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HARD MAN, SOFT HEART
Douglas S. Looney
October 01, 1990
Notre Dame's Chris Zorich is mean on the football field, but he is a gentle soul elsewhere
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October 01, 1990

Hard Man, Soft Heart

Notre Dame's Chris Zorich is mean on the football field, but he is a gentle soul elsewhere

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Meanwhile, Zorich will continue to play his out-of-control style of football this fall, impressing all who cross his path—or attempt to. Not just playing football, but playing it well, is Zorich's obsession. He learned this from his mother too. For five summers he was a janitor at Tabor Lutheran Church, and, he says, "My mom taught me to do the best I can possibly do at everything I do. If I looked at the church floor and I had not mopped it well, I'd do it again."

No wonder he feels that he still has miles to go in football. "My best game?" he says. "I haven't had it yet. I won't be through with this game until I make every tackle in a game."

It makes no difference to Zorich that his primary role as a noseguard is to keep the offensive linemen off his linebackers, so that they can make the tackles. Last season he had 92 tackles, third highest among the Irish. And his lateral movement, once suspect, has improved dramatically, as has his quickness. Still, the pros fret because he's only 6'1", which is considered too short for a noseguard.

Zora professes to have no idea how her son became so splendid, on and off the field. "I'm astounded," she says. She shouldn't be. If anyone needs proof that love can conquer all, let him come to 81st and Burnham. Chris heads toward the front door, calling over his shoulder, "I love you, Ma." And a voice from the kitchen answers, "I love you."

Then he steps out into the world again, as yet another round of gunfire peals in the distance.

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