Oct. 20, 2000
The time is now.
Nobody understands it more than Bob Davie. In order for this Notre Dame football team to be taken seriously, a road win must be attained.
My point is now it is time for us to make a move,” Davie said at his Tuesday press conference, “And to become a football team that can go win a game like this on the road against a real good opponent. It is time for us to make our move right now to be a football team that is in the middle of things as you go down the stretch run of the season.”
In order for the Irish to find themselves in the middle of the pack, they must spoil Don Nehlen’s party. The West Virginia head coach is going for his 200th career win which will surely inspire his Mountaineers to elevate their game. At the start of the season, Nehlen registered as the fifth winningest coach who is still active with 195 wins.
“Two-hundred victories in major college football,” Davie said. “That is quite a statement.”
A hositile environment, like Mountaineer Field, is exactly the type of place the Irish need to solidify a road win and gain the respect of football critics. Saturday’s game is also a must win in order for Davie and Co. to keep their BCS bowl chances alive.
“People come from all over the state to support the team,” Davie said. “It is a very partisan-type crowd. This is Don Nehlen’s opportunity to win his 200th game in college football. There will be quite an atmosphere there. It is a big game for West Virginia.”
A big game for the Mountaineers it is indeed because West Virginia has never registered a win against Notre Dame in the teams’ two meetings. In fact, Notre Dame defeated West Virginia in 1988 for its last National Championship. Then Irish head coach Lou Holtz bolstered his team to a 34-21 win.
In 1997, Davie provided some coaching magic of his own. In his first year as head coach, he directed his team to an upset win over Nehlen’s 22nd-ranked Mountaineers. The Irish rallied to win, 21-14.
Saturday’s game will be no easy task for the Irish. However, Notre Dame appears up to the challenge. The team is no longer a subject of criticism except for Davie’s. He is this team’s worst critic.
This season, Davie’s role as coach has changed. Instead of offering up excuses for his team’s problems, he is the one pointing out the errors. It is this display, which has the Irish faithful wondering what happened to the Davie of old.
He is a new coach, one with a thirst for a better outcome than what occurred last season. He does not want the same thing to happen, nor will he allow it to happen.
When Saturday’s game rolls around, there is no one that hungers for this road win more then Bob Davie. He knows this is the missing piece to the puzzle.
Once his team can go into an opposing team’s stadium and pull out a victory, no one can question this team’s ability, not even Davie himself.