"Believe the hype with Manti Te'o," said BYU quarterback Riley Nelson. "He's as good as advertised. He's the heart and soul of that defense and makes it tick. He's smart, he route-reads very well. His reaction is very good. You can tell he's been a four-year starter and he's a guy that loves the game and is a student of the game. He's going to play it for a long time."
Meanwhile, Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said Te'o is much more than a talented player.
"What I do know is that unquestionably, as a leader, there has not been anyone in my 22 years that is a better leader both on and off the field and represent the kind of ideals that you want in college football than Manti Te'o and I don't even think that's close," Kelly said. "And I've had extraordinary young men that have played for me. So that, I know for sure, that as a leader and a representative of our program, unmatched."
Te'o makes it a priority to learn the name of every walk-on on Notre Dame's roster, explaining that he doesn't want anyone to feel left out or to eat alone.
Meanwhile on the field, Te'o wreaks havoc, affecting opposing teams' game plans.
"You have to know where he is. He triggers so fast. He's a smart football player," Doman said. "He's been doing it now for a while. He's well-coached and he's very athletic We'll have to utilize a few different schemes to give us a chance to be successful."
"We're going to have to account for him and I'm going to have to do a good job, every time I drop back, of knowing where he is," Nelson said.
Friel remembers in high school Te'o seemed to be all over the field, and he expects the same thing on Saturday.
"No matter where the ball was thrown or where it was run away from him, he was always chasing it down," Friel said. "That contributes to the amount of tackles he has now and the past couple of years. But he's just another player. We can't let that hype get into our heads."
Cougars and Fighting Irish on the air
BYU (4-3) at No. 5 Notre Dame (6-0) Saturday, 1:30 p.m. MT
Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend, Ind.
Radio: 1160 AM, 102.7 FM
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