More Story: Notre Dame players preview fall camp

IRISH STEW

Mike Vorel
South Bend Tribune

On Sunday, the Notre Dame chapter of Uplifting Athletes held a bowling event to raise money for osteosarcoma research, simultaneously allowing the players to spend time with some of their biggest fans.

The Tribune caught up with the Irish at the bowling alley and spent a little time discussing the event and previewing the upcoming season.

Follow the links to check out our stories on the event itself, Joe Schmidt's return to the field and Jerry Tillery's highly anticipated debut season.

Here are some valuable nuggets that didn't make it into the aforementioned stories.

Matthias Farley — graduate student — defensive back

On linebacker Joe Schmidt's return from injury:

“It’s awesome. Joe is one of my best friends. It hit me really hard when he got hurt, and it’s been a long road for him. This summer, seeing him out there in 7-on-7 and moving like he used to, it was really encouraging for everyone to see him back out there.”

On differences in the team heading into the 2015 season:

“Camp is exciting, but it’s also camp…and it’s the worst. It’s just a grind, but I think everybody is looking forward to it. We’ve had the biggest buy-in, just from guys this summer really taking everything seriously and really pushing themselves, pushing each other, being accountable. I think there’s definitely a different mindset going into camp this year as far as the entire team is concerned. Everyone has the same goal, same focus. No one is dreading it. Everyone is really excited about it. It’s going to be a lot of work, but that’s why we’re here.”

On the itch to start playing again:

“After the season, you’re so banged up and sore that part of you wants to not hit anybody for a while. But I don’t think it really goes away. We always joke around with the freshmen offense, ‘We’ve just been waiting six months to hit one of y’all.’ It’ll be a good time.”

Joe Schmidt — graduate student — linebacker

On looking forward to fall camp:

“You have no idea, man. I’m itching to get back on the field. Stuff like this (charity event), just being around the guys, is awesome. It’s great to feel back in the fold, but I can’t wait to get back on the field. I can’t wait to hit somebody. I’m just excited about this team. We’re all so close, so much talent, so many guys coming back. So I’m really excited about this year.”

On how his recover from a broken fibula has allowed him to appreciate the game:

“What football means to me…putting that into words is hard. First, it means relationships with these friends, with my brothers on the team. It means an opportunity to help people at the same time. I can do stuff like this (charity event) and we can raise a ton of money as a team and awareness for a worthy cause. It means personal development, and it’s fun. You’re building skills that will last you a lifetime — discipline, hard work, all those kind of things. But it’s like a day at the park for me. I couldn’t be more excited to play football. I couldn’t be more excited to put the helmet on. It’s a blast. I really can’t say it any other way.”

Jarrett Grace — graduate student — linebacker

On managing the team's high expectations:

“On paper, a lot of teams look good every year. But it doesn’t really matter until you start playing. That’s our mindset. You can have all these guys who have done all these different things, but it doesn’t matter until you actually play. That’s our mindset. We just want to suit up versus Texas and show what we’ve got then.”

Notre Dame’s Matthias Farley celebrates a big stop during the Notre Dame-Syracuse game on Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014, at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. SBT Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN