July 14, 2009
Notre Dame, Ind – Head Coach Lou Holtz, his staff and Notre Dame Football Legends are hard at work making final preparations for the Japan Bowl. The July 25th game at the 55,000 seat Tokyo Dome, will pit Notre Dame Football Legends and the Japanese Senior National team in celebration of the 75th anniversary of American football in Japan.
“Football is really popular in Japan and they have some talented players there” said, running backs coach Reggie Brooks. “We are going to work hard in training camp and we look forward to representing Irish football proudly during our time in Japan.”
Training camp for the 57 football alums will begin July 16th at the LaBar Practice Fields. During the two-a-day workouts, players will work on executing the playbook, building team chemistry and conditioning. Off the field, players and coaches will hold film sessions to study their Japanese opponent.
“We are preparing for this game like it’s a regular season game in the fall.” Brooks said.
Leading the players on the practice field and in Japan will be a coaching staff that consists of many former Irish greats.
Joining Coach Holtz’s staff for the Japan Bowl is, former All-America running back Reggie Brooks, College Football Hall of Famers, Chris Zorich and Tim Brown, and former Irish Defensive Coordinator Gary Darnell, Also on the staff are Bill Reagan, former director of football operations under Bob Davie and Tyrone Willingham, Bill Lewis, former assistant coach under Charlie Weis, and former assistant coach under Holtz, Tony Yelovich
Following three days of practice in South Bend, the team will head to Chicago where they will board their 13-hour flight to Tokyo.
Once in Tokyo, the team will practice and hold meetings each morning at Nihon University.
In the afternoon, the team will have the opportunity to discover Tokyo. On Tuesday the team will have the chance to explore the city via a bus tour and the next afternoon they will tour the ancient Asakusa Temples.
Following their tours of the city, players will return to the team hotel for dinner and position meetings.
After a week and a half of practice the Irish Football Legends will take the field for their first game together. For the Japanese team, the Japan Bowl will mark at least their forth game as a unit.
Following each game, the Japanese squad made cuts to trim their roster. At the beginning of their season nearly 200 professional players tried out to represent Japan. Since then, their roster has be cut down to the 60 who will take the field against the Irish Legends
Headlining the Irish roster that will take the field in Tokyo will be quarterback Tony Rice `88 and running back Ray Zellers `95. Joining Rice and Zellers will be a strong offensive line and a stout defense.
“This game is going to come down to our size and experience taking on the Japanese team’s speed and ability to spread the field.” Brooks said. “It should be a hard fought exciting game.”
To see the game on tape delay tune into CBS College Sports on August 10th at 9:00 PM, ET. And be sure to keep checking www.ndmonogramclub.com to get the latest news and updates on the Japan Bowl.