March 30, 2004
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – It was back indoors for the Notre Dame football team on Tuesday, as the Irish conducted their second practice session of the spring at the Loftus Sports Center. With the benefit of one of the nation’s top indoor practice facilities, complete with a full-length, state-of-the-art Prestige turf field, the Notre Dame players and coaches never skipped a beat despite a raw, damp afternoon in South Bend.
The Irish once again worked out in “shells” (helmets, shoulder pads and shorts), which normally means the drills won’t involve much contact. However, judging by the numerous grunts and yells which echoed throughout the Loftus Sports Center, it’s apparent these players are hungry to hit something or someone right away.
“Even though we’ve been in shells the last two days, there’s been major contact in practice from the very beginning,” Notre Dame head coach Tyrone Willingham said.
“Our practices have been intense and our young men are working very hard with a great deal of effort and enthusiasm. When you put all of that together, it’s difficult to tell an offensive lineman or a linebacker that he’s supposed to avoid contact. That’s what football is all about.”
One of the more interesting sights at Tuesday’s practice was seeing Carlyle Holiday working out with the Irish wide receiver corps and receivers coach Trent Miles. Holiday has spent the past three seasons serving primarily as a quarterback, although he did see time as a wideout late last season. However, he always came to practice sporting a red No. 7 jersey, with the color signifying that he was not to be tackled.
That changed on Tuesday, as Holiday jogged onto the practice field, still wearing his No. 7, but in the familiar shade of Notre Dame blue, meaning he has become fair game for the Irish defense. According to Willingham, the lanky San Antonio native should get used to his new attire, at least for the remainder of the spring season.
“We intend to have Carlyle spend this spring only with the receivers,” Willingham said.
“Ideally, we would like to see him continue with that group full time in the fall, but a lot of that will depend on how our incoming freshmen perform at both the receiver and quarterback positions. Ultimately, our decision as to where he will play will be based on what is best, not only for Carlyle, but for this football team.”
Holiday and the Irish will take Wednesday off before heading back to the practice field for three consecutive days of practice from Thursday through Sunday. Early indications show that Notre Dame might get to enjoy its first outdoor practice sessions of the spring by the weekend, which could lead to the first full scale set of contact drills this season.
— ND —