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Durable Notre Dame RB Josh Adams not stopping anytime soon

September 26, 2017

Stop.

For Notre Dame junior running back Josh Adams, of all people, that might sound like an unnatural command.

It’s also an unlikely fashion statement.

Adams’ life, after all, revolves around constant motion. There’s always another step, another play, another game, another practice, another class, another meeting. The world keeps turning, and Adams keeps moving.

So what’s up with the wristband?

During a post-practice media session last week, Adams — who has already rushed for 499 yards, 7.7 yards per carry and two touchdowns through four games — donned a black band on his right wrist, which prominently featured four white capital letters:

STOP.

“You need to stop and take a step back and really realize the moments of life instead of getting caught up,” the 6-foot-2, 225-pound junior explained. “You need to count your blessings and realize you’re here for a reason. You’re here for a purpose.”

For Adams, the order is also an acronym, crafted by former Ohio State cornerback and current motivational speaker Donnie Evege.

See The Opportunities Present.

In other words, you can’t fully seize an opportunity until you realize that it’s there.

Adams has identified his opportunities.

And better believe he’s taking advantage.

“Whether it’s 18 or two carries,” Adams said, “I need to get going and contribute to the offense.”

Through nearly two and a half seasons in South Bend, that hasn’t been a problem. A Warrington, Pa., native, Adams is the first player in Notre Dame history to rush for more than 800 yards in each of his first two seasons. He also needed fewer carries (316) to reach 2,000 career rushing yards than any player in program history.

Through four games this season, he’s on pace to set personal bests for carries, rushing yards, yards per carry, catches and receiving yards.

That’s a testament not just to his skill, but his ability to sustain it.

“I’m in the cold tub almost every day after practice, just trying to get my legs back for the next day,” Adams said. “I’m getting treatment whenever I can in between classes, just coming in really quick. I’ll do maybe a little small workout to get my legs moving.”

Of course, there is one other way to sustain Adams’ burst through the dog days of a 13- (or maybe even 14) game season:

Balance.

After Adams’ felt stiffness in his right ankle during the first half of Notre Dame’s 38-18 victory last weekend, the Irish used three different running backs, methodically decimating Michigan State.

Adams — whose precautionary ankle X-ray came back negative and is expected to start on Saturday against Miami (Ohio) — rushed nine times for 56 yards, include a gashing 30-yard gain up the gut in the second quarter.

Junior running back Dexter Williams rushed eight times for 40 yards and a score, while also adding the first touchdown catch of his career.

Even sparsely used sophomore Deon McIntosh added 12 carries for 35 yards and a touchdown.

That’s a far cry from Notre Dame’s first three outings, in which Adams averaged 18.7 carries per game.

“Josh is our bell cow, if you will,” Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly said following the victory over Michigan State. “We’re going to continue to utilize his physicality at the position. We think Dexter is a great complementary back in terms of what he can do. You saw what Deon is capable of. He runs hard. He’s a tough kid with a burst.

“(Sophomore) Tony (Jones Jr.) wasn’t able to go (because of an ankle injury), but we’ll get him back, most likely next week. We think we’re very fortunate that we’ve got some depth at that position.”

That depth should ultimately benefit Adams, who has played in all 29 games of his Notre Dame career.

But if he needs to carry the load, he can. Adams’ durability has developed over time.

“I wasn’t big on treatment freshman year, but that’s something I grew and I learned as I progressed,” said Adams, who hasn’t missed significant time since tearing his ACL in his junior season at Central Bucks South High School in 2013.

“It’s important to get treatment. I think a lot of young players learn that as well when they start playing. Take care of your body, because it’ll take care of you. It’s something that I definitely do now.”

Like, literally now. The Irish running back promptly ended the interview and went to receive treatment on those long, potentially lucrative legs.

Adams certainly sees the opportunities present.

And on the field, at least, he’s not stopping anytime soon.

mvorel@ndinsider.com

574-235-6428

Twitter: @mikevorel