Nov. 14, 2001

At the conclusion of last season, the tight end position was left with a significant void. Tight ends Jabari Holloway and Dan O’Leary both graduated, leaving an inexperienced group at the spot.

This season, John Owens, has stepped in to fill the vacancy. He is averaging 12.6 yards per catch, while scoring a touchdown in a loss to Boston College. A native of Bowie, Maryland, Owens is enrolled in the Mendoza College of Business with a major in management information systems.

This will be your final home game as a Notre Dame football player. Has it been a concern for you and the other seniors?

“We are just treating it like any other game week. Right now, we are just trying to concentrate on the game plan for the weekend. We are going to come out and play as hard as we can. As the day gets closer, I’m sure the other seniors will discuss it being our last game together but right now we are just trying to keep up with schoolwork. It hasn’t really hit me yet that this is my last home game.”

What can the team take from a tough loss like that against Tennessee?

“Only thing we can take from it is we know how important turnovers are in a game. Basically, we have been killing ourselves all season with turnovers, and it really showed in the Tennessee game. We had opportunities to score a couple times and maybe win the game but we had several turnovers. We just have to try and decrease that problem. It is the biggest difference from last year’s team to this year’s team. We have pretty much the same players, if not more talent, and the turnovers have been more this year then last.”

What is store for you after graduation?

“I am just trying to work hard and graduate on time. As far as the NFL, I am just trying to play my hardest this season and hopefully things work out.”

What does this team want to be remembered for? Are the last three games something everyone wants to finish strong?

“Like any other game we want to go out and play our hardest. Over the last three games we really wanted people to know how hard we play, even in the losses. We have had some things go bad at different times. We just want people to know how hard we play all the time and that we never give up.”

Is that part of the equation most people don’t see on TV, or in the papers. The fact that this team is working hard day in and day out, in practice and in school, to make this the best team out there?

“I think it is pretty easy to overlook, considering our record. There are all ready a lot of expectations and a lot of pressure on Notre Dame to succeed and go to a big bowl game. When you see five losses, I mean, people start thinking that ‘they are having a bad season.’ But, to me, I think we are playing pretty good, we are just not capitalizing on certain things.”