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Chat Live With Irish Coach Tyrone Willingham

Tyrone Willingham

Tyrone Willingham Chat Transcript

Welcome to the chat room. This week’s special guest was head football coach Tyrone Willingham. He is dropped by on Thursday, March 27 to talk about the upcoming spring football season and anything else on Irish fans’ minds.

Willingham had an outstanding first season at Notre Dame. In addition to compiling a 10-2 regular-season record and earning a berth in the Toyota Gator Bowl, he became the first coach in the heralded history of Notre Dame football to win 10 games in his first season. He also has guided the Irish to the third-best turnaround in school history (+4.5 games).

In addition to his outstanding first season record, Willingham won The Home Depot National “Coach of the Year” award as well.

If you missed the chat, check out the transcript below.

Moderator: Hello everyone. Coach Willingham has just joined us. We will begin answering questions in just one minute.
Fran (Miami): Coach Willingham, you seem to have really embraced the Notre dame tradition & mystique. Were you a fan when you were growing up?
Coach Willingham: Fran, growing up I was both a fan and a foe of Notre Dame. Being that it was one of the few college teams that you could get highlights from. You were excited and eager to race home from church to get those. Then becoming a Michigan State player, they became a foe. I have fallen in love with all of the history and traditions and the passions of Notre Dame football.
Vegas(Sarasota): What are you looking for during the first sessions of spring practice?
Coach Willingham: Our focus will be fundamentals and once again establishing the pride and passion of Notre Dame football.
Chris(Hartford): Coach, congragulations on your first season at Notre Dame. Do you have any advice for aspiring college football head coaches like myself?
Coach Willingham: Learn as much as you can into all aspects of the game. Secondly, have a clear understanding of your principles. And never relinquish those values.
Nate Manumpahi (Philadelphia): Congratulations on an outstanding season. What is more disappointing as a football coach, seeing a player fail on the field or in the classroom?
Coach Willingham: Both are equally disappointing. The goal is to not have young people fail.
Allison Roberts: How do you maintain your calm demeanor despite the stress that is inherent in a college football game – especially at Notre Dame? Thank you, and good luck in the spring and fall seasons!
Coach Willingham: One can remain calm when your thoughts are outside the moment. During the course of the game, I am trying to anticipate the next moment. Therefore, you don’t get caught up in the moment.
Mike from Pittsburgh: Coach, what is the number 1 ingredient a coach has to possess in order to have a championship type season year in and year out?
Coach Willingham: Great players. Duffy Daugherty said years ago, that it is bad luck not to have good players.
Kyle Adamson-Indianapolis: Coach Willingham, What is your policy on playing freshmen? I know you played s couple of freshmen recievers last year. It seems we have a great incoming freshman class, and I am curious to see if they have a chance to play much.
Coach Willingham: Our policy is simply to play the best player and class has no baring.
john ny: how does the team look for next year? Do you think Olsen will start at TE? Is Holiday starting at QB. How do you feel recruiting went this season?
Coach Willingham: Our team has an excellent opportunity to become a good team if we will improve our fundamentals. We are excited regarding our recruiting and believe that the incoming class will aid us in becoming a good team. We can not determine at this time who will start.
Matt – Dallas: Ty, i hear there will be new uniforms this year! Is that true?
Coach Willingham: Sorry, no.
steve (toledo): Coach; Despite the fact that many of our offensive lineman have been drafted by the Nfl over the last several years we consistently have had poor, passive play by the offensive line. Can you comment?
Coach Willingham: One of the most difficult areas to develop is the offensive line. It usually takes three years for offensive linemen to develop. Even with excellent individual development that sometimes does not mean that they have developed as a group. Our goal will be to encourage great individual and group development.
Jason Luong (Huntington Beach, CA): Hi Coach, I wanted to ask you what kind of things do you ask the incoming recruits to do to prepare for the season, before the get to Notred Dame?
Coach Willingham: We expect our incoming freshman to prepare themselves in two areas, physical and mental. We would hope that their previous training routines would develop some level of confidence upon entering college. From a mental standpoint develop an understanding of collegiate classes.
Scoop scanlan- coral springs: what order will be the quarterbacks as the spring season gets under way? Best wishes for a successful 2003 season.
Coach Willingham: Our order of quarterbacks will be as they completed the season (Holiday, Dillingham, Olsen and Quinn).
Bobby (Dublin, Ohio): What is the situation with Brady Quinn next season? Will he have a shot to play or will he possibly be red-shirted?
Coach Willingham: We are excited about adding Brady to our program. He is an excellent prospect and we will let his talents determine what happens next season as well as the future.
Chris (Austin): Coach: Would you agree that the most important point of focus and emphasis this pre-season (unit-wise) must be the rapid and sure-fire development of an outstanding, dominating, nasty Offensive Line, particularly as it relates to the running game?
Coach Willingham: Chris, we couldn’t have said it better.
Linn Niehaus, Orlando, FL: Coach W…..Are you going with the “Sea of Green” again next year or will you change colors to gold or blue? Will it depend on what color is chosen for “The Shirt”?
Coach Willingham: We thought that the “Sea of Green” a great deal of solidarity for the program. The selection of next year’s shirt will be done by the students and we look forward to their decision.
Brandon Hutson (Battle Creek): Will Julius Jones be on the football team next year?
Coach Willingham: If Julius completes University requirements in his abscence then he will be welcomed back to the football program.
J.R. Biggs Youngstown: Most schools offer kids in bulk, how were you able to have such a high rate of commits per visit? I read it was something like 32 visits and you a class of 22. Amazing!!!
Coach Willingham: We were very fortunate in being able to get commitments at such a high rate. We believe that is due to our University and our young men.
Greg(St. Louis, MO): Coach I curious how the offseason strength and conditioning program went? How do you feel about the development of your young players are coming alone like Grant, Stovall and Mcknight?
Coach Willingham: We are blessed to have an excellent director of our strength and conditioning program in Mickey Marotti. We begin to see the benefits of our winter conditioning during spring practice and that is when we will also see the growth and development of our young players.
Corbin (Atlanta): Coach Willingham, what are some of your team’s goals for the 2003-2004?
Coach Willingham: The goal of the program is to win on the field, in the classroom, and in our young mens’ social and spiritual development. I believe if those are our areas of focus they will allow us to not only have a great team but also develop great individuals.
Coach Willingham: Thank you for your time and all the questions. We look forward to seeing you at the Blue Gold game.