Sept. 12, 2000
BOB DAVIE: I was thinking driving over, you know, the amazing thing about college football is just how the last game changes so drastically one week from the next. And certainly, for us it has changed in a week.
You think back a week ago, you know you’re getting ready for Nebraska, which is obviously a form of wishbone, as multiple of an option offense as there is in the country — you’ve got Arnaz Battle as your quarterback. You feel pretty good because of his first game experience was pretty solid.
You come back this week. Now you’re getting ready for Purdue who is probably the exact opposite of Nebraska, and it’s another opportunity or another situation where you have a quarterback going out there for the first time. So I guess it is just another normal week in Notre Dame football.
But I think that’s, you know, not trying to put any spin on it. I think that’s what you enjoy about college football, though and I mean that sincerely. It’s the challenge of, first of all, as a coaching staff the preparation that goes into it on a different basis from week to week. And certainly it tests you, going from a Nebraska to a Purdue. I think that is obvious.
Also, taking the hand that you’re dealt and trying to find a way to make the best of that situation, and then — you know, I’m really impressed with our football team. I certainly understand the challenge that we have. I mean, Purdue comes in here, first of all, they are the 12th- or 13th-ranked team in the country, depending on what poll you look at. They come in with the potential Heisman Trophy winner at quarterback. They are the No. 1 college team in football right now on total offense. They have an opportunity, I would, think to red letter in this game. Nothing against Central Michigan or Penn State, but I think this was a primary focus of theirs in the summer, which it would have been for ours in the same situation.
I obviously see the challenges in this, but I really like our football team. I think our football team has shown me an awful lot of character over the first two weeks of the season, something that I thought was there through the off-season, but you never know for sure until you play a football game.
You know, without trying to be too philosophical about it, I like the challenge of this, because I like our football team. And that’s all it ever comes down to. You know, there are so many outside situations, so many scenarios. You know, everybody has time to think scenarios through and all those things, but what it comes down to as a football coach is just what you feel about your team and what you feel about your preparation. From that standpoint I am really encouraged. I like our football team and I like the challenge we have. But I also understand the difficulty of it.
I think looking at it for us offensively going into this game, kind of as I hit on, the concerns would be it’s a first-time experience again. You’re going out there, you think of Jarious Jackson, after being in the program three years, his first game against Michigan. You wonder in the first half if he’s completely (inaudible). You think about Arnaz going out after two years in the program. His third year in the program was Jarious’s fourth year. Arnaz’s third year in the program and he goes out against A&M. You’re out there in pregame warm-up and you’re saying, “Wow, maybe we’d better get in the wishbone, I’m not sure we can complete a pass.” But you see, both those players have evolved.
Here we are now in the third week of the season going out with a guy who is in his second week in the program, who when he first game in was a tight end. So you can see that, you know, there’s some concern because of the unexpected, and I think that is natural.
The second thing offensively that’s a concern is Arnaz created so much offense on his own. You think back to the A&M game, the linebacker comes one time completely clean, smacks him on the blind side, he breaks tackle, spins outs of there. Another time a corner comes, hits him right flush in the back again, makes the play. You go to the Nebraska game, 1st and 20, he scrambles for 43 yards out of the empty formation. The A&M game, he throws a long pass to Javin. He was able to create plays within your offense, and our offense is built on that. We do some different things, we get the ball in the corner.
So, you know, so not knowing what Gary is going to do, how Gary is going to react. Taking away the creativity that Arnaz had or the ability to make plays is certainly a concern as you go in.
But on the flip side, I think we’re a better football team. I think our offensive line — you know, if this would have happened to us last year, wow, I don’t know that we were capable of raising our level of play that much with the surrounding cast with the inexperience it had. But now, a year later, we don’t have any excuses because the surrounding cast is stronger. And I think the surrounding cast is better.
So, you know, it’s a big challenge. There’s some things that you don’t know, but you feel good about it because you like your team and you like the way your team has evolved.
Defensively, obviously, you see what the challenge is. You lose Grant Irons, who is — you know, somewhat, that has been overshadowed because of Arnaz. If the Arnaz situation wouldn’t have happened, it would be huge right now, talking about Grant Irons. For our football team, it is huge. So that’s a challenge.
But you look at Purdue’s offense. They are explosive. The quarterback is a great player. Legitimately a great player. He’s accurate. He creates things. He runs the boot and runs the nakeds and things. He’s an athlete back there. You look at the plays last year when he goes in and scores on us, goes over the top. You look at the plays he made in the first two games. He does some things back there that he creates.
So with our defense, it’s a big challenge. They have got a lot of receivers. No. 14 is a heck of a player. They have a freshman, No. 82, I really like. He’s a good player. The tight end is a solid player. They have the got big offensive lineback that I’m really impressed with now that I saw him in those Speedos. I was nervous about him before, but now I’m really impressed. I know our football team is. They certainly had a chance to see that. They are an impressive offensive football team and they are a big challenge.
And their kicking game, they have got the big, tall kicker who is also their place kicker. We’d like to think we are a good kickoff return team. I think we have a chance to be a great one. He’s kicked off, I think, ten or 12 times. There’s only been two I think that’s had a chance to be returned.
So it’s a big challenge for us, but I like our team. I like our team. We’ve got to get some guys healthy this week, but I think Brock is going to be okay. Javin Hunter will be okay by the time we play the game. Lance Legree, you’re in the going to keep him out of the lineup.
So we’re a little bit beat up. That’s how the chips fall. You know, it is interesting, I think in just how scheduling goes, that you look at Nebraska, for instance, who is open this week, that’s pretty good concept right there. You look at Purdue that’s had Central Michigan and Penn State, pretty good concept. I think you look at A&M that comes back and plays Wyoming after our game and wins 51-3. It’s interesting, but that’s how it is and that’s what it is, and I think this football team can handle this challenge.
So, that’s where we are right now. As far as Purdue, defensively, I think they deserve more credit on defense sometimes than they are given. I think they play with that offensive scheme down there that is so productive and gets so much attention. They have evolved into a good defensive football team. They play hard. They are physical. They are giving up five points a game right now. So they come in, I think, averaging 48 points a game and giving up five. So they are a good football team.
You know, the injury situation, I think everyone knows Arnaz is having surgery this afternoon. Grant will have surgery here in probably 7 to 10 days when the swelling goes down. Everyone else that played last week I think will play in this game.
Q. What exactly do you think you can do offensively with Gary? What are the limitations? I presume it takes away most of the option, but what are your plans, without giving away any secrets?
BOB DAVIE: Well, everyone is — I’m sure the questions is going to come: What percentage of your offense is in. It would be the same percentage we had last week for the A&M game — or for the Nebraska game from a percentage standpoint. Now, there may be a little more of a certain kind of thing, because obviously he is a little bit different than Arnaz. But it’s not going to be limited. You know, Gary Godsey has been in the program for a year. He’s smart. He’s been around football a lot. His whole family has played football, one brother I think played at Air Force. His second brother is a starting quarterback at Tech. He is a good quarterback and he understands the system.
So it’s going to be whatever percentage we need for this game. It will not be limited in any way because it is Gary Godsey. Just we’ll do some different things. It’s obvious we’re not going to do as much option with Gary in the game, if any option, with Gary Godsey in the game. I’m not giving away any secret there. But we’re going to throw the ball maybe in some situations a little bit better. If he settles down in the game and plays the way he’s capable playing — that’s always a concern in the first game as I mentioned before with a quarterback. But if he gets into a rhythm and gets comfortable, I’m totally comfortable with him.
Q. Last week in overtime when Arnaz scrambled to the eight-yard line and there was a penalty, a defensive penalty, defensive hold, was that a miss-call? Wasn’t that supposed to be tacked on to the end of the run?
BOB DAVIE: I don’t think so, no. You have the option of taking the penalty or taking the run. It’s not tacked on to that.
Q. I heard differently from some officials.
BOB DAVIE: I’ll go back and check that, but I don’t understand it to be that way. In other words, you still have the option of taking the result of the play or taking the penalty, you don’t get both. You don’t get the advantage of running the play to get the result and also getting the penalty. I’ll check on that. I understand it to be one or the other, not the benefit of getting both.
Q. Do you put a little bit more of the burden on the offensive line here to go more towards a power-oriented straight ahead right on the back of the offensive line attack?
BOB DAVIE: I think you do, to a degree, certainly. You plan on all scenarios. If you get in a football game and Gary struggles, you’re going to have to line up and run the ball. And without option football, as much as a possibility, I think you’re going to have to do that. That doesn’t mean you line up maybe just with two backs on the backfield and try to ram it down their throat. There’s different things we can do running the football.
But it’s accurate to say we have to count on that offensive line and we have to count on the running backs to control the game for us, yeah.
Q. You said you don’t want Gary looking over his shoulder, but is there a limit, is there a line that you draw where –?
BOB DAVIE: Well, the thing with Gary, though, is that you know, as much as it’s possible to know without a guy being in the game. At least you’ve seen him in the stadium in a spring game. You’ve seen him in scrimmage situations, much more than you’ve seen Matt or one of those other freshmen.
So I think you go as long as you can go and give him every opportunity, because just because going from a semi-unknown to a complete unknown. So I think you’re going to hang in there with him. That’s why I said it is his job and we plan on him playing the whole football game.
Q. Lastly, you have a couple walk-ons, how do you go about determining — (inaudible) — you have a bunch of scholarship athletes. What goes into making a determination that these guys are going to be put in that situation?
BOB DAVIE: Matt is our land down on the kickoff and gave one of the best efforts I have ever seen, and we — obviously our football team knew about it. We did it in a special teams meeting and showed our entire team. Chad is the starter on the kicking game for us. I’m a big believer in those guys. We had Jonathan Aber (phonetic) who did it for us and became one of our best guys, blocked a punt last year against Michigan State.
You know what happens, you spend a lot of time in practice in your kicking situations going against what we call the pit bulls. We call all of those guys the pit bulls that are kind of the scout team in kicking game situations, whether it’s blocking punts against our first punt team, running down, covering kicks against our first kickoff return. So you get a chance to see those guys over and over do that stuff. And there’s some players that just jump out at you. We’re a better special teams football team because of some of those guys and the roles they play. So Matt Sarb, DeBolt, we’ve got some guys, Anthony Brannan is a guy who is a starter on our kicking team. Dwayne Francis on punt return has been outstanding. He goes out and holds up the gunners on punt return. That’s a tough technique. He’s been unbelievable at that.
First of all, they get a lot of chances to do it, but then it’s really important to them. They know that’s their role and the way they can help this football team. I’ve got no hesitation playing those guys. You’re right. There’s guys that there’s no question that you can take them over and time them in the 40 or do the vertical jumps, do all that stuff. They may test out faster, but they don’t play the game faster. I think that’s a great point. Matt just sold his body out for us.
Q. Last couple weeks you’ve made light of the fact, the scrutiny, you’ve had a pretty good sense of humor about it. Do you think the fans out there, with the injury to Arnaz, does it change the equation at all, and if it does, it that fair because of unforeseen circumstances?
BOB DAVIE: It provides no safety net for me or for this football team. That’s not even in the equation.
And to tell you the truth, I don’t know that I need a safety net or this team needs a safety net anyhow. So all that is just issues that have been created for different reasons. And I’m certainly not blaming anyone for creating those issues. But if people have created those issues and it is an issue in people’s minds, I’m here to say that there’s no safety net that’s been provided because Arnaz Battle went down.
So whether it is fair, unfair all those issues, all it comes down to is how we play as a football team. That’s why I’m encouraged about this team. Honestly, I don’t get caught up in any of those issues. All I’m caught up is what kind of chemistry we have on this team and how is our preparation on this team and that’s why I’m encouraged. I really like what we have going right now, and I think we have a chance to have something special.
So, it doesn’t change one thing to me. It doesn’t lower our expectations. Shouldn’t lower our fans’ expectations. Shouldn’t lower our administrations expectations. Doesn’t change one thing.
Q. It seemed like on Saturday you were more active in giving the defense signals yourself. Was that a change in procedure or did that — just because of that one game or will that continue?
BOB DAVIE: You know, I’ve called the defenses this year. Whether I signal them or Greg signals them is something we just go back on forth on, if for any other reason is just giving two people signals in case they are trying to get a beat on our signals. That’s just how we’ve done it this year and we’ll continue to do that.
And I think one thing on that point is that, you know, we’re all so heavily involved in the preparation, just like with Kevin. I mean, Kevin calls the offensive plays, but sometimes, too much is made of who calls them. It’s more in the preparation of what’s gone on during the week and the planning.
You know, I’ve got a big role in the planning of our defense and we’re going to continue to do. Not as much emphasis as who takes the exact call during the game as it is planning during the week.
Q. (Inaudible) Brock Williams … just wondering if you could shed some light on the importance of sacking, but do you have to hurry in the decision-making process?
BOB DAVIE: You know, as I said every week, what happens in our preparation for a game, on Mondays we look at the pass game, our game, against Nebraska. Then we pretty much just go out and get our players lined up. The coaches are the only ones that have watched Purdue tape. So the fact is Brock has not watched Purdue a whole lot. Like last week with his statements about Nebraska — I like him but he doesn’t really know what he’s talking about. (Laughter).
But I think, you know, you’re asking me that same question all the time. If you look back at Purdue, they probably gave up eight quarterback sacks last year the whole year. Unbelievable percentage of times thrown compared to sacks given up. It’s unbelievable. And a big part of that is their scheme. They will come off and chop you and throw the quick passing game as well as anyone in this country. They are very difficult to get to. Certainly, you have to mix it up, try to keep him off balance, and he’s a hard guy to keep off balance. He’s seen a lot of things in his four years at Purdue. We’d like to think we’re able to come after him a little bit, but it is not as easy as you think so.
I appreciate Brock’s vote of confidence, but it’s a little more difficult when you’re trying to play in those things.
Q. Do you try and fight off any fear or doubt that might creep into your mind when you go into a big game like, this you lose two key people and say, “Oh, no, we’re not going to go through this again, are we”?
BOB DAVIE: There’s no question you think that. There’s no question. Let’s face it, we just went through — we just had the second week of the season and we finished — we’ve got two players who are as important to our football team as any other player we have in the program, where we just lost two players, probably for the year, and that is significant.
But I also think when you play the kind of schedule we play, week to week to week to week, it is going to be like that. As much as you hate to admit it or hate to think of it, playing the kind of teams we play, there’s a lot of things that happen. It’s all part of it.
But certainly, what happened last year, you know, it’s hard to survive if it happens again. I don’t care how good you think your depth is or your depth is a little bit better. No one’s depth is that good, and you just can’t lose those kind of players. If you look at Nebraska and you take No. 7 off that field for Nebraska, as good as they are offensively, it changes. It changes. And that’s how a lot of people are.
You know, the same can be said probably about Purdue. They like that young freshman quarterback, but No. 15 is a big part of their deal.
Q. In defending Drew, he’s a fifth year, seen so much and thrown the ball all the time, he’s probably seen every type of defense you can throw at him. Because of that, do you have to mix things up or do you settle on something that you think is going to work best?
BOB DAVIE: I think that’s a good point. You do what you can do. You’re not going to come in there with some different defense that Purdue has never seen and all of the sudden just shock them. It comes down to your players playing against their players.
It’s not as much as of a Star Wars kind of offense as you think. It’s spread across the field and a lot of different looks, but it comes down to them executing and makes plays, and that’s what they do so well. So you have to give your players a chance to line up and be comfortable and do the same things over and over. It’s the things you do on defense that are successful for you that you do against them.
So it is kind of like playing the wishbone in a reverse kind of deal in that you don’t go in there and do something you’re not sure you can do. It comes down to players against players. That’s what this game is. It’s not as much as of a scheme game and out-scheming them as you might think. It’s lining up and playing them.
Q. There has been talk about this game evolving into a big rivalry, where you’re not going to help a guy up after a tackle off the ground, it’s just evolved that neither team likes each other. Do you sense that on this side?
BOB DAVIE: You know, I haven’t really sensed that. We played some unbelievable football games. If you look at the last three years, those have been three amazing games that have come down to the end of the game.
I think any time you play someone that is that close, obviously, it’s a rivalry kind of a game. So it is important to us. I mean, it’s an important game, you know, but I haven’t noticed, to be honest, anything different, as far as what goes on or what is said or anything like that. I think it has been a pretty well-played series and it has been pretty much under control.
Q. As you’re more active in calling the defense, does that make your dealings with the offense, you know, a lot more hectic with the things that are happening?
BOB DAVIE: Not really. You know, my role on offense is pretty much the same as it was on offense. I know everything that we do. If I need to give my opinion, give it. Certainly during the week I have some time to get in there with them. So it has not changed much, really.
Q. In the past you’ve talked about the importance of keeping a team on an emotional even-keel, but over the course of a season, teams do go up and down. You’ve played two emotional game, the big one against A&M and the loss against Nebraska and the loss of Arnaz and Irons, do you guard against that type of thing?
BOB DAVIE: I think it’s too late to do that. I think so much of your team and your chemistry has developed, as I said, from the last game last year to the first game this year. You think of all that time since last November until August when we showed up for practice. That’s where your teams leadership develop and your chemistry develops. You don’t go in there on a week-to-week basis and all of the sudden — you don’t control a lot of things that happen right now.
That’s what I like this about team. I thought the leadership was really strong coming in. I feel even more that way now that the leadership is strong. What I look at is — and this sounds maybe old-fashioned and you might not understand it. I look at when guys go out and just smack somebody around — you go back to that Nebraska game and you count the big hits in that game, and I’m talking about guys laying their body out. It’s been more than we’ve had since I’ve been at Notre Dame coaching. That’s why I know the chemistry and leadership is good on this team. These guys, when it is time to go play, these guys go play.
So I really don’t worry about it. Certainly, we talk about it and we talk about controlling the things that we can control, but things happen and things evolve during the season that your football team is going to react to the way they are going to react to, you know what I’m saying. As much as you think you’re going to come up with some clever way to say it, as much as you’re going to go in there and philosophize your team it’s going to be what it is. And it has taken years to get this team where it is right now, and that’s what I like about it. There’s an awful lot invested in and I think we’re a pretty good team with some pretty good character and leadership right now.
So it’s not because of what happened this week or against Nebraska. We’ve evolved to where I think it is a pretty solid team right now.
Q. How is the preparation affected by people that have to miss practice or … (Inaudible)?
BOB DAVIE: I don’t think it is going to be real drastic. Lance Legree is somebody that — he’s going to be fine. He’s going to do some things today. He’ll miss some time, but that’s not going to impact us.
Brock, I really don’t think it will impact us if he’s not full speed until Wednesday or Thursday. He’s going to get lined up and know all the things that we’re doing.
So really — Joey Getherall is going to be fine. I don’t really think it is an issue. All of the offensive linemen are going to be able to practice.
Mike Gandy is going to be slowed down a little bit. I don’t think that’s going to be a problem for us.
Q. What is the plan at defensive end spot where Grant was? Does Roberts start? Does Campbell move there? What is Owens’ role?
BOB DAVIE: Well, Ryan Roberts will probably start for us. We are looking at Darrell back at defensive end. Owens — you just did it: Tony Weaver, Ryan Roberts, John Owens and Darrell Campbell.
Q. You’re figuring a three-man rotation there?
BOB DAVIE: Yeah. We have to play a lot of guys. You know, probably all of those guys will play. We’d like to get Darrell Campbell in this game. But Ryan Roberts would be the starter, yeah.
Q. You’ve got three years of tape of Purdue. Is it the killer system that makes Drew so effective or does he add a dimension to that takes it beyond?
BOB DAVIE: It’s both. They have a great system they really do. I give them credit. They do a lot of good things. Also, he’s a guy that flourishes in that system. So it’s a combination of both. The thing I see about Drew is just how accurate he is. You watch him, he doesn’t throw many errant balls, and then as I mentioned earlier, he makes things happen within the framework of that offense. You know, he’s mobile. Anytime you spread the field, you know you have someone back there that’s mobile, just as Arnaz had that 43 run on Saturday, he takes advantage of things. It becomes a numbers game. If you spread out and cover him, then he has the ability to run. He makes great throws against zone coverage. You know they convert routes well against certain zone coverages.
It’s a combination of both things. It’s a difficult offense to defend. Certainly there’s other people in the country running that offense. And it does help the quarterback. There’s no question. But it’s a combination of the two things.
Q. When you recruited Gary Godsey, did you envision the day where he would start at quarterback, or did you figure if he started a game at Notre Dame, it would be at another position?
BOB DAVIE: When I went in Gary Godsey’s home, I told him the only way we would recruit him was as a tight end because we had Arnaz. I had told another quarterback that had told me he was coming that we would only take one quarterback, that was part of the deal.
So when I went into Gary Godsey’s house, I said, “Look we’re not going to recruit you as a quarterback because I gave my word to some other young man I would only take one quarterback and he’s told me he’s coming. I know that’s going to stink. You have to sit down and you have to make a decision If you want to come to Notre Dame as a tight end, is it worth it to you.”
He came to Notre Dame as a tight end, and then the other quarterback did not come, so then he went back to quarterback.
And I think the thing I was so impressed with Gary is that I saw him go through that situation. And Notre Dame was so important to him, and he felt so strongly about it that he put aside his personal wants of being a quarterback to come here as a tight end.
And Gary Godsey is in the program he had a real solid spring. He goes >from 260 down to 235. Literally works his butt off in the off-season to get town to 235. All the hype with the freshman quarterback come in, how they are mobile, they fit the system. Gary Godsey did not tuck his trail. Gary Godsey did not transfer. Gary Godsey sat and kept working.
So I’ve got tremendous respect for him because of the type of person he is, and I think our teams appreciates that, as well. So I have not seen him in the game, but I have seen him handle situations. I have sat in his home and I said look — and he’s being recruited by a lot of other schools as quarterback. I said, “This is going to stink, but I cannot take you as a quarterback. The only way I can take you is as a tight end.” He did not blink. Coming here was that important for him. Most guys would have been selfish and gone off somewhere else to throw the ball 60 times a game.
I feel really good about him. I like him as a person. He has a great family. Mom and dad are great people. Brothers have all played football. Heck of a kid. His parents have been here — his mom goes every week they switch. Mom goes to Georgia Tech game, his dad comes here. His dad goes to the Georgia Tech game, his mom comes here. So I’ll be interested this week — we’ll probably have the mom, the dad, the grandmother and everybody here this week.
Q. When you presented that scenario to him at the time, were you afraid you might lose him over that?
BOB DAVIE: Oh, sure. I thought we probably would lose him. Depended on how much he wanted to be a quarterback. But that was the way it had to be. We had given our word to someone he is.
Q. A couple weeks ago, you said that it really wasn’t important at the time for the three freshmen to choose who the backup is. Obviously things have changed. Have you moved somebody into that role?
BOB DAVIE: Matt LoVecchio would be the backup quarterback right now. We did work Carlyle and Jared, but Matt I think right now as the best understanding of the offense. He’s a little farther along than the other two. Not physically, maybe, but just in the grasp of the offense. And that’s going to change. That’s kind of a short-term deal right there. I don’t see that it will change, but there’s a chance that it will change. But today Matt LoVecchio is the backup.
Q. You talked earlier about the 180-degree change from Nebraska to Purdue style-wise. Are the defensive backs more affected by that, because you really didn’t have to play many packages last week, and I guess you’re going to be doing a lot of lot of it this week?
BOB DAVIE: Yeah, but we knew Purdue was on the schedule. It’s not like all of the sudden Purdue is on the schedule and we didn’t know it. We had a chance to prepare in the off-season. You don’t lose your nickel-and-dime package just because you didn’t do it in the game.
It’s a little different obviously just from — a lot different technique-wise and things, but we’re going to be okay with that. It’s just the transition, I think, of going from the wishbone to a team that throws it every time.
But, you know, it has not been that long since we lined up against one back — A&M did a lot of that stuff.
Q. A longer-range question about the quarterback situation: Before the injury, you had a very orderly plan in mind to keep the freshmen at the same level so no one would get discouraged. Now you have to disrupt that someone, and if Arnaz comes back for two more years down the road, that would affect playing time for other people. I know you have more pressing concerns, but what are your thoughts about all that?
BOB DAVIE: I think that’s a legitimate point. But right now, we don’t really have time to worry about somebody’s feelings this week. I talked to our team about that. I didn’t talk about that specific thing, but I said as unselfish as all of you have been up to this point, with what’s just happen to this football team, I told them this Sunday, you have to be more unselfish. We have to totally put all of our personal feelings aside. We have to fight human nature in every area and we have to be totally, totally unselfish, and whatever it takes for us to win, that’s what we have to do.
And you’re right, I didn’t want to say that Matt LoVecchio was the backup quarterback. I don’t really know if he’s earned it. Those other two guys are great athletes and Matt does some great things, but I don’t really know if he deserves to be the No. 2 quarterback. He’s getting it because he’s a little further along in understanding of our offense. Ideally, I’d like to keep all three of those guys exactly the same. But I do know human nature, and particularly when they have not really had a chance to show what they can do, it’s a little bit unfair. But that’s what it is right now. We have to make a decision.
So we’ve had to escalate the process right now a little bit because of that. And everybody has to understand that. Certainly if Arnaz Battle doesn’t play this year and he has two more years, that may impact someone because it’s human nature to do that. But right now, we’ve got to put all that stuff beside us, behind us and we cannot have any selfishness. We are in a battle right now and I think our football team understands that.
But those are real issues. We’re all humans and those kids are human and that’s an issue. They came here thinking Arnaz had one year of football left after this year. And Gary Godsey is in that same boat. Gary Godsey has four years of football. So you’ve got four quarterbacks, you have three freshmen and Gary Godsey that have four years.
But one thing I’ve found out is the strong survive. The strong survive. And also, they take care of that decision for you. Those things always work out because of how the players react.
But that’s a legitimate issue, yeah. But now is not the time to concern ourselves with it.
Q. How much different is this scenario with quarterback as compared to when Jarious went down and you had to go to southern Cal with two unproven quarterbacks?
BOB DAVIE: I feel a little better right now than I did then. I feel better because I feel better about our team. We were a good football team then.
I feel a little bit better about it. Arnaz was coming off of being out for four weeks with that shoulder. He had not practiced since the Baylor game that year. So not only had he never played and was a freshman, he had not practiced in four weeks. Eric Chappell, I like Eric Chappell but to answer your question, he made me nervous because he was erratic. In practice he was erratic — I’m not trying to embarrass him, he was.
I think Gary Godsey is a solid, solid performer. Now, how he plays in the game, I don’t know, but I feel more comfortable about it right now than I did then.
Q. In your experience coaching here and other places, similar situations like this, any secret to handling it? Just pick somebody — and a lot of times it creates an opportunity for someone like Gary Godsey comes in, has a great game, all of the sudden it’s a great opportunity for him?
BOB DAVIE: I think that’s what it is. And I think the biggest thing, there’s no excuses. Our football team has to play better with the surrounding cast, and that’s what it is.
But, always the unknown is you don’t know until you get in that game exactly what’s going to happen. But certainly it’s always a rallying point for guys. There’s always a bit of motivation when something like this happens, and I think it will motivate our football team.
Q. You look at the strength of this team, you might have a team that’s fast or a team that’s big or a team that’s physical. One of the real strengths seems to be the character, starting off with A&M and Nebraska and then losing two players. Probably a good time to have that as your No. 1 quality, isn’t it?
BOB DAVIE: I think so. But I’d really like to have that quality and also have this team still intact. That’s the thing in this whole deal is the bottom line thing of efficiency. At some point if you go out there and play and it comes down to players against players and any time you go out there with less players than you had before, you cannot minimize the impact. That is the reality of it.
So, yeah, I love the character. I’d like to be a little bit selfish and greedy, have the character and also our team intact. We’d have the character if our team was intact, as well.
Q. The walk-ons have really made an impact. Any players that maybe you were unaware of in game situations that have stepped up?
BOB DAVIE: I think first of all, Jeff Faine as a freshman center, playing against A&M’s noseguard who is a good player, and then Nebraska gave you a lot of looks in there. Jeff Faine is a good football player.
Shane Walton, you have got to love him. You’ve got to love him. That tailback from Nebraska was standing right here and Shane Walton was standing right there, made him look like a mosquito standing there. But he’ll come up and hit you. I think Shane Walton is a guy that’s really competitive and has played hard.
I think Tony Driver, although every time you’re a little nervous because he doesn’t have a lot of experience back there, Tony Driver will get you.
Brock Williams is competitive. The guys that have not played — I think Tyreo Harrison has been solid for us. Jim Jones is a much improved player. Mike Gandy has probably played his best two football games. Kurt Vollers has become our starting offense at tackle. Really Vollers and Jordan Black played the whole day. Teasdale only played — Vollers has turned into a good football player.