Chicago Sun-Times
with Mark Lazerus

Salvi helping any way he can

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It was Chris Savi's block that sprung George Atkinson III for an 89-yard kickoff return in Saturday's 31-13 win over Michigan State at Notre Dame Stadium.

The Carmel High School product hit one Spartan, who fell into another, allowing the walk-on safety to take two players out with one block.

"I kind of missed my block on the first one," Salvi said. "When I came to the sideline, coach [Mike Elston] said, 'Make sure you get him out of there, don't let him get in the chute.'

"That's what we call where the returner needs to run.

"I said, 'OK. I think I can do that.' I saw an opening. The guy wasn't really paying attention, I took him out and he went into the other guy."

Salvi grew up attending Notre Dame games with his father, a graduate of the University's law school. He attended Butler one year before transferring to Notre Dame.

The 5-foot-10, 190-pounder's welcome-to-the-big-time moment came when he got run over by bruising running back Robert Hughes last season.

He played in his first game in last season's 23-17 win over Pittsburgh. After impressing coach Brian Kelly in training camp, he's on both the kickoff and kickoff return teams this year.

"The initial goal was to contribute on special teams. I have," he said. "Whatever takes me to the next thing. I'm willing to help out in any way."

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said he loves Salvi's spirit and energy.

"Salvi is kind of the guy that everybody looks to when it comes to that walk-on that really exhibits that kind of determination that walk-ons would have," Kelly said. "He's a pretty special player in our program."

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This page contains a single entry by Neil Hayes published on September 21, 2011 2:04 PM.

So many freshmen strength, not weakness was the previous entry in this blog.

Shembo should be ready for Pitt is the next entry in this blog.

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