April 28, 2000

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Irish head coach Bob Davie believes that it is in the best interest to keep spring practices closed to the public.

Davie does not want any outsider to evaluate how an individual player is doing or how the team is doing as a whole. This Saturday will be the public’s first chance to see how next year’s team is shaping up.

It will also be the first opportunity to get a look at an offense commanded by Arnaz Battle.

“We have been really happy with what we have seen from Arnaz this spring,” Davie said. “Obviously, the true evaluation will come in the fall.”

Battle is in the lead for the starting quarterback position. He has a tall order to fill, replacing Jarious Jackson, who finished as one of the leading signal-callers in Notre Dame’s history.

Jackson finished the 1999 season, earning MVP honors for the team. He also set the single-season record for passing yards, completions and attempts. In the ’99 season he finished went 184-for-316 for 2,753 yards.

In his two years at Notre Dame, Battle has seen action in 11 games. He played just over 31 minutes in the ’99 season. In the ’99 season, Battle passing game seemed a little lackluster. He finished with 7 completions out of 15 attempts for 84 yards.

The sophomore did manage to show his speed and running ability. The versatile quarterback ran for 100 yards on 19 carries and finished with a single touchdown against Kansas.

“In all honesty, he has probably exceeded our expectations in practice,” Davie said of Battle. “He has really taken control of things.”

What surprised Davie most this spring is the play of freshman Gary Godsey. The quarterback/tight end has truly proven himself at quarterback to the surprise of many.

“I have also been pleased with Gary Godsey,” Davie said. “He has dropped some weight from last season. He has also committed himself to playing quarterback. He can really throw the football.”

When spring practice started, many believed Godsey would see limited time at the quarterback position. He might take a couple of snaps just to give Battle some breathing room. Come fall, Godsey would begin to truly focus on playing tight end.

Things have changed for the freshman. After 14 practices, Godsey managed to leave a lasting mark on the coaching staff. He has emerged as the backup quarterback for the Irish.

“We have been pleased with both quarterbacks,” Davie said. “They have done all that we have asked. We are anxious to see how it all works out in the fall.”

Davie says that the four incoming freshman quarterbacks will be given a chance to capture the starting quarterback position. He also believes that it would be “highly unusual” for one of them to win it.

Spring practices wind down with the 71st playing of the Blue-Gold game on Saturday.