Sept. 22, 2002
Head football coach Tyrone Willingham addressed the media Sunday afternoon touching on a number of topics including the status of junior quarterback Carlyle Holiday, Notre Dame’s No. 10 ranking in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today Coaches Top 25 poll and new starting quarterback sophomore Pat Dillingham, who walked on the Irish team as a freshman in 2001.
Q. What is up with Carlyle Holiday?
A. Carlyle suffered a shoulder injury. We have labeled his progress as week to week. Not quite day-to-day but week-to-week.
Q. Is it likely Carlyle (Holiday) will play against Stanford or is there no way of estimating?
A. There is no way of estimating. We are hopeful that by the time our next ball game arises around, he will be able to play and if not, then Pat Dillingham will be our starter and will be our starter until Carlyle Holiday is ready to resume those responsibilities as our quarterback.
Q. How is Ryan Grant doing?
A. Ryan Grant is doing fine. He also has a shoulder injury. It has been on-going for a couple of weeks, but his status is closer to day-to-day.
Q. Will Carlyle be able to practice or will it be just treatment?
A. Initially it will be just treatment. I doubt that he will be practicing before we enter the weekend.
Q. Can you say whether it is a separation or a bruise?
A. I cannot and I would prefer not to.
Q. How is Carlyle’s mental state today?
A. He is upbeat, but I also think winning makes things a lot nicer. He is upbeat and eager to get back into the lineup.
Q. Who will back-up Pat Dillingham?
A. We have our freshman Chris Olsen, and also Matt Krueger, that will be the other candidates behind Pat. We will let our practice sessions and our thoughts on which should occupy that position as we progress during the week.
Q. At what point do you have to make the decision if Carlyle can’t go that Pat is going to be the guy so you can get Pat more reps?
A. That decision has already been made. It’s week-to-week on Carlyle and until Carlyle is back in the lineup, Pat is our quarterback.
Q. What is your reaction in being ranked No. 10 at this point?
A. I have no reaction. I will say one thing though. It is better for them to say good things about you than bad things.
Q. How would you evaluate Pat Dillingham’s performance after watching the tape?
A. As I said yesterday, Pat did a fine job. When you are first thrust into the lineup, it is always difficult to get a handle on everything, but he did an excellent job of that. I was very pleased with his progress during the game.
Q. In what way do you have to change the offense with Pat (Dillingham) in there?
A. We don’t. You just recognize that there are certain things that Carlyle adds to your offense in his ability to scramble. Pat doesn’t quite have those skills, but we will work within that structure. But our offense is able to highlight almost any individual with his talents.
Q. Last week, you said the bye week could come at a bad time because it might disrupt the momentum you had going. Do you still feel the same way now?
A. The bye week couldn’t come at a better time for us. But no, we would adjust. If it would have been last week, we would have adjusted to the circumstances. It just would have been different.
Q. How familiar were you with Pat (Dillingham) when you were at Stanford?
A. I did not see that much of Pat because we are limited in terms of how much we can go to watch players in your area. We didn’t did have many guys we recruited from that school because it is a feeder school for Stanford and you didn’t have much of a chance to get in athletically. Pat’s progress since he has been really strong. He seems to get more knowledgeable about our system every day and has a better handle on it. He plays with more confidence on a daily basis and has developed patience. That is what a quarterback has to do in this system – develop patience and an understanding of where he has to go with the ball in both the run game and the pass game.
Q. Yesterday I was looking to see some emotion from you after game and didn’t. Is that a conscious decision by you?
A. I think I did show a lot of emotion, but when it is on the sideline, the camera misses it most of the time. In the pressroom, there was a great deal of joy and excitement about winning that football game, and as I know it, football games are hard to win. It is just not an easy task to go out there and win a football game and especially with the level of competition we play. So no, I am very excited about winning.
Q. Talk about Maurice Stovall and what he did well.
A. It was obvious that Maurice Stovall stepped up and had some big plays for us. What you hope from a young man of Maurice’s stature is he gets stronger and stronger each time he is on the field and I think he is doing that. It has been a marvelous addition to our football team to have that type of big-play weapon in a big fellow.
Q. If Carlyle is not ready to play in two weeks, are you saying that Pat is definitely your quarterback or will Chris Olsen have a chance to be the quarterback?
A. Right now Pat is our quarterback. That decision has been made on what we have done to date. Pat is ahead. We will begin to work Chris in and give him more snaps based on Carlyle’s health. If tomorrow we wake up and Carlyle is ready to go, then that means Pat gets fewer snaps. Chris will be the one now to get the limited amount of snaps.
Q. Do you think Pat Dillingham could have received a Division I scholarship offer?
A. I think Pat just liked Notre Dame. I think there was something about it that was a drawing card to him and the opportunities here were inviting to hopefully gain a scholarship at some point. If you look back on it, he was right.
Q. Would you prefer to save a year of eligibility for Chris Olsen?
A. We have always used the same thought process…we will play our best players and if he is our best player at the time and his contribution is necessary to make this team successful, then we will use him.
Q. How close is Chris to Pat?
A. Honestly, he hasn’t had that many reps lately. We’ll see as we start to give him more snaps.
Q. Did Carlyle help Pat after he was injured?
A. I am not sure but I think I heard something that suggested that Pat asked Carlyle a couple of questions.
Q. Does Carlyle have the ability to adopt an assistant coach mentality?
A. He does because his eyes see things differently than a coach. He’s a guy who is actively going through it. If anything, he will be able to provide Pat with a similar experience as to how they are working through the system.
Q. Will there be some special things for Pat that come with being in this situation?
A. You always say to a guy in this situation that the most difficult times are getting ready to arrive for them. When you are thrust into the lineup the emotions of the moment take over. Now what happens is, he gets all the calls from his relatives, old girlfriends who hadn’t paid attention to him will pay attention to him now, media will find him. He will have to put all of that aside and concentrate on what he does. The discipline and focus will be critical as he prepares to play a football game. Before he never had to worry about any of those things.