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Willingham Prepares For The Run And Teyo Johnson

Oct. 2, 2002

by Kevin Herrity

This Saturday, the 4-0 Fighting Irish of Notre Dame will play host to the 1-2 Stanford Cardinal. Stanford will be arriving at Notre Dame with the mindset that they have something to prove to the nation after they were defeated last weekend by Arizona State 65-24. The Irish on the other hand will be trying to pick things up where they left off after defeating Michigan State 21-17 on Sept. 21. Head coach Tyrone Willingham believes the Irish will see a completely different Stanford team this weekend than what they saw on tape.

“We know that we will not see the same Stanford team that we saw last weekend. They are too fine of a skill team to have that kind of performance. They are a team that is averaging around 38 points a ballgame, and I believe they have one of the best offenses in the Pac-10.”

Stanford’s offense is not the only thing that is on Coach Willingham’s mind.

“When I left Stanford, we had one of the better run defenses in the Pac-10. I think that is also the case this year. I believe they are holding teams under 100 yards rushing. So when you can do those things as a team, you are going to put yourself in a position to win ballgames.”

The Irish secondary will have its hands full again this weekend in facing Cardinal receiver Teyo Johnson. So far this year through three games this year Johnson has recorded 16 receptions for 245 yards and four touchdowns. Johnson, who stands 6-7 and weighs in at 245 pounds, gives the Irish a different look than what they saw against Michigan State’s Charles Rogers.

“The body type of Teyo Johnson is not one you see all of the time, and if you do see it, it is on a tight end,” Willingham says.

“Teyo Johnson has great speed, great hands and great competitive instincts. He also shows a natural ability to go for the football so we expect a fierce competition this weekend.”

The game on Saturday marks the 17th meeting between the two teams, with Notre Dame holding the series advantage at 10-6. The Irish will be trying to prevent history from happening by not losing back-to-back games to the Cardinal. The game will be televised on NBC with kickoff scheduled for 1:30 p.m. EST at Notre Dame Stadium.