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There’s always more to the story with Louis Nix

Apr 19, 2012, 11:58 AM EDT

Louis Nix, Kona Schwenke Ethan Johnson

@IrishChocolate9: Hopping on the Delta and might never come back. #FLBoy

For those lucky enough not to be versed in the language of social media, this could mean anything. (Perhaps a shipment of candy is heading down river on a barge?) But for the more than 5,000 followers of Irish defensive tackle Louis Nix on Twitter, that tweet sent out into the South Bend night before midnight Sunday had the rumor mill rolling and Irish fans in a panic. Just days after Aaron Lynch decided to head home instead of play for the Irish, it appeared Nix, one of the team’s most prolific presences on social media, was near a breaking point as well.

But Nix was on the field on for the Irish’s final two practices before Saturday’s Blue-Gold game, and met with the media for the first time since December, quelling any concerns about his departure from South Bend.

“You know, I just know that I need to be careful about what I tweet,” Nix said. “It makes the whole ND Nation and all 5,000 followers go crazy. I’m just going to be careful what I tweet next time.”

But Nix is a far more thoughtful 20-year-old than that, and his media session (a portion linked below, courtesy of UND.com) gives you a look at a kid that sometimes carries more on his shoulders than his own hefty frame.

“It’s a roller coaster for anybody,” Nix admitted of the emotions that come with being a student-athlete. “It’s part of college football. Sometimes you get sick of school. You just want to relax sometimes and just hang. Sometimes you just want to go home. That’s all it is.”

Going home is a different proposition for Nix, who hails from a part of Jacksonville that has seen more than its fair share of crime and heartbreak. The thousand miles between the pristine quarters of Notre Dame to Nix’s neighborhood in northern Florida can often feel like different worlds. And while the temptation of going home — Nix admits it’s crossed his mind more than once — is there, he might receive a mixed reception.

“Once I go home, they always tell me to stay in school. I’m the one that made it out,” Nix said. “Coming up where I came from, you’re either in or out, and I wanted to be out.

“I could have been anybody. I could have been the guy on the corner. I could have been dead, shot, anything. Not in school, working somewhere like at McDonald’s, no high school diploma. So I’m happy about it. I took advantage of what I had in front of me. I’m just going with it.”

What’s in front of him is a promising third year in the Irish football program. What’s behind him is a challenging spring after an impressive debut season. The Irish coaching staff has continued to challenge Nix to be a better practice player, and after being the assumptive starter, Nix saw his first team reps being given to fellow junior Kona Schwenke, who has been impressive during spring ball.

Still, it’s hard to see an Irish defense where Nix isn’t featured prominently in the middle. His hulking frame and impressive quickness helped Nix tally 45 stops for the Irish last season, the leader among defensive linemen. More impressively, Nix’s efficiency on defense, especially for a nose guard, was off the charts. Of the regulars in the Irish defensive mix, only Manti Te’o and Harrison Smith averaged more tackles per play that Nix.

With stats that’ll likely improve during his second season on the field, Nix will likely become a national player this season. But even as his on-field presence grows, Nix has the type of personality that’ll never allow him to be defined as just a football player. Whether its lip-synching to country music on YouTube or talking teammate Stephon Tuitt into eating a spoonful of salt, Nix can mix a wonderful sense of humor with a pensive nature that’s uncommon for a college kid.

It’s likely that thoughtfulness that kept Nix a bit philosophical when being questioned about his allegiance to the Irish football program. When asked point-blank if he was going anywhere, Nix honestly replied, “I’m here now. You see me.”

With some athletes, that could feel like an escape clause. For Nix, it feels good enough.

***

  1. dickasman - Apr 19, 2012 at 12:08 PM

    Whewwwwww….(puts the quadriple dosage of xanax back in the pillbox for a rainy day). As each day go by, I am getting better at dealing with Lynch loss and its stinging less and less. I like to see the Hawaiian Stallion Kona Schweinke(is he part jewish does anyone know?) step it up for us bigtime this year!

  2. brendanunderscoreg - Apr 19, 2012 at 12:23 PM

    Eric Hansen’s article on Nix scared me to be honest. I couldn’t tell if something in Nix’s personal life had changed or something within the program changed. Something feels different now. I’m not saying this as an indictment of Coach Kelly or the players or the administration. But something definitely feels different. Who knows? Maybe it’s just the grind of finishing out the semester and spring ball weighing on him.

  3. idratherbeinsouthbend - Apr 19, 2012 at 1:04 PM

    Just one more reason why i despise social media. There are so many nuances to communicating that simply don’t translate in typing your thoughts/words, body language, tone of voice, context…all are lost in social media communication.

    However, watching this interview you can clearly see that this kid is struggling. He’s homesick, or not enjoying his experience at ND. The good thing is, i think he believes (or knows) that this is what’s best for him.

  4. jimbasil - Apr 19, 2012 at 1:09 PM

    This is one of the worst interview sessions with an athlete at ND ever if not theeeeee worst. Puting it up on here is just plain ludicrous. Do you think you could have him talk about football next time – or just poke him with a stick next time. I’m sure the interview would be much better.

    You really are better than that Keith.

    Or maybe not.

    Jeeesh!

    • Keith Arnold - Apr 19, 2012 at 1:42 PM

      Jim — I wrote the story. I didn’t conduct the interview. I simply added it since I thought people would see that there’s more to Nix, a depth and sincerity to his answers, than how the quotes read.

      This was a typical media session at ND, where reporters try to ask questions for themselves and their stories, not as a one-on-one like you’d hear on sports radio.

      • jimbasil - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:10 PM

        That’s not an interview, it’s a reality show dig.

        I expect better; the same way you expect better from the posters here.

        Jeeesh!

    • domer77blowsgoats - Apr 19, 2012 at 1:43 PM

      Why would he not post the video?

      Is this not a blog about ND football? A prominent ND football player created a headline, Is Keith to just ignore it?

      There is more to these kids then just tackling the ball carrier – this shows the human element that we don’t get to see if we only tuned in on gamedays…

      Quick to criticize but you don’t offer what Keith should have done instead with this story – before hitting post comment next time how about a complete critcism supported by an arguement and a proposed alternative course of action…

      • jimbasil - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:12 PM

        Okay numnuts, I offer this

        DON’T POST THE INTERVIEW!

        Can I get any clearer?

      • nudeman - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:17 PM

        Goat on his soapbox again.
        Seems to think he’s the Sergeant At Arms here.

        YAW-W-W-NNN

        UAW will be making an appearance any minute now.

      • domer77blowsgoats - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:29 PM

        Not sure why you have to resort to name calling?

        did you take a page from the nudeman book of hypocracy?

        “I expect better; the same way you expect better from the posters here.”

        followed by…

        “Okay numnuts”

        Suggested alternative: delete your own comment

      • nudeman - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:31 PM

        Goat/UAW
        What is “hypocracy”?

        Did you mean “hypocrisy”?

      • domer77blowsgoats - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:47 PM

        Fantastic contributions nude!!! well done!!

        can’t seem to quite turn the corner huh?

        again – unsolicited, pointless, no-value comments…. and silly me had actually thought you might have evolved a smidgen…

      • nudeman - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:51 PM

        Thanks man
        I mean … Thanks dope

      • jimbasil - Apr 19, 2012 at 3:19 PM

        “Quick to criticize but you don’t offer what Keith should have done instead with this story – before hitting post comment next time how about a complete critcism supported by an arguement and a proposed alternative course of action…”

        Alternative course of action?

        Looks to me you needed a wake up call. I see I got your attention. – Look at what you wrote and you want a decent response from me. Maybe before hitting post next time you’ll have read the comment you’re knocking. But obviously, that was too much trouble.

        Again, I expect much better than forwarding that kind of BS and calling it “news worthy”.

        Is it getting clearer or do I need go on just for you and Keith?

      • fentocamarillo - Apr 19, 2012 at 4:18 PM

        Gentlemen…and that means domer, basil, and nude

        This may be the last time I refer to any of you as “gentlemen.” What gives with the verbal admonishments. “Numnuts…”…”Can I get any clearer…”…”…Dope…”….”is it getting any clearer…” You speak to each other as if you are a parent of a wayward child. And Basil, hopefully you are not in any position of responsibility. Talk that that to subordinates and you will likely be the target of friendly fire yourself.

        You have the rights to opinions, but frankly that is about all. You don’t like what Keith posts here, go do it yourself, do the research and put up with this constant barrage of garbage that spews forth from each of you like Athena from Zeus’s head. I am relatively new to this site and appreciate the comment section when it is noteworthy, constructive (not inclusive of grammatical corrections by a certain self proclaimed English professor) and supportive of Fighting Irish Football and more importantly the institution itself. You don’t like it, move on. Go support your favorite State school or better yet High School…not sure any of you have moved beyond adolescence at this point anyway.

        Keith, keep up the good work. And remember, censorship can be a good thing.

      • domer77blowsgoats - Apr 19, 2012 at 4:20 PM

        I read your entire post – thought it sucked – and called you out on how horrendous is was – and by the scientifically proven “thumbs up/down” response – the rest of ND Nation feels the same

        clear as mud

        Nude – i’ll chalk today up to a bad day but “dope” – really? that’s the best you have?

      • nudeman - Apr 19, 2012 at 5:07 PM

        Goat,
        Let’s call it a bad day and continue our armistice.

        fento
        Sorry sir, but I completely reject the idea that we have to “like what Keith posts”, and if not we should leave. I like about 90% of of his stuff, and about 90% of the give-and-take that goes on here. Even Goat is OK once in a while. 10% I disagree with and usually make my opinion known. I’m probably the least popular person here (next to dickasman), but I speak my mind.

        Point is, if we all need to be lemmings and nod our heads like dumbells regardless of the content, then … well, come on. There’s no reason to even log on. I think even Keith would agree with that. Name calling is counterproductive, but I blame Goat for that.

        But I’ll also say I don’t care a bit for your sanctimoniousness, my man. I really don’t.

      • domer77blowsgoats - Apr 19, 2012 at 5:40 PM

        by continue armistice do you mean:

        1. unprovoked name calling
        2. unprovoked negative comments
        3. playing chief editor

        if so then game on!

      • nudeman - Apr 19, 2012 at 5:47 PM

        Goat
        Sort of like North Korea/SouthKorea who have actually never signed a peace agreement to officially “end” the war. But they’ve agreed to stop lobbing cannisters of explosives back and forth over the border, and somehow that has managed to hold for 60+ years.

        We “try” to peacefully co-exist.
        But we both reserve the right to lob a cannister now and then, knowing no real punches are thrown.

        And UAW needs to go away

        Best I can offer

        You have 20 min to accept or take cover.
        19:59, 19:58, 19:57 ……..

      • dickasman - Apr 19, 2012 at 5:52 PM

        With all the weed story going around in college football? Maybe did you mean “hydroponic”?

      • Tim's Neighbor - Apr 20, 2012 at 12:28 AM

        Yeah, but I can still pee further than all of you!

    • clannahaw - Apr 19, 2012 at 4:01 PM

      censorship is the best way to report the news, right?

      The video is from und.com, aka the official site of Notre Dame athletics. If they are ok posting it, then why shouldn’t Keith link to it?

      • Keith Arnold - Apr 19, 2012 at 7:15 PM

        Goodness people. What gives? JimBasil, you’ve been around here a long time, so I’m actually surprised that this is happening. Don’t you ever look at the UND.com videos — the same videos I’ve been posting all spring? That you’d react like this is pretty confusing. Not sure what’s wrong, it’s a value add, it has nothing to do with what I wrote. They simply recorded a press session, the same way they always do. This wasn’t all of it, but it’s a good snippet and one I thought was worth passing along.

        Also — Guys, don’t waste 15 posts bickering at each other. Again, Nude — I’m not sure what’s going on, but I’m on Domer’s side of this one, once again. Leave spellcheck out of the posts here. I got his point, whether hypocrisy was spelled correctly or not.

        When I finished this post, I was actually happy with what I wrote and interested in your feedback. Now I read all of this garbage, and once again feel like it was a waste to come back here and interact.

  5. gtizzo - Apr 19, 2012 at 1:27 PM

    Nix is a great story Keith,

    He has 13 brothers and sisters! I don’t know how the Irish sideline can keep in together with Nix and his humor. Then you add former irish player Jonas Grey who was a stand up comic! The kid either ends up in the NFL or if he is so convincing maybe politics…no stick to football. Glad he is with ND we need him to be a beast up front this season.

    • dickasman - Apr 19, 2012 at 6:25 PM

      He could be like a modern day Chris Zorich……as long as he doesn’t defraud anyone.

  6. bearcatirishfan - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:21 PM

    You could have made the decision to not watch the interview. It’s not Keith’s job to tell you what decisions to make or what to think, he just provides the info you can choose what to read/watch.

    I think it goes to a constant BK mantra, personal accountability. Thanks Keith I liked the video it let’s ND nation see how much pressure they put on these kids, when they have enough to deal with already.

  7. poppajohn818 - Apr 19, 2012 at 2:25 PM

    An open letter to Mr. Nix
    As a 76 year old fan of ND & you, I hope you stay in school & play football for ND. I believe with this experience & education behind you in two years, you will be the best person you could be because of it. I was not an athlete but know your struggle for as a Korean Vet in 1959, married working a full time job earning my BS degree in three years followed by working with a growing family and still going for my MS in two more years I am the best I could be, coming from the Region in IN & a poor working family (the first to earn a degree in our family). I wish you all the luck and I will pray for you every Sunday until you walk that isle as a ND grad. I wish I could afford to travel to see you play, but I will have to be satisfied watching every game on TV. GO IRISH

    • dickasman - Apr 19, 2012 at 6:06 PM

      papajohn, love your pizza!

    • txirish2 - Apr 19, 2012 at 11:37 PM

      Good post. Thank you! Only 20 years old. Brendan, maybe the only thing that has changed is the level of detail on the microscope these kids are under. I don’t think you can find a college team in the country that doesn’t have some people struggling with various issues. Nix is just honest about it. Maybe it helps him, maybe not.

  8. oldestguard - Apr 19, 2012 at 3:20 PM

    Liked the interview…he is an interesting dude.

    Keep it coming Keith !

    Poppajohn – love your post !!

  9. bernhtp - Apr 19, 2012 at 6:19 PM

    Few people understand how difficult it is for many of these players like Louis. He’s far away from home, has pressure in the weight room, pressure in the dining hall with diet, pressure on the field, lots of pressure in the classroom surrounded by students with half a hundred IQ points on him, bad weather, limited free/fun time, etc. It is really, really hard and takes a lot of character for these kids to have the long view of life and make the necessary commitment to that end.

    • gracehall1980 - Apr 19, 2012 at 6:50 PM

      I agree completely with you about the pressure these kids have on them at ND. But I think your assumption that young Mr. Nix is giving up 50 IQ points to his class mates may be well off the mark. From Keith’s article it sounds like his schooling may not have prepared him for the challenges as well as the average ND’s student’s HS education did, but I heard nothing in that interview or anything that I’ve previously read to lay that kind of judgment on young Mr. Nix.

      • bernhtp - Apr 19, 2012 at 11:07 PM

        Admittedly, there was a little bit of hyperbole – just a bit – to make the simple point that Louis wouldn’t get anywhere close to a Notre Dame classroom without his prodigious athletic abilities. That’s not saying he is a dumb guy – I find him to be charming, witty and reasonably articulate – but still an astronomical distance from the academic/intellectual talent that he sits next to in class. It is a huge amount of pressure and I doubt it is much fun for him. My note said that he should be commended for the courage and heroic efforts.

  10. bernhtp - Apr 19, 2012 at 6:22 PM

    I’m the wrong person to ask about the TV schedule since I will be watching it live, but I’m pretty good with internet search.

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1151739-notre-dame-spring-game-2012-date-start-time-tv-info-and-more

  11. irishlion10 - Apr 19, 2012 at 7:45 PM

    LOL, this comment board is like watching a bunch of third grade girls having a cat fight. At first it’s entertaining, but then it’s just sad. I wish some of the above people would quite attacking eachother so often, and focus more on intelligent football discussion. You are crowding this space for those of us who would like to have good conversation, and making it nearly impossible to get motivated enough to comment when you have to scroll through 20+ posts of bickering little girls.

    Having said that, I don’t get the same bad vibes from Nix after saying that he’s staying as I did with Lynch. When Lynch returned to practice after his “personal time,” I felt the team wasn’t out of the woods yet. With Nix, I feel confident that he’s in it for the long haul.

  12. jerseyshorendfan1 - Apr 19, 2012 at 10:39 PM

    Keith, I liked the video clip. Nix seems like a real, genuine guy with a good character. I agree with bern above regarding the ridiculous amount of pressure these guys are under. They are at practice all afternoon, go eat dinner and then it’s time for homework. You may be tired but that paper is still due in your English class tomorrow at 10. Those other kids in your class may or may not have some IQ points on you, but either way, they haven’t exerted themselves the way you have today on the field. They may have the energy to pull the all nighter studying for that test tomorrow while you don’t. How many of them had 5 or 6 microphones pointed at their head today, hanging on their every word, and how many handled a media session with the poise he showed? No question that these players have a lot on their plate, certainly more than any of us ever had to handle in college and probably more than each of us handles in our present day to day circumstances. A free ride seems like an insufficient payback for these kids. We should be glad that they chose to play for Our Lady’s University and cut them some slack. They are, after all, kids transforming into young adults and as the Lynch situation showed us, sometimes the pressure (of being away from home and loved ones, school, football, spotlight, etc.) is just too much.

    Lastly, I agree that there are way too many cat fights on this board so why don’t all you chicks cool it for awhile.

    • yllibnosredna - Apr 20, 2012 at 9:16 PM

      Saying his girlfriend is “right by his side every day,” I am assuming that–unlike Lynch–his special lady is in South Bend (ND student). Or is that not the case? Is she back home in Fla? If she’s there on campus with him supporting him, obviously I’d say that bodes very well.

  13. txirish2 - Apr 19, 2012 at 11:47 PM

    Have to agree though, don’t like the interview questions. Give him a softball or two. i mean every question is premised with the idea that he’s struggling and everything is a challenge, and how is he going to handle it? The interviewer doesn’t even leave room for the option that Louis has parts of his life or experience at ND that he enjoys. And honestly half of it was just residue leftover from the Lynch affair. Poor show by the reporter.

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