NOTRE DAME — A few rounds of golf brought Bill Belichick to South Bend to talk football.
The New England Patriots coach first crossed paths with Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly at a Pebble Beach golf tournament, which eventually led to Belichick agreeing to speak at Notre Dame’s coaches’ clinic this weekend.
“We spent a lot of time together at Pebble Beach,” Belichick said. “Of course he was the winner of that one. We played together for three days and when you’re out there hitting as many shots as we did, we had some extra time to hang out and just get caught up about a lot of things, certainly football, and some things we have in common, our families and so forth. We were hitting out of a lot of the same bunkers.”
Belichick said he’s had a chance to watch some Notre Dame game film lately, calling the Irish “schooled, disciplined, really good defense in every area.”
As hundreds of former collegiate players prepare to join the Patriots and the 31 other NFL teams during the NFL Draft on April 25, Belichick has first-hand knowledge of what to expect from Notre Dame grads at the next level.
“They’re all smart,” Belichick said. “They’re tough. If you get through four years here ... It takes a lot from a kid, a lot of discipline. They’re smart, well-versed. They have more than football in their life.
“They’ve certainly played on the big stage, with a lot of pressure — big TV games, sell-out crowds. The expectations of Notre Dame football are extremely high. So I think when they go to the next level, it’s not something they’re in awe of because they’ve experienced it here.”