Aug. 7, 2002

by Kevin Herrity

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Wednesday afternoon’s 90-minute practice was the last for the Notre Dame freshmen before the varsity squad reports Thursday, and according to head coach Tyrone Willingham, everything is going as scheduled.

“I am very happy,” he said. “We set our goal to just get them acclimated and to see where they are, and see what steps we need to make with them from here forward. Two days of practice is just not enough time to judge a player. It just would not be fair.”

The afternoon workout also gave the Irish freshmen a taste of the amount of conditioning they will have to go through to prepare for the upcoming season. Strength & conditioning coach Mickey Marotti put the Notre Dame newcomers through their paces, testing them with a variety of sprints, including a series of grueling runs from sideline to sideline under the late afternoon sun.

Wednesday’s practices were the last individual workouts for the newest Irish players with the coaching staff. The veterans will report to camp Thursday afternoon and the entire team will take part in Media Day and Fan Appreciation Day activities on Friday before hitting the field as a unit for a pair of practices on Saturday.

Willingham explained that there would not be much of a change between the freshman practices and the workouts that will take place beginning on Saturday.

“There is no transition,” he stated. “It is time for the freshmen to grow up now. This is what the freshmen have been told would happen. The veterans have told them that this day would come when they were being recruited. The fact that one day the coaches would, at one point, forget who you are. That is all part of being a freshmen. It is just part of growing into a major collegiate program.”

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