Notre Dame’s Matthias Farley feels more at home in second season at safety
BY LAMOND POPE Sun-Times Media April 10, 2013 10:21PM
Stanford v Notre Dame
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Last spring, Matthias Farley’s head was spinning as he tried to pick up playing safety.
This spring, Farley is one of the experienced leaders in Notre Dame’s secondary.
‘‘It’s been an adjustment, but there’s not really time to be like, ‘Oh, I have to adjust,’ ’’ Farley said last week. ‘‘It’s just jumping in and understanding that my role this year is not the same as last year. It’s more of a leadership role and doing whatever I can, whatever is asked of me, because I have the experience.’’
Farley started 11 games for the Irish and appeared in all 13 of their games last season. His coaches saw the progress Farley made last season, and it has continued this spring.
‘‘Last year, he played pretty solid football for us; pretty un-
expected for that to happen,’’ Notre Dame safeties coach Bob Elliott said. ‘‘The thing about Matthias is he made himself into a player. Every day he came in for extra film study. Every day he did extra things to get himself ready. And he just got better and better as the season wore on.
‘‘That continues today. He’s still coming in for extra work. He’s assumed a leadership role back there, which is what we
‘‘You can see his presence on the field, getting guys lined up and all that. I have great hopes for Matthias. He’s still going to be a sophomore and he’s still only one year [removed] from being a receiver, so he’s got work to do. I’m sure he’ll do it.’’
Farley spent the 2011 season at wide receiver but didn’t get into any games. He moved from
offense to defense last spring and struggled early.
‘‘He was 215 pounds in the spring [last year],’’ Elliott said. ‘‘He thought when we moved him to defense that he had to get really big, not so fast. So he really couldn’t do the movement things last spring, [and] he was just spinning mentally. He didn’t know what to do.’’
Farley cut back to around 200 pounds and got stronger and quicker last summer. He became a starter last season when Jamoris Slaughter tore his left Achilles tendon during the game at Michigan State and finished
tied for eighth on the team with 49 tackles. He also had one
‘‘The game slows down once you start becoming more comfortable,’’ Farley said. ‘‘That was the biggest thing for me, just being more comfortable in my role. At the end of the year, I was starting to get much more comfortable. Now, getting back out, you start over.’’
This spring, that includes a new role.
‘‘[Elliott] told me I have to step up and be in a leadership role, which is a huge adjustment from last year, when I was just getting through it in some instances,
especially through the spring,’’ Farley said. ‘‘Just be vocal, be loud and try to help where I can and still develop myself, as well.’’