Eclectic Notre Dame RB Josh Adams shakes off headaches, keeps perspective

Mike Vorel
South Bend Tribune

Josh Adams has been giving opposing defenses headaches all season.

Maybe that makes this fitting.

Notre Dame’s standout running back and Heisman Trophy candidate was limited to just five carries for 22 yards in last weekend’s 48-37 win over Wake Forest because of a combination of minor headaches and general fatigue, the junior captain said on Wednesday.

“The headaches cleared up going into halftime,” Adams said. “I think at that moment we were already up by a fair margin. So I guess they just thought it was safer just to play it safe rather than (for me to) continue to play football.

“It was a rough week for me as far as (class) papers and getting enough sleep and really taking care of my body. So I think a lot of that had an impact on the game as well. But it was a great learning moment for me moving forward, learning how to correctly take care of myself and getting enough sleep and continuing to do the things that got me here like going to treatment, taking care of my body, stuff like that.”

Adams confirmed on Wednesday that he’ll be available when No. 3 Notre Dame (8-1) meets No. 7 Miami (8-0) in Miami Gardens, Fla., on Saturday night. To escape with their most impressive road win of the season, the Irish will need to feature their 6-foot-2, 225-pound junior, who has rushed for 1,191 yards, 8.7 yards per carry and nine touchdowns — all while sitting out nearly 12 full quarters.

In fact, Adams’ seven touchdown runs of at least 60 yards this season are more than any other player nationally. He broke a touchdown run of at least 70 yards in four consecutive games, a feat that hasn’t been matched in the FBS since at least 1996.

The Warrington, Pa., native is on pace to set school records for rushing yards in a season (1,437) and yards per carry in a season (8.1).

Not that he’d ever tell you.

“He's just a guy that comes to work for our football team each and every day, does the work as hard as he can without saying a word about it to anybody,” said graduate student left tackle Mike McGlinchey. “He knows he's the best, and we think he's the best in the country. And that doesn't change his approach to the game, and I think that speaks a lot to his character.

“He's just a great leader, and you just can't really say enough good things about who Josh Adams, the person, is, because he's just out of this world.”

Josh Adams, the person, for example, would rather watch old episodes of SpongeBob SquarePants than college football. Josh Adams, the person, sacrificed sleep last week to write a detailed paper in Spanish.

Josh Adams, the person, is also a practicing poet — and not just on the field.

“I'm in a poetry class. It's an experience,” Adams said on Wednesday. “I enjoy writing poetry. I do. It's a little harder when you have to read other poets' work and try and analyze it. That's a little more difficult.

“But I think it all goes together with me trying to write my own poetry. It helps to watch other authors do it, other artists and how they approach their work.”

Adams is more than his numbers, more than his touchdowns, more than “33 Trucking” and all it entails. McGlinchey learned that when he and Adams shared a car ride for the 11-hour drive from South Bend to Warrington, Pa., where they live roughly a mile and a half apart.

“My sophomore year, (offensive line coach and Pennsylvania area recruiter Harry) Hiestand asked me, ‘Do you know this kid named Josh Adams? He's from Central Bucks South High School,’ ” McGlinchey recalled.

“I said no, but I feel like I should because that's my local public high school, and if somebody out of the area is getting recruited, you normally hear about them.

“But Josh was such an under-the-radar kind of guy. He was hurt (with a torn ACL his junior season) in high school. The more I dug about it, the more people I asked about him at home were like, ‘Yeah, this kid is the real deal.’ ”

Even then, Adams caused opposing defenses headaches. And even then, he didn’t talk about it.

But if you’d like to chat about SpongeBob, well, that’s another story.

“You're never too old to laugh at a kids show, you know what I mean?” Adams said. “Just sit back and relax and watch SpongeBob and Patrick do some goofy stuff.

“I like to relax before the game, just kind of get my emotions down and just mellow out. We play enough football. We know enough about football to where we can just get away for a second, just take a step back and enjoy life. So that's just me being me.”

mvorel@ndinsider.com

574-235-6428

Twitter: @mikevorel

Notre Dame junior Josh Adams (33) was limited to five carries in ND's 48-37 win over Wake Forest, Saturday at Notre Dame Stadium. (Tribune Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN)