September 29, 2006

Laws exudes lust for life

Trevor Laws does well in the close quarters of a defensive line. He also thrives in the middle of nowhere.

That duplicity represents a surprising mix of talent and personality in Notre Dame's senior defensive tackle, who's fresh off the strongest back-to-back performances of his college career.

Laws grabbed a combined 17 tackles against Michigan and Michigan State, more than half his season total from last fall. He's tied for the team lead in sacks with a pair thanks to his leaner physique and meaner preparation. Laws trimmed nearly 20 pounds from last year's frame and ramped up his film study, spending more time with the opponent DVDs produced by the coaching staff each week.

Those changes let Laws thrive in the trenches as much as he does away from the defensive line. The son of a "flower child" in mother Yevetta, Laws has been called a hippie by teammates, although no one seemed eager to reveal much about the defensive tackle's lifestyle off the field.

"I could tell that he was a little bit crazy, kind of wild, but he's a great wild," said tight end John Carlson, who first met Laws during a recruiting visit four years ago. "He just has this look about him and I'll leave it at that.

"He's the same crazy guy that I met four years ago."

Jeff Samardzija and Tom Zbikowski get all the press as Notre Dame's off-field eccentrics, but Laws is right there with the dual-sport athletes in lust for life. After the Fiesta Bowl all three and Casey Cullen traveled to rural Texas to hunt and shoot skeet on property owned by Cullen's family.

The only animals taken down were clay pigeons.

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