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Pope: ND guard dominates ‘the Louis Nix way’

Notre Dame's Louis Nix watches midshipmen after Navy  game Oct. 29 2011.  (Post Tribune Photo/Joe Raymond)

Notre Dame's Louis Nix watches the midshipmen after Navy game Oct. 29, 2011. (Post Tribune Photo/Joe Raymond)

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Updated: May 14, 2013 6:16AM



South Bend — Louis Nix III referred to it as the “Louis Nix way.”

Only the 6-foot-3, 326-pound nose guard didn’t exactly know how to explain it.

Perhaps it’s “ferocious.”

That’s a word you want associated with one of your defensive stars.

And that’s the word both Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly and defensive lines coach Mike Elston used to describe Nix.

Nix says he isn’t the type to stand on the sideline and encourage a teammate by saying “let’s go team.” He’s more likely to scream “let’s beat their,” um, butt.

“Louis is his own personality in itself,” Kelly said last week. “He’s a fierce competitor, but we’re not going to ask him to give any Knute Rockne speeches, either before the game or during the game, and I think he knows that about himself. What you’re hearing from Louis is he’s trying to articulate himself as to the kind of player that he is.

“Here’s what I will tell you: He does his job, he comes to practice to get better, and he’s respected by his teammates because he’s a ferocious competitor. That’s what his teammates know about him.”

Maybe it’s “determined.”

That’s another word you want associated with an important piece to your defensive puzzle.

Nix is determined to keep the Irish at a contender level.

“Coming off that (butt) whooping from Alabama, we just want to get back on track and focus and make our way back to the national championship game,” Nix said last week. “Hopefully do a better job and put on a better performance for everybody to look at.”

And then there’s “perspective.”

That’s what Nix has when he looks back at the BCS title game.

“I think I did a pretty good job against the guys and I think we didn’t do as bad as everyone (thought). It was a big difference in the score and kind of like we got demolished, and we did, but there were a lot of good things there,” Nix said. “We showed a lot of people we made a lot of progressions from two or three years ago. We were losing to Tulsa, now we’re losing to Alabama in the national championship game. I see things coming along. Hopefully we keep pushing and making strides to get back to the national championship game.”

There’s no denying the “impact” Nix had on the Irish last season.

Nix finished seventh on the team with 50 tackles last year. He had 7½ tackles for loss and two sacks.

“Louis is impacting the game, he’s trying to impact every single play,” Elston said. “He’s forcing the offense to do things that they are not going to necessarily have to do against other teams because how he plays.

“… That’s a very important player that can change the game at any time. He changes the mindset of those offensive linemen across from him. They really have to pay attention to him.”

Elston offered up more high praise.

“I know being Louis Nix’s coach what I’m going to get from him on Saturday. He prepares himself in practice to get ready for Saturday,” Elston said. “I don’t know how long I’ve been a coach — 13 years, 14 years at Division I — he’s one of the most ferocious competitors. Watch the Alabama game. He was competing on every single play. He’s a competitive young man that is trying to win the game.”

And Elston expects that to continue this season.

“There are a lot of things that Lou has needed to improve on and he knows that. Just little things, footwork, handwork. He’s taken that to the next level in the spring,” Elston said. “Challenged him to be a leader other than just on Saturdays at times. Just to be more of a consistent leader, and he’s taken that in. Communication aspect, being a better communicator with his teammates and with his coaches. He’s done a better job with that.”

It all adds up to the “Louis Nix way.”

“I have to keep doing what I’ve been doing,” Nix said. “Doing with coach Kelly, coach Elston and (assistant head coach/defensive coordinator/linebackers coach) coach (Bob) Diaco tell me to do. Work in the weight room, work in the classroom. Just keep doing what I’m doing.”



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