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Volk Fills Big Shoes at Notre Dame

September 12, 2000|ERIC SONDHEIMER

It's not easy replacing a prep All-American defensive tackle like Travis Johnson, who recorded 44 sacks during his three years at Notre Dame High.

So how come Notre Dame's coaches don't seem concerned?

Credit Johnson's replacement, Tim Volk, for making everyone feel comfortable. In his debut Friday against Lynwood, the 6-foot-3, 225-pound junior led Notre Dame with seven unassisted tackles, including five for losses.

"Travis was a dominant player," defensive coordinator Joe McNab said. "[Volk] is not as big, but he's a little more relentless. He plays full speed every play."

Volk, a transfer from Westlake, said never letting up is ingrained in his personality.

"That's what I do at everything," he said. "It's not worth doing unless you go 100%."

Johnson is a freshman at Florida State. He made his college debut Saturday against Georgia Tech, contributing four tackles in a 26-21 Seminole victory.

Volk, who also starts at offensive guard, couldn't be more pleased taking over for Johnson.

"It went great," he said.

*

Last season, Hart was called for 13 holding penalties in 14 games. But on Friday against Monroe, officials called five holding penalties against the Indians.

"If I see another yellow flag, I don't know what I'll do," offensive coordinator Dean Herrington said.

After reviewing game film, Herrington said only one holding penalty was legitimate.

*

Sophomore Scott Smiland of St. Francis might miss a field goal or conversion kick, but don't blame it on choking under pressure.

Smiland has repeatedly demonstrated he knows how to handle pressure. At the end of practice, the entire St. Francis team surrounds him. They scream, they yell, they wave, trying to break his concentration as he attempts to make his kick.

"It doesn't really bother me," he said. "I try to block it out."

Said Coach Jim Bonds: "We try to rattle him and he's not fazed."

It's ideal preparation for kicking during games. He made all five of his extra points last week against Arcadia.

"I think I'm more nervous speaking in front of a class than kicking," Smiland said.

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