Notre Dame's Tyler Eifert on BCS: We've done all we could

There’s little time to reflect for a championship contender. Every week is about the opponent, film sessions, a head coach telling you to avoid the nonsense.

But when tight end Tyler Eifert took a minute this week to consider how far Notre Dame has come, he got pretty stoked.

He remembered the long Thursday practices of going against the ones in two-minute drills that are "full steam."

Learning from all the close losses in 2011.

Each player actively seeking winning plays instead of waiting for someone else to make them.

Playing with a team identity -- which many teams don’t have -- and winning with a defense that gives up yards but not touchdowns, with field position and with a stout running game.

This was a small dose of satisfaction in a potentially painful time of year. Notre Dame could win out and still be resigned to a living room couch on national championship night. And many, including Notre Dame fans, aren't much outraged about it. There's an argument Notre Dame in the title game would create a ratings/interest explosion.

Eifert isn't outraged by his team's third-place standing but instead revels in the Irish's body of work entering Saturday's home game with Wake Forest.

“We’ve realized it’s getting close to being over. We’ve put ourselves in as good a position as we could,” Eifert said. “You win all your games and play the competition that you have, that’d be disappointing. We’ve played some of the best competition out there. But knowing it’s out of your control, nothing you can do about it. You just have to move on.”

Worry about us. That's the message Irish players share. It's hard to argue with the results, even as it's easy to wonder when or if Notre Dame will eventually fall.

Have you seen that passing offense? Yeah, it ranks 91st nationally. Barely adequate on most days. Everett Golson, an uber-athletic sophomore, can make three breathtaking plays and three head-scratching plays within two hours. You might hear coach Brian Kelly after most games say something like, his offense "did enough to get by."

Notre Dame is calculated on offense in part because Kelly, who calls the plays, can't risk turnovers with a young quarterback. The running game prevails in South Bend, at least for now. Unless it's Eifert on a lob or a little bit of Tyus Jones.

Considering the potential here, Notre Dame's offense could still be dangerous in a title game. The Irish played five of the nation's top 25 scoring defenses through the first eight games. Surely they've learned from those games.

Eifert, considered a first-round talent, admits it'd be nice to be in a pass-happy offense. But he sees greatness in Golson.

"When he’s at his best, he’s as good as anybody," Eifert said. "He’s still understanding defenses and what we want to do."

Golson has a good bailout option in Eifert, whose draft stock has risen despite less catches than a year ago.

Eifert appreciates every catch more than three years removed from spinal fusion surgery in October 2009 that left him glued to a bed for weeks. He has 124 catches and eight touchdowns since then -- he came back stronger.

Notre Dame success stories like this are all around. You might hear about them before their big game in the Rose Bowl, 2,720 miles from the national title game.

"Just to see where I’ve come from, hardly getting a scholarship offer, finally getting a scholarship, just hoping to get my degree and help the team any way I could, it’s been a blessing," Eifert said.

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