Nov. 26, 1999
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – We have some additional injuries to deal with this week, as Sean Mahan and Grant Irons were lost as well.
Because of the injuries, Thanksgiving and a long flight to Stanford, we adjusted our schedule this week. We gave the players Sunday off and watched film and conducted walk-throughs on Monday. We are going to practice at our regular times until Thursday, when we are going to practice a little earlier and then leave for California.
Our focus this week is on winning a game. Our practices are just as intense, despite the fact that we are eliminated from postseason play.
I am proud of this team for the way they practiced last week. I don?t think people realize or have a frame of reference for just how decimated this team is by injuries. We literally have one tailback who is able to practice, and that is Tony Fisher who will have surgery on an injured shoulder following the season.
We are in a difficult situation right now. We have four starting offensive linemen who are out with injuries, and then we lost one of their backups to a shoulder injury. We are still preparing for this game like it is for the National Championship. That is how we approach every week, and that is not going to change.
Arnaz will definitely play more this week. Of course, we are going to have to see how it goes in practice and how the game progresses. There is a chance you will see Arnaz in at quarterback, but I am going to give Jarious an opportunity to win his final game at Notre Dame.
It is evident that the seniors are still the leaders of this team. In spite of the injuries many of them are forced to play with, a lot of them are playing the best football of their careers. I am encouraged by that because they are truly leading by example and our younger players respect that.
We are going to finish what we started. The injuries have been a big challenge and I think we will look back at the schedule and realize that it was more difficult than we initially thought. It has been a tough season, but we are going to finish what we started.