April 24, 2003
By P.J. Duckworth ’06
This Saturday, the Notre Dame campus will once again be transformed into the football frenzy we have all come to cherish in the fall months. The concession stands will be open for business, the most recognizable fight song in country will be the most commonly heard sound, hordes of Irish fans and alumnus will flock to the Dome, beckoned by the promise of a great atmosphere and a hard-fought football game and the Irish will once again take to the line of scrimmage – only this time they will be lining up across from their own teammates. The Blue-Gold Game has become a favorite of fans and students, but as quarterback Carlyle Holiday explains, there is still work to be done.
“It’s a game where you just go out and execute,” Holiday says.
“The main goal of the game is to go out and show the fans that you’re able to run this kind of offense and you are able to do the things that they expect you to be able to do.”
And since defensive intensity will of course be toned down in an attempt to prevent needless injury, the offense will most certainly take center stage. Last season left questions in the minds of many fans about the ability of the “smash-mouth Irish” to effectively execute Willingham’s west coast offensive scheme. On Saturday, Holiday and his squad will get another chance to provide some firm answers, and he is optimistic about the strides that have been made this spring.
“I think we’ve become more comfortable with [the offense], which allows us to do the things we wanted to do last year but weren’t able to do. I think this spring the offense looked good. We’ve seen a lot of growth and development in the younger players and it’s all just got to carry on.”
While the focus will be firmly fixed on improving execution and fundamentals, Holiday admits there is definitely a competitive flavor to the spring classic.
“One team wants to win. Somebody wants to be that MVP on the offensive and defensive side of the ball.”
No matter the outcome, both fans and players are certain to enjoy themselves this weekend as the Irish wrap up what has been a very successful spring session.
“Spring’s gone great and I feel like we have met some of the goals we wanted as a team, but there is always more to be done. This [the Blue-Gold game] is our reward for going through spring practice. It’s the most fun part of the week – to play in a game. I think a lot of guys are going to go out and enjoy themselves and have fun.”