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Notre Dame Football: Shaun Crawford is a Playmaker

Kelly’s Sunday press conference hit on the rising defensive back and more.

Notre Dame v Boston College Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images

Shaun Crawford Shows Out

In a very inconsistent game for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish defense, Shaun Crawford played impressively against the Boston College Eagles. The Irish caused three turnovers - two interceptions and a fumble - and Crawford had a hand in all three, literally. The junior corner came up with both interceptions AND recovered the fumble. Needless to say, #20 had himself quite the day.

NCAA Football: Notre Dame at Boston College
Shaun Crawford battles Kobay White for his first of two interceptions against Boston College.
Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Brian Kelly was asked about the junior’s performance in his Sunday press conference, and the Fighting Irish coach couldn’t help but glow about Crawford’s game. Kelly lauded the corner’s “football sense and instinct” and followed that up with “he’s been a playmaker.” Furthering the complimentary remarks about Crawford, Kelly added, “I go back to he is always around the ball. He's very alert. He's got a sense of the game, and it puts him always in good position.”

Shaun Crawford’s time on the field has come sparingly ever since he committed to the Irish as part of the 2015 recruiting class. He was slated to see the field as a freshman, but tore his ACL before that could ever come to fruition. As a sophomore, he got playing time against Texas - which would result in both an interception and a blocked field goal that he would take to the house - and against Nevada before tearing his Achilles tendon midway through the game against the Wolfpack.

However, Crawford has come back strong from both injuries. In the little time he has seen the field for Notre Dame, he has done nothing but make plays for an Irish defense that has often times desperately needed them. It’s the will to overcome that has exemplified his game, and that mentality is invaluable to a defense, if not an entire team.

At this point, you can’t help but cheer for Crawford. He’s a fighter and a playmaker. Let’s hope he can keep bringing the type of play we saw on Saturday each and every weekend.

Other Notes from the Presser:

  • Other than Tony Jones Jr.’s sprained ankle, the Irish left Boston College in tact. Notre Dame has mostly avoided that dreaded injury bug thus far.
  • The Irish will face a different Michigan State offense than they usually do. The Spartans always have a solid ground game, but this year it is led by a mobile quarterback in Brian Lewerke. Kelly called him “extremely agile, athletic, and somebody that you have to defend.”
  • When asked about the perfect redzone performances against Boston College and Temple, Kelly gave credit to a commitment to being “run-first” in those situations.
  • Brian Kelly acknowledged the inefficiencies in the passing game. In addition to saying that coaching has to improve, Kelly added, “We've got to catch better, and we've got to be more accurate.” (how insightful)
  • Freddy Canteen will have surgery on a torn labrum. Subsequently, Chase Claypool is now taking over at the position of X receiver.
  • Brian Kelly attributed Wimbush’s accuracy concerns to being a bit slow in his processing of what he’s seeing. He pointed to Wimbush’s 33 yard connection with Durham Smythe as an example of the quarterback processing at the right speed and running the play smoothly.
  • Kelly touched on cleaning up the fundamentals of the defense ahead of the Michigan State game. He said “we were a little bit loose in some of the fundamentals on Saturday.”
  • The plan for receiver Javon McKinley is to use 2017 as a redshirt year.
  • Credit for forcing three turnovers against Boston College went to Mike Elko’s demand of his defense. According to Kelly, the defense is constantly working on taking the ball away in practice.
  • Going hand in hand with all three turnovers were 21 of Notre Dame’s 49 points. In regards to that turnaround, Kelly pointed to a changed mindset for the Irish. “That's incredible growth for this football team. It's the mindset that we've been trying to grow here, and we saw it come to fruition yesterday.”