Sept. 25, 2002
by Kevin Herrity
Even though Notre Dame has no game this weekend, there is still a lot of attention surrounding its football team. The 4-0 Irish find themselves on the cover of Sports Illustrated which is supposed to be a jinx, but don’t tell that to Irish head coach Tyrone Willingham.
“There is no jinx, because if there was, Tiger Woods would be in serious trouble.”
This week’s cover has Notre Dame freshman wide receiver Maurice Stovall catching the first touchdown pass of the season against Michigan State with the headline reading “Return To Glory.” Stovall has come a long way since first stepping foot on the playing field.
“Maurice, like most freshman, had to come in and first learn the system, Willingham said.
“Up until two months ago, he knew very little about the system. Maurice is going from not knowing to finally being able to understand how it all fits together. Each day Maurice becomes a little more knowledgeable, and the more knowledgeable you are, the more physical you become, and the more physical you become, the more plays you make. It is a very nice cycle you begin to create, especially if you have some ability, and Maurice certainly has ability.”
All of this attention also helps with recruiting, and so does the off week which enables the coaching staff to do some traveling and take a look at some of the countries finest high school football prospects.
“We usually take bye weeks to enhance our ability to get out and look at prospects, and see exactly what they are, where they are and exactly what they are doing. “
Recruiting is not the only thing on the agenda for the Fighting Irish during this off week. It also serves a lot of other purposes.
“One thing this week helps us do is get healthy as we approach our game preparation week. Two, we try to make sure we keep our rhythm. Even though we don’t have a game, we still like to get out and do the things that will make us a better football program.”
The Irish will have one more practice this week and then will have Friday and Saturday off before they begin their preparation for the Stanford Cardinal on Sunday.