Alohi Gilman [ @alohigilman ]: "If you hit them first, you won’t hurt as much as they will"
Photo by Rick Kimball/ISD
Notre Dame safety Alohi Gilman sat out last year while the Irish were in contention for the College Football Playoff, but the Hawaii native admits this year’s team is different and it starts with a cohesiveness within the team.
“We all understand we are holding each other to that standard,” stated Gilman. “We know what it takes, and it’s tough. We have great leadership from the seniors. They continue to push us each week to be hungry and to keep us hungry.”
The Irish will lean on its leadership on Saturday as starting quarterback Ian Book will miss Saturday’s Senior Day against Florida State.
Gilman knows the defense will need to step up and lock in despite the Seminoles entering the game with a 4-5 record.
“They are super talented,” Gilman said. “They have all the pieces and players who can run. They are fast and explosive. We definitely know that and understand it.”
Saturday’s game was circled on the calendar of many college football fans at the beginning of the year, but Florida State has taken its lumps over Willie Taggart’s first year in Tallahassee.
The 5-foot-10, 202-pounder admitted he was surprised the Seminoles have struggled, but it doesn’t change his mindset heading into the game.
“I didn’t expect it at the beginning of the season,” Gilman said of Florida State’s struggles. “At the same time, they are a team that’s capable of beating anyone. They can compete with any team in the country, so we have to recognize it and respect it. We have to stick to what we do here and continue to work that.”
Cold weather will inevitably impact Saturday’s game as the high will be 32 degrees.
“I’ve played in some cold weather my freshman year,” stated Gilman. “It’s nothing new for me. It’s another week of football, and we have to prepare the right way.”
While Florida State might not be used to the cold temperatures, Gilman has some simple advice for those who haven’t played in the cold.
“Suck it up,” Gilman said. “Hit something first. It’s football at the end of the day. If you hit them first, you won’t hurt as much as they will.”
Gilman will also have the chance to see some familiar faces this weekend as his younger brother, Alaka'i Gilman, will be in town for a recruiting visit.
“I haven’t had much to talk about with him about this weekend,” said Gilman. “He knows a little bit, and I’ve talked to him about just enjoying the experience and being able to have fun to take it all in. He needs to visualize himself playing in a college football game. He’s a player to capable of playing at this level.”