Pluck of the Irish?


POSTED: Sunday, December 21, 2008

There was a little extra purpose in Notre Dame's first practice in Honolulu yesterday.






        Who: Notre Dame (6-6) at Hawaii (7-6)


When: 3 p.m. Wednesday TV: ESPN


Line: Notre Dame by 1 1/2



As the Fighting Irish laid some groundwork for the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl on Christmas Eve, their Aloha Stadium walkthrough doubled as a sort of audition for the top prep linebacker in the nation.

Punahou's Manti Te'o, who was recently dubbed The Sporting News high school athlete of the year, has Notre Dame on his final list of five schools, which includes USC and UCLA. He took in the 2-hour practice from the stadium stands.

“;Great atmosphere, great intensity,”; said Te'o, who already took a recruiting visit to South Bend, Ind. “;I just came here to watch and witness how a college practice goes. I just really enjoyed myself here.

“;Today was a walkthrough kind of, so they didn't really go full speed. But what was really different was the efficiency and how well they use their time. There's no downtime.”;

He politely declined to say whether the practice swayed his decision-making process.

The Irish arrived at 1 a.m. yesterday after their flight out of South Bend was delayed, but they kept their schedule. Notre Dame has a closed practice again today at the stadium.