Nov. 10, 2000
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – At this point in the season last year, Irish head coach Bob Davie found himself in the midst of problems.
The injuries for the ’99 squad kept piling up and every position appeared to be getting thin. Times sure have changed.
Heading into the ninth game of the season, Notre Dame has only three players who will not see action due to injury. Two of the players have been sidelines for a while. Senior Grant Irons and junior Arnaz Battle will continue to sit out the rest of the season.
“There are always decisions that have to be made in regards to an open date,” Davie said. “This time, however, we really didn’t have much of a choice. We just had so many players who were beat up and bruised”
Meaning, Davie forced his team to take a large chunk of time off last week. The Irish only practiced twice during the bye week because so many members of the squad were banged up.
Clifford Jefferson is the only person who will sit out the game against Boston College. He suffered a sprained ankle against Air Force. His replacement will be Jason Beckstrom who saw some action against Air Force when Jefferson went out.
Davie believed that if he had forced his team to practice, it would not have been efficient. Instead, he made his team focus on getting better and healing.
“Hopefully this will help us out,” Davie said about the shortened practice schedule.
While the bye week provided time for rest, this week’s tune-ups have been sharp. Notre Dame underwent a full practice schedule this week.
As for the Irish coaching staff, Davie did not cut them quite as much slack. The staff took advantage of no practice by hitting the recruiting trail as well as tape breakdown.
“By giving them off last Saturday, we got those guys a break,” Davie said. “Hopefully getting the coaches a break will turn into a positive as well.”
Notre Dame hopes to capitalize on all these positives that emerged from two weeks of healing and practice. On the other hand, the team’s opponent finds itself in a bit of a predicament. The Eagles will enter the game with a new quarterback in Brian St. Pierre who will replace Tim Hasselbeck.
All in all, Davie is excited about his team’s overall health and hopes it leads to tremendous success with the three remaining games.