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    Phenom Lynch Finds the Right Gear

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    South Bend Tribune - Double-digit sacks Saturday?

    Why not?

    Listening to football logic imparted by Aaron Lynch, it makes perfect sense.

    The other day, the 6-foot-6, 274-pound Notre Dame freshman defensive end was reminded that Maine had seven sacks against Pittsburgh's offensive line.

    "Not to be down on Maine or anything, but Notre Dame's pass rush defense, with all the guys we have, is more dominant," Lynch said. "It makes us happy to know another team got seven.

    "It builds us up that we're going to get 10 or 12. That's how I look at it."

    All right, there we have it. Obviously, Pitt quarterback Tino Sunseri could fall under the endangered species category. Between now and Saturday, Panther brass may want to file for some sort of federal protection for him, if they can't get it for him from the guys on the offensive line.

    Of course, a comment like that will make Notre Dame coaches cringe. Even if it comes from a guy who has the tools to back it up. Bulletin board material.

    Lynch is learning on the field and in the interview room.

    After a cameo appearance against South Florida, and a relegation to obscurity against Michigan, Lynch had his coming-out party last week in the win over Michigan State. Five tackles were nice. But, the eye-popping numbers came with six quarterback hurries. His first collegiate sack resulted in a fumble.

    "He's only 274 pounds," Irish defensive line coach Mike Elston said of his prodigy. "Getting in there, mixing it up, two-gapping at times, he's overwhelmed at times. He made huge strides this past game, showing his ability to two-gap a bigger tackle than him, get off and make a play.

    "His pass rush is something that's a strength already because of his speed, quickness and athleticism. Consistency is one thing. He was way behind on technique. He caught up some this past weekend. He gets better with playing more, with his technique and building confidence.

    "Buying into what we're coaching hasn't been easy. It hasn't worked for him in practice, because he's not doing it right. He's back and forth on using the proper technique and not using it. In the game, he used it and it worked out well. He got confident with it. (This week in practice) his focus was stellar now, doing it the way we ask him to do it."

    Lynch, stubbornly, felt sheer talent would make him a success. Technique wasn't important. That misconception was casually pointed out when he didn't leave the bench in Ann Arbor.

    "(Coaches) told me I wasn't going to play until I do it right," Lynch said.

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