Dec. 23, 2004

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – The Fighting Irish of Notre Dame opened game-week preparations for their Insight Bowl clash with Oregon State with a two-hour practice Thursday at the Indian School Park practice facility in suburban Scottsdale.

Sunny skies and comfortable temperatures in the low 60’s greeted the Irish as the team practiced for the first time since last Friday in shorts and pads. The workout focused on game plan installation and scrimmaging as the team worked back into playing shape after taking a six-day break following final exams. The bulk of the practice involved offensive and defensive team vs. scout drills.

“Everyone reported and we’re ready to get going,” said interim head coach Kent Baer. “I think the guys are ready to work, judging by the way they went about things today. We had good intensity and focus. We’ve got some work to do, but the players are in a good frame of mind to do it.”

Indian School Park is a public facility in Scottsdale that also is used each spring by the San Francisco Giants major league baseball team as a practice and training facility. The Irish are practicing in converted baseball fields that will afford them the chance to become acclimated to a surface similar to the one at Bank One Ballpark, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks baseball club. The playing surface consists of most of the outfield of one of the baseball diamonds, with only a small portion of the playing field overlapping with a baseball infield. The Irish have the use of one full 100-yard field, plus a 60-yard area in an adjacent baseball field that is entirely grass. Both fields are in excellent condition.

“This is an outstanding facility,” Baer said. “The fields are excellent and spacious and the locker room area is the best I’ve seen for a practice facility at a bowl site. They’ve done a tremendous job of getting things ready for us. The facilities, the fields and the weather make this an almost perfect practice situation.”

During the evening, players were to participate in a team dinner at Don & Charlie’s Steakhouse in Phoenix before returning to the team hotel.


On Friday, the Irish will practice from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Video b-roll and still photography are permitted during the first 20 minutes of practice before the workout is closed to the media. Brief interviews with coaches and players will be conducted after practice. Media members should submit their interview requests during the viewing period at the beginning of practice.

Later in the day, the team will attend a private Christmas Mass followed by a Christmas Eve dinner.

Notre Dame and Oregon State are set to clash in the 16th annual Insight Bowl on Tuesday night, Dec. 28, with kickoff slated for 9:47 p.m. EST (7:47 p.m. MST in Phoenix) at Bank One Ballpark in Phoenix. The game will be nationally televised by ESPN with the telecast beginning at 7:45 p.m. EST.