Notre Dame Fighting Irish - Official Athletics Website

Final Practice Report Before Stanford Game

Oct. 3, 2002

By Adam Porcelli

Notre Dame, Ind. – On Thursday afternoon, the ninth-ranked Notre Dame football team concluded its last day of practice before Saturday’s game versus Stanford. The question of the day was, once again, who will start at quarterback for the Irish, Carlyle Holiday or Pat Dillingham. This question has been one that has been on every Notre Dame fan’s mind since Holiday’s shoulder was injured in the team’s 21-17 victory over Michigan State on September 21. After practice, head coach Tyrone Willingham still had not decided who would get the start against the Cardinal.

“We will wait up to the last minute on Saturday to make that decision,” said Willingham.

“Carlyle (Holiday) has progressed well. What Carlyle has shown this week will certainly have an impact on whether he starts or even plays. I am not surprised how quickly he has been healing. He is a very positive and strong young man. It is nice to see that he is one of those guys who can heal amazingly fast. We will still wait until the last moment, though, to make the final decision.”

Willingham’s primary focus all week has been to prepare the team to win regardless of who starts at quarterback. Consistency is what matters to Willingham.

“It does not matter who our quarterback is,” said Willingham.

“All that matters is what allows our football team to have success. We have remained consistent with what we normally do and will continue to do so. This allows for the entire team to be prepared come Saturday.”

Although Willingham will wait until Saturday to make his final decision, he did reveal how he intends to make it. The most important aspect to him is simply to not allow this decision to be disruptive to the rest of the team.

“We will not do anything different on Saturday during warm ups,” said Willingham.

“We will go through the same normal procedure because the decision has an impact on the team and you don’t want to change things that will disrupt other players. The key is that you want to position yourself so that team has the best opportunity to win.”

The Irish will play Saturday at 1:30 p.m. (EST) against Stanford at Notre Dame Stadium. The game will be televised nationally by NBC.

— ND —