The No. 1 Notre Dame Fighting Irish and No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide will face off in the BCS Championship Game on Monday, Jan. 7, and Manti Te'o knows the nation's top defensive unit will need to play well. However, that doesn't mean he's going to approach this game -- the biggest of his collegiate career -- any differently than the others on Notre Dame's schedule.
Te'o recently sat down with defensive coordinator Bob Diaco to discuss the upcoming game with reporters, and both men provided fairly straight-laced answers when discussing the task at hand. Te'o had this to say about his approach to the game:
"For me, I've always been a believer that regardless of the situation, the field is still 120 yards long, the football is still the same shape, and everyone still straps on their chinstrap the same way. We understand that this is a big game, but at the end of the day it's still football. I think if we start to do things differently than we've done all season, that's we start to get in trouble."
Te'o also noted that the coaching staff has been great at reminding every player to approach things the same way they did for the first 12 games of the season. In 2012, Te'o was a unanimous selection to the All-American team, and he became the first player in college football history to sweep the following seven awards (per Notre Dame Athetics): the Lott Trophy, Nagurski Trophy, Butkus Award, Lombardi Award, Bednarik Award, Maxwell Award and Walter Camp Player of the Year.
NFL scouts and draft experts will have their eyes on Te'o during the championship game, as he's listed in the top-10 on the ESPN Big Boards of Mel Kiper and Todd McShay.
Here are some excerpts from that interview, via CSN-Chicago:
Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. CT in Miami, and the game will be televised nationally on ESPN.