Aug. 24, 2002
After a productive fall camp, und.com caught up with Notre Dame head coach Tyrone Willingham on Friday after the final practice of two-a-days.
Q. When you are preparing for a team like Maryland, who is struggling with injuries at this point, how does that add to the preparation?
A. It is always better to know who your opponent is. There is no question about that. We anticipate there is something that has always been in the cards for Notre Dame, and that is every team and every player wants to play against Notre Dame. We anticipate that all of their starters, whoever they may be, if there is any chance they might play, they will play against us.
Q. What type of rotation are you developing at wide receiver?
A. You have to have someone you feel comfortable throwing to in big-time situations – someone who can step up and make a play. It would be nice if we had a lot of somebodies because that would put a great deal of pressure on the defense. We would like to play a lot of players at all positions, but what dictates that is the individual skill of those players at that particular position.
Q. Do you see any players stepping into that go-to player role?
A. I have been very pleased with what Arnaz Battle has done so far. I have been very pleased with Carlos Campbell and Gary Godsey. I have been pleased with our young freshmen receivers and how they have come along, yet games dictate what happens. We will find out as we get to the games on exactly what we should do and what direction we will go.
Q. Are you happy that two-a-days are now over?
A. No…whatever time we have, we try to take advantage of it. If the NCAA gave us another two weeks. we would find a great way to utilize that, yet hopefully, keep our team fresh, well conditioned and ready to play when the time comes.
Q. Some of the players talked about heavy legs. Is it time to start tapering back a little bit?
A. At some point, you are going to have heavy legs as you go through two-a-day camp. We think, though, we have the right recipe for us to be ready come Saturday against Maryland.
Q. Have you done anything to simulate the conditions of a night game?
A. Not a whole lot. Our players have played high school games under the lights. They are well conditioned to lights and it will not be a big deal for us to play under them. Is it nice to take one opportunity out there under the lights? Yes, but these guys have played under lights.