Def. Player of the Year, 2003 AP Def. Rookie of the Year, 7x Pro-Bowl, 1x All-Pro) will stand the test of time, but adding a second Super Bowl ring to his resume would make his Hall of Fame candidacy that much greater. 

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Warriors' Stephen Curry could return from injury on March 1 vs Wizards

Warriors' Stephen Curry could return from injury on March 1 vs Wizards

According to The Athletic's Marcus Thompson II, Steph Curry is aiming to return to play on March 1 when the Golden State Warriors host the Washington Wizards.

This game will be second of a four-game West coast swing, starting in Utah and hitting San Francisco, Sacramento and Portland before returning home.

Curry has been sidelined since Oct. 30 with a broken left hand. He had surgery on Nov. 1 and was ruled out at least three months.

If he does indeed return on March 1, he could play in 22 more regular season games this year. There were rumors that he would sit the entire season, but apparently Curry is focused on a return this spring, according to more from Thompson II. 

"I've been making progress," Curry said via NBC Sports Bay Area during the Warriors game vs Orlando on Saturday. "No setbacks which is definitely encouraging to get back to 100% as soon as possible."

The Wizards vs Warriors game will tipoff at 8:30 p.m. EST.