MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – Notre Dame safety Jamoris Slaughter sat high in the stands at Sun Life Stadium during Saturdays BCS championship media day.
It was an apt spot for the fifth-year senior who was taken away from his teammates when he ruptured the Achilles tendon in his left foot in Notre Dames 20-3 win at Michigan State on Sept. 15.
The injury kept him from helping the No. 1 Irish (12-0) complete their first undefeated season since 1988 and earn a spot in Mondays BCS championship game against No. 2 Alabama (12-1).
But there is a chance Slaughter could be back next season. The 6-foot, 200-pounder said the university has submitted paperwork to try to get him a sixth year of eligibility, and he expects a ruling from the NCAA to come down about two weeks after the championship game.
If I did get the sixth year, it would really give me time to focus on that, said Slaughter, who is three months removed from surgery and about two months away from being able to work out without limitations.
I wouldnt feel rushed to get to the NFL, but if I didnt, its a different story. You have to try to make a team.
Even though Alabama is trying to win a third title in four years, coach Nick Saban will not let his team think about the program becoming a dynasty.
Saban said after the Crimson Tide beat LSU in last years national championship, he warned his players how much tougher this year would be because they would be targets.
He also did not allow them to think of themselves as national champions or on the verge of creating a dynasty.
I think those are external factors I call them. Thats clutter, that when you start thinking about those things, its very difficult to focus on the things that you need to do to be successful right now, Saban said.
Linebacker Manti Teo said Alabama is the perfect opponent for Notre Dame to try to win its first title against in more than two decades because of every thing the Tide has accomplished recently.
I think when you go against a team like Alabama, we understand that theyre the king of the hill, Teo said.
Theyve been there, theyve done that, they obviously have been so dominant the past couple years and this season, as well. So we understand who were going up against.
What better way to finish this year but to play in the biggest game in college football and to be going against the best team in college football, and thats Alabama.