Oct. 1, 1996
Off The Practice Field….Notre Dame Head Coach Lou Holtz
“This is Sports Information Director John Heisler here at the University of Notre Dame (Oct 1).Coach Holtz is here and will make some opening remarks and then we willbegin with some questions.”
COACH HOLTZ: “First of all, I have been neverbeen able to understand the validity for having a press conferenceduring an open date. We will do the best we can with it.”
(On injuries) “Autry Denson had an index finger operated on. He should be back forWashington. He will have to wear a splint. We are hopeful hewill be able to run back punts and will be able to catch passes.
“Peter Chryplewicz will miss most of the work this week. Melvin Dansbywill miss some. That will give us the chance to work with Brad Williamssome. I think he has tremendous potential as a defensive tackle. Bradhad a stress fracture when he reported here for freshman practice andconsequently just been back for about the last ten days, but he hasawful good quickness and very sound fundamentally.”
(On Ohio State) “The game with OhioState is still disappointing; hard to get rid of. We will practice threetimes this week. Basically devoted to fundamentals. It is no consolation that virtually everybody is going tosuffer a defeat during the course of the year. Probably going to be oneteam undefeated at the end of the year; two at the maximum probably.Doesn’t make it any less painful.”
(On problems) “The thing that concerned our teamsince the ballgame is that some of our real deficiencies were revealed.Our problems at safety, and our problems at wide receiver versusman-coverage. We are addressing the safety position. I think that DekeCooper — everything that we have given Deke Cooper to do, he has donevery, very well and deserves to really get a look at safety — whether itbe free or whether it be strong.
“The loss of A’jani Sanders, who reallyprogressed very, very well, was damaging to us at the Texas game,but I think we can get that resolved. We will get him back for Navy, butI am worried now about the University of Washington. I think DekeCooper is going to get a very, very good look. Weknow that Rossum and Covington are playing very, very well. They areplaying awfully well for us. I think Deveron Harper should be ableto play some. I think, after this week, Deveron Harper will be in aposition to step in as a third corner and I feel comfortable at corner.
“The safety positions are wide open and I could notventure to guess who will start for us at safety in theWashington game. That will be ascertained over the next nine practices,I guess. The same thing is true at wide receiver. We will look at thewide receiver position; yet at the same time, we have some limitationsthere.”
(On Washington) “We have looked at some film on Washington. Theyhave changed their offense a great deal. They are a one-back offense.They run the ball very well and average over five yards a carry. What hasreally impressed me was the accuracy of Huard. Huard has fine receivers.He throws the ball very, very accurately. And they spread you out allover the field and force you into some man-coverage and that is not thebest interest of us with the safety position at thepresent time.
“I know that Washington is a very,very solid football team from what I have seen on both offensiveand defensive sides of the ball. They have very good athletic ability,and they are playing well. When they lost to Arizona State,you didn’t know exactly what that meant, but it turned out Arizona Statehas an excellent, excellent football team. It was evidenced thefollowing week when they beat Nebraska. Since thatheartbreaking loss, 45-42, Washington has come back and won its last twogames against BYU and against Arizona. They playStanford this week, but they are a very, very complete football team.
“Washington seems to have very, very good chemistry and are playing with awful goodconfidence. We played them out there. We looked at that film. They did avery fine job on us both defensively and offensively. It was one ofthose games that we won the football game, you weren’t sure exactly howor why we won it.”
(On the offense) “The thing that is bothering me most about our offense is wehaven’t been able to get into a rhythm. We have haven’t been consistent and maybe we tried to do too manythings. I don’t know, but that is the one thing that we are going tolook at very, very strongly this week. Also, there is a possibility that Luke Petitgout orTim Ridder could possibly start at left tackle. There is some thingsthat we are going to go back and look at. We are going to find someanswers this week in practice and next week.
“It is not the effort ofthe football players by any stretch of the imagination. I thought theyplayed as hard as we have ever played. We just did not get into a rhythmon offense and we didn’t tackle or stop the third down. Three times OhioState had third and 7 to 9 on us, and all three times they converted. Wefelt that was one of the things we had to do going into that footballgame, was stop the third and plus 4. Third downs, we would have to beable to do that and we didn’t do it. Falling into a rhythm is reallyreally important. We haven’t been into a rhythm all year onoffense. I am talking about getting up to the line of scrimmage; spendingtoo much time on the line; just a variety of different things. And ifyou can’t get into a rhythm on offense, you really don’t have muchchance.
“So the receivers, the offensive tackle position, the safeties,are areas we are going to look at; plus just evaluating what we have todo on third down. And the other thing that has been very, verydisappointing has been our goal-line defense. We just haven’t playedgoal-line and I think these are all things you have to go back and lookat. So the open date comes at a very good time in the fact that you cango back and look at and evaluate. Comes at a disappointing time becausethe last thing you want is to have a week to sit on this. What questionscan I answer for you?”
Q.” Lou, you said the problem with the wide receivers is they are notbeating man-to-man coverage, but are they doing the little things likecoming back for the ball and breaking off their patterns when there is ablitz and moving with Ron and blocking downfield, things like that?”
COACH HOLTZ: “Everybody can understand thatwe have problems on man-to-man coverage where they do the little things,they are blocking, coming back to the ball, etcetera. We givegood effort and we do block downfield fairly well. But we don’t dolittle things the right way. You know, they have sideline markers therefor a reason. That means you are supposed to stay inside of that. But Ithink overall, we have probably blocked downfield better than wehave ever have.
“We dropped three, four passes last week. One ofthem was intercepted very easily, or probably should have beencaught. I don’t faulter blocking with the exception of the one missedblock down at Texas. We missed that block big time and Randy Kinder paida tremendous price for that. But other than that, we have blockedfairly well. We haven’t come back to the ball as well and wejust haven’t competed as well as what we would have to do againstman-coverage. We have been fairly successful in getting people open onzone. But that is a little bit different than man-coverage.
“You justhave to be able to beat man-coverage and the first thing to beatingman-coverage you have to get off the line of scrimmage. If they jam youand keep you on the line of scrimmage, you can’t get off the line ofscrimmage, you don’t have much chance to defeat them. And the best thingyou can to do to beat man-coverage is to threaten them to death withspeed. We don’t have that. But you can still beat man-coverage with goodtechiques that we do not have at the present time. I think Urban Meyerhas done an excellent job with our receivers other than the fact wecan’t beat man-coverage.”
Q. “Lou, you seem to think Deke might be one of your answers or part ofan answer at safety. Is there somebody we haven’t seen a lot of atreceiver, I mean, is Raki Nelson maybe ready to be able to be that guyat wide receiver?”
COACH HOLTZ: “Raki Nelson has to be on the field more. He is theone guy that has some quickness and some moxy. We are impressedwith him and he can very well possibly end up at flanker. Anotherindividual I hope will mature this week and I think has chance to be avery good receiver against man-coverage is Jay Johnson. So Jay Johnson,Raki Nelson are going to get an awful lot of work this week and we willjust have to see, but there is a good chance we will see Raki Nelson atflanker. I know for sure we are going to see him at flanker today.”
Q. “Lou, have the players recovered from the weekend and maybe developed a feeling that 10-1 wouldn’t be all that bad, or how do youread the team’s mental state at this point?”
COACH HOLTZ: “I visited withthem Sunday and I gave them ’til 3:30 to feel sorry for themselves and then it would be over. I have not seen the football teamsince then. We gave them off Monday. The NCAA rule is you must give themone complete day off. I will see them today. Whatwas their mood? I really don’t know what it will be. I can tell youthis: I know what it is going to be. I don’t know what it will be today,but I know what it is going to be…it is going to be, hey, you made acommitment to play; you love the game; you can’t change the past. Itjust move on. Nothing else you can do about it, move on.
“We don’t haveanybody to blame but ourselves. We got up there; we got a chance to takeour swing at the bat. We didn’t hit the ball. Go back to the dugout andwait for your turn again. That is — you know, not everything is goingto go your way. You don’t have any other alternative. I just could notand would be exceptionally disappointed if somebody dropped his head andsaid, well, the season is over. Maybe the National Championship is over.The season is not over. Not everything is going to go your way. Yeah, itwould have been great. But it didn’t. And that is over. Am I concerned?Yeah.”
Q. “You almost had an overtime gamelast week with Texas; fortunately for you guys, you didn’t. How do youfeel about that and do you feel going first is a disadvantage inovertime?”
COACH HOLTZ: “First of all, I was very much in favor ofovertime. I happened to be on the committee that first addressed it;then took it to the Football Coaches Association and I was in favor ofit. I have not been involved in overtime, but being involved in overtime– there is the possibility of it against Texas. I didn’t feel that thatwas in our best interest to have overtime.
“But let me tell you why Ithink it is good and then some of the drawbacks. I think it is goodbecause when you score with two minutes to go, you kick the extra point.You kick the extra point and say, well, we will decide it in overtime ifwe do not win it before then. Whereas, if you don’t have overtime, thenyou are almost forced to go for two, or you leave yourself exceptionallyvulnerable with all the second guessers, but more importantly, you haveto face your football team if they feel that you played for a tie.
“Ithink the greatest disservice you can give to the football team is toplay for a tie. So I think that takes a lot of the decision making thatwas unfair off a football coach late in the game. On overtime, I thinkovertime definitely gives an advantage to the team who has a good placekicker. Because you start on the 25 and if you don’t make any yards, youhave a good possibility to get three. Then that is going to force theother team to either score or get three as well. I think it isdefinitely an advantage to go on defense first. Let us say that you havefourth down and four. And you go first. You kick the field goal.
” Let ussay you make it. The other team — let us say that — let us say thatthe other team goes first and scores a touchdown. You have fourth andfour and you know they have a touchdown, you aren’t going to kick afield goal. You would have to go for it on fourth and 4 because thefield goal isn’t going to help you, so you know exactly what you need.
“Let us say the other team fumbles the ball in the second play anddoesn’t score and you get the ball, you run the ball three plays pick upsix yards, you are on the 19-yard line, you kick the field goal; you winthe game. But if the other team scores first and you know that youbetter score a touchdown or the game is over or the bare minimum youneed to have is a field goal and the game is over, you know exactly whatyou need. That makes an awful lot of difference, but I think it doesgive an advantage to the team that has the best field goal kicker.”
Q. “Can you explain what — so many people back on offense — why thisoffensive unit is having problems falling into a rhythm?”
COACHHOLTZ: Well, I think it’s a combination of things. First of all, ourguards are not back. Derrick Mayes is not back. Derrick Mayes receiveddouble coverage most of the time and now we don’t get that doublecoverage and so that extra defender is up on the line of scrimmage. Ithink you saw Texas. I think you saw Ohio State, so I thinkthat is a big difference on it as well. The guards are a little bitdifferent, although Rosenthal is playing awful, awful well. Rosenthal isplaying exceptionally well for a sophomore. I think he is playing very,very well at right guard. I feel very comfortable there. We have alittle problem at left guard, but I think the main difference is theforced double coverage that they provided on Derrick Mayes.”
Q. “Can you, in any way, estimate how much of the time Ohio State wasable to pretty much commit its safeties to run support because it didn’thave to worry about pass coverage?”
COACH HOLTZ: “Well what they did –they mixed it up pretty good, Phil. What they did, they had the safetyman about seven yards from the line of scrimmage. They had Springs andHoward lined up over the two slot men and they took the strong safety;put him at tightend; not getting technical, but most of the time or muchof the time they would play our two slot men man-to-man and then thesafety man would fill. Occasionally they would play it man-to-man andthe safety would just be free on passing downs and then sometimes they’dplay man-to-man, they’d bring that safety man up and they blitzed himand did the combination of things. They were not worried that, you know,we would throw the ball or go maximum protection and protect it whenthey were out there man on man and they did a very, very fine job.
“Theydid an awfully good job of not letting us off the line of scrimmage.That is the first thing. You got to be able to get off the line ofscrimmage against — Springs is an outstanding corner and Howard isvery, very good as well. But it was a big, big difference. Previously,when we put two wide receivers out on the same side people would go outthere and double cover Derrick Mayes and put three on two which openedup the running game. Initial thing that we wanted to do was by splittingpeople out, etcetera, was that they would go out there and they woulddouble cover. When they force double coverage, then you would haveadvantage of being able to run inside, but they are not doing that. Theyare just staying in there and lining you up man-to-man out there and wejust can’t get the ball to the wide receivers.
“You know, I thought thatwe went deep on them one time. I thought Ron made a great throw, youknow, but we just didn’t come down with the football, etcetera. But thisis something that we have to look at. And I’d like to be able tocontinue to mix it up and split people out and throw it but we are goingto have so see what Raki Nelson and Jay Johnson can do.”
Q. “Will there be less Blarney in that kind of thing because the widereceivers can’t make the threat stand up? I mean, is it ineffective?”
COACH HOLTZ: “No, we can’t be productive in throwing the ball out thereon a consistent basis. There just isn’t enough margin of error on itright now.”
Q. “Lou, in the past you have talked about the only thing being worsethan no confidence is false confidence. In light of the way your teamcame out in the pre-game which you were disappointed in, was there afalse confidence? Has false confidence built up when you win a game witha last second field goal?”
COACH HOLTZ: “That is really a goodquestion. I have tried to examine everything. The environment onthe campus last week was, you know, electric. And we have moredistractions when we play at home, unbelievable. I am talking about fromthe luncheon to everybody being on campus to the pep rally to everythingelse and yet I think that is all very, very important. And I think thatmaybe we didn’t handle that particularly well. Maybe we thought that wewould play well just because all that was there. I really don’t know.
“Wemade mistakes we normally don’t make. I can’t remember the last time thewhole right side didn’t collap — you look at it on film, you say, Idon’t believe that, but you know, sometimes you can’t explain things. Icould not explain this. Give me a psychiatrist. I need a psychiatrist.Maybe our players need a psychiatrist. I can could not explain whathappened. I have thought — I looked — I looked at practice,preparation, I have looked at everything. I just could not explain it. Iwish I could. I really do. And I am not stopping and looking for answersyet.”
Q. “You talked about man-coverage problem. Defense is afraid of the option orweary of the option. Is thatsomething we may see more of from you, the option play, because of theproblems you are having beating man-coverage, keeping defense honest?”
COACH HOLTZ: “There are three things we run into, seeing somethingdifferent than what they had done previously, but that is not unique. Weare used to that. The two things that we are seeing that is man-coveragemuch more not — you know, we are used to man-coverage with the freesafety double covering Derrick Mayes, or something like that, whichtakes one guy out of the running game.
“The other thing we are seeing isa lot of twist and everything else up inside, discombobulated when youare handing the ball off to the tailback. Now, why didn’t we see thatmuch in the past? Well, we always had one receiver that demanded doublecoverage. The other thing is that we ran enough option to discouragecertain types of coverages and the other thing we did was we ran somequick hitting plays which destroyed or discouraged the twist, etcetera.We ran 10 trap option, trap option pass plays last week. We went to itmore than we have in the last couple of years because of what they aredoing.
“Those 10 plays, we had 105 yards on those 10 plays and thatcounts a 40 yard incompletion that we dropped and had we caught itrunning in stride, it might have been 70. You are going to say, well, weran 10 plays and had 140 yards on those – which I think brings up, onceagain, that, you know, if that is what we have to do to discourage allthe man-coverage and the twists, etcetera, then we are going to see alittle bit more option than what we have. Is that what we would like todo? No.
“What we would like to be able to do is create big plays bysomebody playing us man-coverage and either running by him or running apost or forcing a cushion and catching a 6 yard hitch and breaking atackle and going for 40. But out of those 10 plays, we had three playsover 22 yards counting the dropped pass, three out of ten. We are goingto have to get some big plays and we probably will run a little bit moreoption. That is not what we would like to do but if that is what we areforced to do to win then that is what we are going to have.”
Q. “How much of your receivers’ inability to get open against man is tiedto just their not being experienced or quick enough and how much is it abreakdown in the pass protection?”
COACH HOLTZ: “I think it has more todo — they got us twice in the first half by bringing four to the splitside where the protection could not pick that up which they hadn’t donebefore and once we — you can get the protection, but you have got to beable to get off the line of scrimmage and run crossin routs and do somethings like that and we will work very, very hard on it. The best way tobeat man-coverage is speed…. Speed.
“We are talking about recruitingand we are talking about speed. The coach says he can really run,compared to his teammates. I want to know if he could really run thenhow is he doing in track. Well, he doesn’t run track. You know, I don’t– only people that run track are people that lose. I never liked track.I never won a race in my life, even with the girls. People could run andthey like track. So we need to get some track people. We need to getsome football receivers who run track. We do not need track people toplay wide receiver.”
Q. “Coach, Ron Powlus has gotten a lot of criticism in the last threeyears. I he had not come here with the hype that he had after highschool, do you think he would be getting as much criticism as he has nowand also some people have raised the question would he be better if hehad been in a pass oriented system; what do you think of that?”
COACHHOLTZ: “I think Ron is an excellent passer. I don’t think there is anydoubt about it. I thought that some of the throws he made Saturday underduress were tremendous. I think that, you know, you need to have greatreceivers in any passing game. I think that is an absolute necessity -people have to have a field and can get open, etcetera. And I feel badbecause I felt we would be able to get the receivers and build the typeof offense that would reveal his talents and abilities. I really did.And I feel bad about that. But he is an outstanding quarterback and heis going to play for a lot of years on the next level. There is nodoubt.”
Q. “Knowing what you know now and what you were able and were not able toget, would he have been better off at, say, a like a Florida or a BYU, amore pass-oriented offense?”
COACH HOLTZ: “Absolutely not. He is betteroff at Notre Dame because he is at Notre Dame. Seems like a goodquestion to end on.”
Q. Is this a trend do you think you are seeing with more 8 and 9 man –I guess 7 and 8 man fronts, do you think it is just against your team ordo you think it is more of something that is happening in collegefootball at a lot of places and if so, which team do you think maybestarted that trend?
COACH HOLTZ: “Well, I think Washington started thetrend with Emtman, and the year they won the National Championship withthe eight-man front and getting up there and blitzin and bringing 8 andthen droppin 8 and playing a lot of man-coverage and that is whatWashington does. We are going to face the same thing against Washington,we are going to face man-coverage. We are going to face an 8, 9-manfront, etcetera.
“Yeah, I think that most of the successful teams that dothat play an aggressive-type defense and jump all over you. When we gothurt is when we jumped up there — our front 7 — when you go back andlook at the film, our front 7 played awful well against an excellentoffensive line. They really did. Where we got hurt was third and 7, theyhit the guy on the slant on our safety. We had two safeties and wentdown to the one; next time they had third and 7 hit a tightend on anoutcut on our safety for a touchdown.
“You know — you have to do whatyour talents enables you to do. It’s an excellent defense. It is a greatchangeup and you have got to be able to do it. But you also have to beable to line up there and play good man-coverage. I got home late lastnight and turned on the second half of the Dallas Cowboy game. I have noidea what happened the first half. I don’t know how Rodney Peete gotinjured. Number 1, they did not throw at all to Deion Sanders’ side. No.2, Kevin Smith side, he played it pretty well. He let that one pass, butthey jumped on him, whether it be slant or quick and then they didn’teven hesitate to blitz him and created a couple of turnovers and cominghard at them.
“Same thing Dallas Cowboys is facing right now. You know,without a guy to get double coverage, they are bringing corners andsafeties and standing up there. Emmett Smith is having problems runningthe ball and he has got an all pro line. I know he is banged up a littlebit, but you take out Novacek and you take out Michael Irvin, you takethose two guys out of there and all of a sudden it is a differentoffense, different style. So, I mean, you know, the things we areexperiencing is not unique to Notre Dame. It is not because our lady ison the dome that we are having these problems. This is universal.”
Q. “With your defense are you putting more guys up on the line than inprevious years or the fact that you have sort of an inexperiencedsecondary, does that prevent you to be able to do that?”
COACH HOLTZ: “Wehave been more conservative than what we would like to be and I think itis a good very question. Against a team like Ohio State and even Texasto a certain extent, you are forced sometimes to jump up there inman-coverage to be able to get your extra man up there and yet it hashurt us at times as well when they have isolated safeties. The thingsthat I have been pleased with is how well our corners have played. Weput our corners out there, gee, they aren’t very big but boy, they haveresponded well.
“Our problem has been with the safeties and yet we don’tdo it a whole lot because of some of the problems we have there. So Ithought our front 7, for the most part, really played awful, awful well.With occasionally a guy here; a guy there. We got hurt a couple of timeswhere the guy ended up in the wrong gap or got reached and they went inthe secondary and instead of being it being seven or eight yards, youmiss a tackle and, boom, it is 33, 22, whatever else the case may be.”
Q. “Under the current Bowl alliance system only two at large spots withone loss now you are obviously still available, but is the pressure towin out the rest of the way going to hurt the team and also in the pastyou have talked about under a disappointing loss the importance of notlosing the team and where is this team in terms of something like that?”
COACH HOLTZ: “I think, first of all, you bring up a good point on thebowl situation, but I don’t even think about bowls. I worry about ourfootball team responding, and I tell you what, I think Washington hasgot excellent chance to win the Pac-10. I think you got threeoutstanding teams in the Pac-10, I think Arizona State, Washington,along with USC, obviously. And that would be interesting to seehow that thing folds out.
“The main concern I have is getting our teamready to play the University of Washington. I am scared to death of themoffensively and then I am really scared of the deficiencies that we haveon offense. I think sometimes when you lose, everything looks a littlebit darker, a little bit bleaker; now I am wondering can we make a firstdown the rest of the year. I have my serious doubts. Can we stopanybody? I see them split people out and an accurate quarterback andgood pass protection, you know, you get nightmares.
“I don’t expect tolose this football team, but it is always a concern. It is always aconcern. I don’t think there is any doubt, particularly after last week,particularly when you have some strong leadership and they had theirhearts set on a National Championship. And I never bothered todiscourage that. I think you ought to set high goals and I felt, okay,if it doesn’t happen, if we do stumble, if we do get beat, we wouldapproach it at that time. That is exactly the way I am doing it. We fellabout as far as we can fall and let us see where we can go from here.”
Q. “Against Ohio State you didn’t use any shotgun. You did use someagainst Texas. Some may have wondered whether that would have helped.Second, followup to Nancy’s question with Ron, there also seems to be apopular opinion that you are going to win more with a Jarious Jacksononce he gets the chance because of his mobility and option skillssimilar to Tony Rice; your reaction to that.”
COACH HOLTZ: “First of all,first part of the question on the shotgun, on most of our formations Ronhas the option to go into the gun automatically on his own even if Idon’t call it. One time I did call it, he got underneath the center.Sometimes he feels more comfortable under the center, but that is hisoption that he can go with the gun. I don’t think so at the presenttime, but if I felt Jarious Jackson gave us a better chance to win we woulddo that. Ron gives you very good field leadership. He is a very accuratethrower. He throws well. He protects the ball well. I don’t — I don’tknow what more, you know, looking back at the film, he played awfulwell. I mean, he really and truly did. He threw the one interceptionwhere they came with the blitz and we had a crossin rout and theydropped the middle guard. And that is my fault as much as anybody’s. Theother one, I mean, he hit the receiver in the hands on a critical pass.But no, he gives us the best chance to win – no doubt.”
Q. “You have probably publicly second-guessed yourself more than maybe youhave ever had at any time after this game about the decision to not togo for the field goal, the two-point conversion, do you find yourself –do you secondguess more as you are in the game longer or is it just thatis what happens after a loss?”
COACH HOLTZ: “I think that happens after aloss, but not as much as it has this time. Had we played well, maybe itwouldn’t. Geez, we didn’t play well, and it is sending you a message,what we’d do, how’d we do it and I have always felt – and this is not abad policy to have – when things don’t go well, you better look atyourself before you look at other people. And I think usually you willfind enough to correct within yourself that you don’t have time to geton other people.
“And the one thing that players didn’t need at thepresent time was being given the blame for something. I think that is myresponsibility on that, and I take it and I accept it. You know, we willtalk about certain things with the football team, etcetera. But weshould have never played that way. No way. As long as I have been incoaching I have never had a big game where we have played like that,ever. And I can’t shake it. I will never be able to shake that one. Youcan put me in the grave tomorrow; you can put me in the grave when I am103 – I hope not – I hope it is long before then, but I will never getrid of that one. That one will stay with me — when you ask me what gamedo you remember, I will remember that sucker.”
Q. “One last question on Ron. After Peyton Manning’s game againstFlorida, people were still talking no one people — people stillconsidering him for the Heisman. Yet Ron has a bad game; all of a suddenpeople talk about him as a failure. Why is that and is that fair?”
COACHHOLTZ: “You know as much about that as I do. You can answer that as wellas I can. I don’t — I don’t know what people are saying. I don’t readit and nor do I have time for it. I think that everybody always wants toevaluate somebody after every play or every game. I say when Ron Powlushangs up his cleats and says his football is over, evaluate his career atthat time and I think you will find that it will be exceptional when hislast game is done, period.”
Q. “Ohio State showed you two different quarterbacks and showed yourplayers, two different styles. Is that something unique to your playersand will you, in fact, perhaps do that with Ron and Jarious?”
COACHHOLTZ: “I think that they did — Jackson, you know, has very, very goodfeet and maneuvers around. The other one was — Germaine, he threw theball, I thought Jackson threw the ball well. The reason they alternateboth of them, I don’t think they can determine who is their No. 1quarterback. I think they have both have had tremendous success. I thinkthey played Jackson much more. But you know, I have never believed inalternating quarterbacks, but I do believe that in playing twoquarterbacks, but not alternating them.”
Q. “Do you or your coaching staff feel like you prepared for this timewhen you lose Derrick and some skilled people, by signing skilledplayers like Randy Moss or Leon Blunt and had you prepared for this andthings have fallen through and kind of a segway, is it harder now thanever to get the high impact, high skilled type of athlete into NotreDame given the academic standards here?”
COACH HOLTZ: “Well, I think No.1, that we knew that we would have to replace the Derrick Mayes andthere wasn’t any doubt that you look like Randy Moss would be the guythat you would go to that would compliment Derrick last year and then wehope we could compliment another one this year so you’d always have twoguys that could be big-play people. Sometimes everything doesn’t workout. As far as the admissions at Notre Dame, I don’t think there is anydoubt that it is much more difficult now to get into Notre Dame now thanit has ever been. I think that is attested to by the tremendous risethat Notre Dame has had academically.
“I think I have been very blessedto be here ten years for the most exciting time in Notre Dame’s history.I think people are going to look back at this 10 year period and say,you know, I don’t know if there has ever been a brighter ten years. WhatI am referring to is the academic success that this university hasenjoyed. You look at the aesthetic value. When I came here Juniper was astreet without a sidewalk. There wasn’t a paid parking lot on there. Nowyou look at the buildings. You look at the beauty. You drive down by thelake and you see the flowers. I mean, it is incredible. You see theaddition of the stadium. You see the, you know, the TV contract, thefund-raising, and I was asked on the Charlie Rose show yesterday, wouldI want to change it. No. That would be unfair to every student that hasbeen here. Notre Dame sets those policies.
“I do believe that you havesome years where there are some outstanding athletes that just don’thave a chance to come to Notre Dame, but you have some other years wherethere aren’t some outstanding athletes that have a chance to come toNotre Dame. I am talking about people who can run, and speed, etcetera.But also it takes an individual also to have his priorities in accordwith what Notre Dame offers. Notre Dame doesn’t offer apartment livingand big city living and throwing and catching year round. But, yeah, canNotre Dame compete? Absolutely. But I don’t think there is any doubtthat there have been some athletes that we had hoped to alleviate someof the problems that we have had that are not here. Other years theywould be here, possibly, or, you know, maybe sign a great receiver, agreat running back.
“We have a commitment from a couple of great athletesthat I think are going to have tremendous success here at Notre Dame andspeed is not going to be a problem after this year. Guaranteed. Onething, Notre Dame will run as well as anybody after this year;particularly at wide receiver and defensive back. You cannot win if youcannot run. And all great teams have big-play people and greatsecondaries and a good offensive line. And excellent defensive line anda good kicking game. You have got to be able to run. Okay, thank you.”