Previewing The Navy Game....
The Date: Saturday, November 2, 1996
The Time: 1:00 p.m. in Dublin (8:00 a.m. EST)
The Site: Croke Park (55,000/grass) in Dublin, Ireland.
The Television Plans: CBS Sports national delayed telecast with Tim Ryan (play-by-play), Phil McConkey (analysis), Andrea Joyce (sideline) and Lance Barrow (producer). The game will be broadcast by CBS at noon EST.
The Radio Plans: For the 29th consecutive season Notre Dame football games are broadcast nationally on radio by the Mutual/Westwood One Radio Network with Tony Roberts (play-by-play) and Tom Pagna (analysis), while sports director Larry Michaels serves as pregame and halftime host. The Mutual Network includes nearly 300 stations and many of the games receive worldwide exposure on the Armed Forces Radio Network.
The Injury Report:
OUT: FS Jarvis Edison (sprained knee vs. Air Force); OG Mike Rosenthal (broken ankle vs. Air Force, out at least four weeks)
The Series: Notre Dame vs. Navy: Notre Dame
leads it 59-9 (with one tie) in the longest continuous
intersectional rivalry in the country. The Irish and Middies
have met every year since 1927 and this marks the 70th straight
season the two teams have squared off. Notre Dame has won 32
straight in the series, dating back to 1963 when Roger Staubach
helped Navy defeat Notre Dame 35-14 in Notre Dame Stadium. Notre
Dame's 32 straight wins over Navy tie the longest current NCAA
streak by one team over another in a series (tied with 32 by
Oklahoma over Kansas in 1937-68), but an Irish victory in '96
would hand the mark to Notre Dame by itself. Lou Holtz is 11-0
vs. Navy in his career, including a win in '82 during his tenure
The Last Meeting: Eighth-rated Notre Dame overcame a 17-14 third-period deficit and a season-ending injury to QB Ron Powlus to defeat Navy 35-17 in '95 at Notre Dame Stadium. The Irish defense gave up 303 total yards in the first half -- but forced five second-half Navy turnovers and permitted only 14 net rushing yards after halftime to take control. Powlus broke his left arm early in the third period, but backup QB Thomas Krug came on to throw TD passes of 42 and two yards to Derrick Mayes within a 1:30 span in the third period. He completed five of eight throws for 90 yards and the two TDs overall. Freshman TB Autry Denson ran 24 yards for the final Irish points on his way to a 115-yard rushing effort. LB Lyron Cobbins sparked the defense with an interception, a recovered fumble and a forced fumble, while Paul Grasmanis made 13 tackles.
The Head Coach: Lou Holtz is in his 11th season with the Irish with an overall 212-94-7 (.688) record. His 27-year collegiate record includes three years at William & Mary (13-20, .394, 1969-71), four at North Carolina State (33-12-3, .719, 1972-75), seven at Arkansas (60-21-2, .394, 1977-83), two at Minnesota (10-12, .455, 1984-85) and 11 at Notre Dame (96-29-2, .764, 1986-96). * After Open Dates: Lou Holtz stands 10-2 during his Notre Dame career coming off open dates -- including wins vs. #2 Michigan in Ann Arbor in '89, #19 USC in Los Angeles in '92, #1 Florida State in South Bend in '93 and #16 Washington in South Bend in '96. Holtz's only losses have come vs. Florida State in Orlando in '94 and at Pittsburgh in '87. His career mark after open dates is 13-7, including 1-0 at North Carolina State and 2-5 at Arkansas (four of those losses to Texas teams ranked #12 or higher).
The Air Force Review: Eighth-ranked Notre Dame was held to 67 net rushing yards (lowest total during the Lou Holtz era and the smallest total since 56 vs. Purdue in '85) as two late turnovers spelled doom for the Irish in a 20-17 overtime win by Air Force in Notre Dame Stadium. Ron Powlus had his most productive day of the season throwing the football, completing his first seven throws (giving him a Notre Dame record 11 straight completions dating back to the Washington game when he hit his last four) on his way to a 16-of-24 day for a season-high 268 yards. But, with the score tied at 17, the Irish fumbled the ball away after reaching the Falcon 30 with six minutes left in the game. Then, on the first play of overtime, the Irish fumbled again, and Air Force responded with a 27-yard field goal on third down to win the game.
Vs. the Top 25: Notre Dame stands 15-8-1 in Notre Dame Stadium in games played against Associated Press top 25 opponents during the Lou Holtz era (compared to 18-12-1 away - including 5-4 in bowls - for 33-20-2 overall in Holtz era).
Playing on the Road: The Irish traditionally have been tough on the road, with Notre Dame's win at Michigan State in 1994 setting an all-time Irish record of 16 straight victories away from home. Since that game, though, Notre Dame stands 6-5-1 on the road, with wins coming at Purdue, Washington, Army and Air Force in '95, then Vanderbilt and Texas in '96.
A Tour Guide: If the Notre Dame traveling party needs directions in Dublin, it can turn to Irish athletic director Michael Wadsworth, a Toronto native who spent five years in Dublin as Canadian ambassador to Ireland immediately prior to coming to Notre Dame in 1995.
International Experience: Notre Dame's only previous football game played outside the United States came on Nov. 24, 1979, when the Irish posted a 40-15 win over Miami in the Mirage Bowl played at National Olympic Stadium in Tokyo in front of 62,574 fans. In that contest, Vagas Ferguson ran 35 times for 177 yards and three TDs -- as Notre Dame completed only one pass (on eight attempts) in the driving rain. Notre Dame's only other international experience came in 1971 when the Irish freshman football team played in Mexico City, Mexico.
The Travel Plans:
More Notes on Dublin: This marks the third college game played in Dublin following a Boston College win over Army (38-24) in 1988 and a Pittsburgh win over Rutgers (45-29) in 1989, both played at Lansdown Stadium . . . The Notre Dame Alumni Flag Football team will take on Navy's alumni team at 3:00 p.m. Nov. 1 in Dublin at the RDS Showgrounds . . . For Croke Park, this marks the first time a non-Gaelic sporting event has been played there . . . The Navy-Notre Dame contest is expected to be the largest single tourist event ever in Ireland, with more than 8,000 tour packages sold in the United States and more than 10,000 fans expected from overseas . . . The Notre Dame traveling party will include 85 players and 125 band members.
The Banquet: Former Irish football All-American Chris Zorich, now with the Chicago Bears, will serve as guest speaker at the 77th annual Notre Dame Football Banquet. The banquet, sponsored by the Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley, will be held on Friday, December 6, 1996, in the north dome of the Joyce Center on the University of Notre Dame campus. A reception on the concourse begins at 5:45 p.m. EST and the dinner begins at 7:00 p.m., with Notre Dame athletic director Mike Wadsworth slated to serve as master of ceremonies. Tickets are $33 each and are available only by mail. Checks should be made payable to University of Notre Dame Football Banquet and should be mailed to Ticket Office, Joyce Center, Notre Dame, IN 46556. Tickets will be mailed approximately one week prior to the banquet. Any questions should be directed to the Notre Dame athletic department at 219-631-6107. In addition to the dinner, all senior members of the '96 Irish team will be available for autographs on the concourse during the reception. There also will be a silent auction of Notre Dame football photographs and memorabilia during the reception. Zorich, out for the entire '96 season due to a preseason knee injury, has been a starter for the Bears at defensive tackle each of the last three seasons. He's a 1991 Notre Dame graduate who won the Lombardi Award in 1990 as the top interior lineman in college football and was a two-time All-American.
NCAA Stat Rankings This Week: Through games of Oct. 19, 1996
The Rankings - Here's where Notre Dame has stood in the polls during the '96 season:
Date Associated Press USA Today/CNN
Preseason 6th 7th
Aug. 25 6th no poll
Sept. 1 6th 7th
Sept. 8 9th 10th
Sept. 15 9th 9th
Sept. 22 5th 5th
Sept. 29 11th 14th
Oct. 6 11th 12th
Oct. 13 8th 9th
Oct. 20 19th 20th
Lou Holtz File:
Career Record (Years) -- 212-94-7 (27th)
Record at ND (Years) -- 96-29-2 (11th)
ND Home Games 49-13-1
ND Road Games 47-16-1
ND August Games 1-0-0
ND September Games 32-7-1
ND October Games 35-8-0
ND November Games 23-10-1
ND January Games 5-4-0
ND decided by a TD or less 20-17-2
ND decided by a FG or less 8-11-2
Score At The End Of Quarters
ND leads after one quarter 64-9-2
ND leads at the half 70-10-1
ND leads after three quarters 82-5-1
By First Score
ND scores first 65-14-2
Opponent scores first 31-15-0
All-Time ND Coaching Wins
Rk Name Seasons Wins
1. Knute Rockne 13 105
2. Lou Holtz 11 96
3. Ara Parseghian 11 95
4. Frank Leahy 11 87
5. Dan Devine 6 53
All Time ND Games Coached
Rk Name Games Coached
1. Lou Holtz 127
2. Knute Rockne 122
3. Ara Parseghian 116
4. Frank Leahy 107
Winningest Active NCAA Division I-A Coaches
Rk Name Wins
1. Joe Paterno, Penn State 278
2. Bobby Bowden 259
3. Tom Osborne, Nebraska 231
4. LaVell Edwards, Brigham Young 214
5. Hayden Fry, Iowa 213
6. Lou Holtz, Notre Dame 208
7. Jim Sweeney, Fresno State 196
8. Johnny Majors, Pittsburgh 181
9. Don Nehlen, West Virginia 168
10. Al Molde, Western Michigan 166
Note: Numbers entering the 1996 season.
Ron Powlus File:
G-GS PA-PC TD-Int. Pct. Yds.
1994 11-11 222-119 19-9 .536 1729
1995 10-10 217-124 12-7 .571 1853
1996 6-6 154-88 6-3 .571 1197
Total 27-27 583-331 37-19 .567 4779
Game PA-PC TD-Int. Yds.
*Northwestern 24-18 4-0 291
*Michigan 27-15 2-0 187
*Michigan State 30-10 2-4 161
*Purdue 14-9 1-0 111
*Stanford 14-11 3-0 166
*Boston College 21-5 0-2 50
*BYU 22-12 1-1 212
*Navy 8-4 2-0 126
*Florida State 22-9 1-2 83
*Air Force 18-13 2-0 227
*USC 22-13 1-0 115
1995 Fiesta Bowl
*Colorado 34-18 3-1 259
Game PA-PC TD-Int. Yds.
*Northwestern 26-17 0-0 175
*Purdue 25-17 4-2 252
*Vanderbilt 18-13 0-0 200
*Texas 28-16 2-1 273
*Ohio State 26-13 0-1 243
*Washington 28-12 2-1 197
*Army 19-8 1-1 189
*USC 29-18 1-1 189
*Boston College 10-6 1-0 71
*Navy 8-4 1-0 64
Air Force DNP
1996 Orange Bowl
Florida State DNP
Game PA-PC TD-Int. Yds.
*Vanderbilt 32-19 0-0 216
*Purdue 32-19 1-1 238
*Texas 24-13 1-0 127
*Ohio State 30-13 1-2 154
*Washington 12-8 3-0 194
*Air Force 24-16 0-0 268
Most Single-Season Touchdown Passes -- 19, 1994
Most Single-Game Touchdown Passes -- 4 vs. Northwestern, 1994; vs. Purdue, 1995
Most Career Passing Yards Per Game -- 177.0 (4,779 yards in 27 games), 1994-96
Most Career Touchdown Passes Per Game -- 1.37 (37 in 27 games), 1994-96
ND Career Passing Charts
Career Passing Yards
1. Steve Beuerlein 6527
2. Rick Mirer 5997
3. Ron Powlus 4779
Career Pass Attempts
1. Steve Beuerlein 850
2. Rick Mirer 698
3. Blair Kiel 609
4. Ron Powlus 583
Career Pass Completions
1. Steve Beuerlein 473
2. Rick Mirer 377
3. Ron Powlus 331
Career Completion Percentage
1. Kevin McDougal .622
2. Joe Theismann .570
3. Ron Powlus .568
4. Steve Beuerlein .556
5. Tom Clements .541
Career Touchdown Passes
1. Rick Mirer 41
2. Ron Powlus 37
3. Joe Theismann 31
The Rankings - Here's where Notre Dame has stood in the polls during the '96 season: Date Associated Press USA Today/CNN Preseason 6th 7th Aug. 25 6th no poll Sept. 1 6th 7th Sept. 8 9th 10th Sept. 15 9th 9th Sept. 22 5th 5th Sept. 29 11th 14th Oct. 6 11th 12th Oct. 13 8th 9th Oct. 20 19th 20th
Lou Holtz File: Career Record (Years) -- 212-94-7 (27th) Record at ND (Years) -- 96-29-2 (11th) By Site ND Home Games 49-13-1 ND Road Games 47-16-1 By Month ND August Games 1-0-0 ND September Games 32-7-1 ND October Games 35-8-0 ND November Games 23-10-1 ND January Games 5-4-0 By Margin ND decided by a TD or less 20-17-2 ND decided by a FG or less 8-11-2 Score At The End Of Quarters ND leads after one quarter 64-9-2 ND leads at the half 70-10-1 ND leads after three quarters 82-5-1 By First Score ND scores first 65-14-2 Opponent scores first 31-15-0 All-Time ND Coaching Wins Rk Name Seasons Wins 1. Knute Rockne 13 105 2. Lou Holtz 11 96 3. Ara Parseghian 11 95 4. Frank Leahy 11 87 5. Dan Devine 6 53 All Time ND Games Coached Rk Name Games Coached 1. Lou Holtz 127 2. Knute Rockne 122 3. Ara Parseghian 116 4. Frank Leahy 107 Winningest Active NCAA Division I-A Coaches Rk Name Wins 1. Joe Paterno, Penn State 278 2. Bobby Bowden 259 3. Tom Osborne, Nebraska 231 4. LaVell Edwards, Brigham Young 214 5. Hayden Fry, Iowa 213 6. Lou Holtz, Notre Dame 208 7. Jim Sweeney, Fresno State 196 8. Johnny Majors, Pittsburgh 181 9. Don Nehlen, West Virginia 168 10. Al Molde, Western Michigan 166 Note: Numbers entering the 1996 season. Ron Powlus File: G-GS PA-PC TD-Int. Pct. Yds. 1994 11-11 222-119 19-9 .536 1729 1995 10-10 217-124 12-7 .571 1853 1996 6-6 154-88 6-3 .571 1197 Total 27-27 583-331 37-19 .567 4779 1994 Game-By-Game Game PA-PC TD-Int. Yds. *Northwestern 24-18 4-0 291 *Michigan 27-15 2-0 187 *Michigan State 30-10 2-4 161 *Purdue 14-9 1-0 111 *Stanford 14-11 3-0 166 *Boston College 21-5 0-2 50 *BYU 22-12 1-1 212 *Navy 8-4 2-0 126 *Florida State 22-9 1-2 83 *Air Force 18-13 2-0 227 *USC 22-13 1-0 115 1995 Fiesta Bowl *Colorado 34-18 3-1 259 1995 Game-By-Game Game PA-PC TD-Int. Yds. *Northwestern 26-17 0-0 175 *Purdue 25-17 4-2 252 *Vanderbilt 18-13 0-0 200 *Texas 28-16 2-1 273 *Ohio State 26-13 0-1 243 *Washington 28-12 2-1 197 *Army 19-8 1-1 189 *USC 29-18 1-1 189 *Boston College 10-6 1-0 71 *Navy 8-4 1-0 64 Air Force DNP 1996 Orange Bowl Florida State DNP 1996 Game-By-Game Game PA-PC TD-Int. Yds. *Vanderbilt 32-19 0-0 216 *Purdue 32-19 1-1 238 *Texas 24-13 1-0 127 *Ohio State 30-13 1-2 154 *Washington 12-8 3-0 194 *Air Force 24-16 0-0 268 *games started Record Book Most Single-Season Touchdown Passes -- 19, 1994 Most Single-Game Touchdown Passes -- 4 vs. Northwestern, 1994; vs. Purdue, 1995 Most Career Passing Yards Per Game -- 177.0 (4,779 yards in 27 games), 1994-96 Most Career Touchdown Passes Per Game -- 1.37 (37 in 27 games), 1994-96 ND Career Passing Charts Career Passing Yards Name Number 1. Steve Beuerlein 6527 2. Rick Mirer 5997 3. Ron Powlus 4779 Career Pass Attempts Name Number 1. Steve Beuerlein 850 2. Rick Mirer 698 3. Blair Kiel 609 4. Ron Powlus 583 Career Pass Completions Name Number 1. Steve Beuerlein 473 2. Rick Mirer 377 3. Ron Powlus 331 Career Completion Percentage Name Pct. 1. Kevin McDougal .622 2. Joe Theismann .570 3. Ron Powlus .568 4. Steve Beuerlein .556 5. Tom Clements .541 Career Touchdown Passes Name Number 1. Rick Mirer 41 2. Ron Powlus 37 3. Joe Theismann 31
Stats and Rankings Through Six Games: Notre Dame's 19 TD drives in '96 have averaged 67.2 yards and 7.3 plays each, with two of the drives vs. Purdue covering 90 and 92 yards. Against Texas, the Irish ran seven or more plays on eight of their 11 possessions. Against Washington, the Irish had four TD drives of 80 or more yards. Here are a few measures of how effective Notre Dame's defense has been so far in '96: -- Against Vanderbilt, the Irish limited Vandy to one drive of more than five plays (that was eight), 10 of the Commodore 14 possessions produced six yards or less and three produced negative yardage. -- Against Purdue, the Irish held the Boilers to seven straight drives producing nine yards or less at one stretch, limited Purdue to only one drive of more than six plays and produced two with negative yardage. -- Against Texas, the Irish held the Longhorns to eight of 11 possessions with seven or fewer plays, three drives with negative yardage and six possessions producing 16 yards or less (including only 111 net yards in the second half). -- Against Ohio State, the Irish held the Buckeyes to eight drives of 21 yards or less (including only 108 net yards, five first downs and two pass completions in the second half). -- Against Washington, the Irish produced five sacks, limited the Huskies to 12 completions on 35 pass attempts and didn't permit Washington to make its second first down until six minutes remained in the first half. -- Against Air Force, the Irish limited the Falcons to 51 passing yards.
* Notre Dame has played in front of capacity crowds in 84 of its last 95 games, including 22 of the previous 23 prior to a less-than-capacity crowd in the '96 Orange Bowl vs. Florida State. Both the crowds at Vanderbilt and Texas in '96 were record figures for those stadia.
* The 1998 Notre Dame-Navy football game is headed for the Washington Redskins' new 78,600-seat stadium to open in 1997 in Prince George's County, Maryland.
* During the Lou Holtz era, Notre Dame has returned 12 kickoffs, 12 punts (one blocked), 14 interceptions and three fumbles for touchdowns -- compared to only one punt (in '86) and three interceptions for opponents.
* The Irish have scored right before the end of the first half in three of their six games to date: Vanderbilt - Notre Dame took over at its own three with 4:19 left and drove 82 yards in 14 plays to a 33-yard Jim Sanson field goal with :05 left in the first half. Purdue - Notre Dame took over at its own 44 with :43 left and drove 56 yards in five plays, with Autry Denson catching a 10-yard TD pass from Ron Powlus with :02 left in the first half. Texas - Notre Dame took over at its own 37 with 2:37 left and drove 63 yards in seven plays, with Powlus throwing to Marc Edwards for a three-yard score with :27 left in the first half.
* Notre Dame has held 22 of its last 47 opponents to 100 or less rushing yards, including Vanderbilt (two yards) and Purdue (44 yards) in 1996.
* Notre Dame's rushing attack has ranked 20th or better
nationally nine years running under Holtz:
Scouting the Irish Offense:
LINE -- Notre Dame prospects up front boded well for a solid running game in '96, despite the graduation loss of veterans Dusty Zeigler and Ryan Leahy from a year ago. With four of five '96 starters tipping the scales at better than 300 pounds, the Irish depend on the experience of senior tackles Mike Doughty (24 career starts) and Chris Clevenger (21 career starts), senior guard Jeremy Akers (20 career starts), sophomore guard Mike Rosenthal (a future all-star for the Irish, he switched from tackle to become a starter at guard -- though he broke his left ankle vs. Air Force and is lost for a month) and senior center Rick Kaczenski (17 consecutive starts). Plus, Doughty, Clevenger and Kaczenski all have another year of eligibility available, should they choose to apply for it. Akers started at LG vs. Vanderbilt in the opener, sophomore Jerry Wisne got the nod vs. Purdue, then Akers returned to the starting lineup vs. Texas, Ohio State, Washington and Air Force -- though Wisne played extensively vs. the Buckeyes. Look for Alex Mueller to fill in in Rosenthal's absence.
BACKS -- The Irish boast a blue-chip parade of backs, led by QB Ron Powlus ("He's the best quarterback I've been around," says Lou Holtz of Powlus, who needs five TD passes to break Rick Mirer's Irish career record of 41; he's 88 of 154 for 1197, 6 TDs, 3 ints. in '96), TB Randy Kinder (Notre Dame's eighth-best career rusher at 2,204 yards; he missed Vanderbilt and Purdue games with pulled right quadricep, then returned to help with 51 yards on eight carries vs. Texas, then 11 for 60 and 1 TD vs. Washington) and Robert Farmer (27 for 177, 2 TDs, including 10 for 41 vs. Vanderbilt in first career start, an 18-yard TD run on his only first-half carry vs. Texas -- then 7 for 68 and a TD vs. Washington) and unselfish FB Marc Edwards (1,476 career rushing yards; top returning receiver from '95 with 25 for 361, 3 TDs; 67 for 266, 4 TDs rushing in '96; 13 catches for 153, 2 TDs in '96). The Irish started sophomore Autry Denson at flanker vs. Vanderbilt, but the loss of Kinder and seven fumbles overall vs. Vanderbilt (four lost) prompted the Irish to move him to TB to start beginning vs. Purdue. He remains the leading Irish rusher (105 for 521, 4 TDs; 8 catches for 102, 1 TD) after carrying for a career-high 158 yards vs. Texas, including a six-yard scoring run on fourth down to tie the game at 24 in the fourth period. He added his fifth career 100-yard effort vs. Washington with 14 for 137 and one score.
RECEIVERS -- If Notre Dame had a question mark on offense coming into '96, it was at the wide receiver slots, especially following the loss of big-play artist Derrick Mayes from the split end spot. Senior split end starter Emmett Mosley is the most experienced of the wide receivers, with 38 career catches to his credit (14 for 176 in '96, including 6 for 55 vs. Vanderbilt; 17 for 268 in '95). Also in the wide receiver mix are junior Malcolm Johnson (18 for 290, 1 TD after making his first career starts at SE vs. Purdue, Texas, Ohio State, Washington and Washington), and freshman Raki Nelson (6 for 68). Sophomore Shannon Stephens moved over to receiver from the secondary two weeks into the season and had three catches for 93 yards and a TD vs. Washington, then two for 32 vs. Air Force. Tight end is a strong point, with potential all-star Pete Chryplewicz (18 for 215, 2 TDs, including a career-high 5 vs. Purdue for 52, then 3 for 41, 2 TDs vs. Washington, 3 for 70 vs. Air Force; 17 for 204, 1 TD in '95) returning.
Scouting the Irish Defense:
LINE -- Fifth-year veteran end Renaldo Wynn (34 career starts), probably Notre Dame's most consistent defensive player in '95 (32 tackles, 4.5 sacks, three tackles for loss, including 8 tackles, 2 sacks vs. Washington), is joined by two players who did not play at all in '95. Senior DE Melvin Dansby (made first career start vs. Vanderbilt and had 5 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, a shared sack -- then had 7 tackles and a stop for loss vs. Purdue, registered seven tackles vs. Washington, then 10 vs. Air Force) missed all of '95 after May '95 neck surgery but possesses all-star potential. Noseguard Alton Maiden (4 tackles vs. Purdue, 8 vs. Ohio State, 9 vs. Air Force) missed the '95 campaign while improving his academic standing and has been the starter at that spot in all of '96.
LINEBACKERS -- Notre Dame appears in great shape here, with seniors Lyron Cobbins (21 career starts; Notre Dame's leading tackler, interceptor and fumble recoverer in '95; made key interception in final minutes vs. Texas to set up tying TD; leads team with 52 tackles overall in '96 including team-high 12 vs. Ohio State and team-hiogh 13 vs. Air Force) and Kinnon Tatum (team-leading 8 tackles vs. Purdue, team-high 11 vs. Texas, 8 vs. Air Force; second on Irish with 47 tackles in '96; 77 tackles in '95) inside, to go with senior Bert Berry (team-leading 5.5 sacks in '96; 7 tackles, 2 sacks vs. Vanderbilt; 4 tackles, 1 sack, 1 tackle for loss vs. Purdue; 6 tackles, a PBU and TFL vs. Texas; 7 tackles, 2/5 sacks and 2 PBU vs. Air Force; 29 career starts) and sophomore Kory Minor (started 11 games as freshman in '95) outside. All four are returning standouts and should have major impacts in '96. Among others slated to make solid contributions are sophomores Bobbie Howard inside and Lamont Bryant outside.
BACKS -- Like the wide receiving corps on offense, Notre Dame's question on defense is in the secondary. Small but sticky junior CB regulars Allen Rossum (11 tackles vs. Texas; two int. returns for TDs in '95) and Ivory Covington (10 tackles vs. Texas; made game-saving tackle on late two-point attempt by Army in '95) anchor the group. Neither FS starter Jarvis Edison (7 tackles vs. Purdue; 1 int. vs. Vanderbilt; he scored a TD vs. Vanderbilt in '95 after picking up a fumble on a kickoff) nor sophomore SS A'Jani Sanders (caused a fumble vs. Vanderbilt; 4 tackles, 2 PBU vs. Purdue) had started a game before the '96 opener -- and the Vanderbilt game marked Sanders' first-ever game appearance. However, the Irish looked to Benny Guilbeaux at strong safety after Sanders suffered a knee ligament injury early vs. Texas, though Sanders is listed as probable for this week vs. Navy. Guilbeaux made his first career start vs. Ohio State and responded with seven solo tackles, then added 10 vs. Air Force. With Shannon Stephens moving to wide receiver and Deke Cooper switching to free safety, the Irish now have only seven healthy defensive backs on scholarship. Cooper earned the starts at FS vs. Washington and Air Force, with Edison bothered by back spasms and a sprained knee, and responded with an interception on the third play from scrimmage vs. Washington.
Scouting the Irish Kicking Game: Punter Hunter Smith had an average rookie season in '95 (36.4 average) but has improved those numbers to 43.85 so far in '96. Placekicker Scott Cengia (10 of 14 in career FGs) held a slight edge in that category over freshman Jim Sanson coming into the season, but it was Cengia who missed an early FG attempt vs. Vanderbilt and Sanson who came on to connect from 32 and 33 yards. Then Sanson took center stage with his game-winning 39-yarder vs. Texas as time ran out. He added a 26-yarder vs. Ohio State and a 27-yarder vs. Washington, leaving him at six of eight for '96. Kickoff returner Allen Rossum (his 99-yard return vs. Purdue marked the fourth-longest in Irish history -- and his second career punt return vs. Air Force went for 57 yards and a TD) is the fastest man on the Irish roster ('95 NCAA indoor track All-American in the 55 meters), while Autry Denson augments his all-purpose role by returning punts. Look for Emmett Mosley to help at both spots.
The Spread Offense: Irish coach Lou Holtz unveiled a spread offense against Florida State in the '96 Orange Bowl and delivered on his promise to offer it again in '96. Drawbacks to its developments were the absence of QB Ron Powlus during spring drills and the lack of a proven receiving corps. Even now, Holtz says one key to its potential use is the productivity at receiver. Holtz's interest in the offense is based on utilization of Powlus' talents -- as well as the ability to make use of the formations without requiring substitutions. The Irish used the attack extensively vs. Purdue, with 10 different receivers catching balls. However, the Irish turned back to the running game vs. Washington, grinding out 397 yards on the ground. Says Holtz, "We are a better football team playing the way we did against Washington than the way we tried to play earlier in the year."
The Kinder Chart:
1,005 Games and Counting: As Notre Dame played its 1,000th
game in history in the Vanderbilt opener, here's a quick review
of just some of the numbers the Irish have posted since an 8-0
setback to Michigan on November 23, 1887.
New Faces/Three New Coaches:
Fifth-Year Players: Notre Dame has seven fifth-year players on its team this year. They are: OG Jeremy Akers, ILB Joe Babey, TE Kevin Carretta, TE Pete Chryplewicz, NG David Quist, OLB Bill Wagasy and DE Renaldo Wynn. All seven players have earned their undergraduate degrees and are currently enrolled in graduate work. Chryplewicz is in the unique position to earn five monograms during his career. The tight end played in just two games during '94 because of a wrist injury, but did earn a monogram for the season. Other players to earn five monograms in Irish history include current Notre Dame graduate assistant Justin Hall (1988-92) and defensive back Randy Harrison (1974-78).
Fighting Irish Captains: Notre Dame has three senior captains for the '96 season: quarterback Ron Powlus, linebacker Lyron Cobbins and fullback Marc Edwards.
Stadium Expansion: Notre Dame Stadium is currently undergoing an expansion and renovation which will put the capacity of the facility at 80,990 -- an addition of nearly 22,000 seats from the current capacity of 59,075. The expansion, which will be completed for the 1997 home opener against Georgia Tech, is a 21-month project which cost a total of $50 million -- all raised through bond sales. Casteel Construction, Inc. of South Bend is the general contractor, while Ellerbe Beckett, Inc., of Kansas City is the architect. The expansion will include a new three-story press box, a new natural grass field, expanded locker rooms for Notre Dame and visiting teams. The Notre Dame football team will permanently be housed in the stadium and dress there for all practices and games. A new, expanded training room also will be added to the Stadium. The '96 campaign features use of the same 59,075 seats, though the concrete structures supporting the new sections already are in place and in full view. Construction has eliminated 750 parking spaces in the areas surrounding the Stadium, and access to seating sections during the '96 season comes through newly-created entrances at the four corners of the Stadium.
The StadiumCam: The Notre Dame Office of Information Technologies has a web site at http://www.nd.edu/~jeremy/stadium/ that is better known as "Stadiumcam." Under the direction of Jeremy McCarty and Tom Monaghan, two consultants and analysts in the Office of University Computing, this site features an up-to-date image of the expansion of Notre Dame Stadium. The site is updated every five minutes during the day and every half hour at night. The departments of computer science and electrical engineering have a site at http://lisa.ee.nd.edu/DomeCam/, which gives you a look at the Gold Dome of the Main Building, which is viewable 24 hours a day. For information on all facets of Notre Dame, the home page is at http://www.nd.edu/.
Holtz Passes Career Games Coached Record: Notre Dame head coach Lou Holtz passed a significant milestone in the Irish win Sept. 14 against Purdue. When the Irish took the field against the Boilers, it marked Holtz's 123rd game as head coach at Notre Dame. The previous record for games coached at Notre Dame was 122 by Knute Rockne between 1918-30. The Irish players presented Holtz with a framed game program cover, ticket and press credential in the locker room after the game. Holtz is currently second in career wins at Notre Dame with 96 (96-29-2 overall), while Rockne had 105. Holtz is in his 11th year in charge of the Irish program and has a 212-94-7 career record in 26 seasons. He led the Irish to the '88 national championship and has brought Notre Dame to traditional New Year's Day bowl games in each of the last nine years (five wins). His collegiate mark also includes stints at William & Mary (13-20 from 1969-71), North Carolina State (33-12-3 from 1972-75), Arkansas (60-21-2 from 1977-83) and Minnesota (10-12 from 1984-85).
The Schedule:Notre Dame's 1996 slate brings up a few trends
and notes of interest:
Irish Finish 11th in Sears Directors' Cup:
Honors and Awards:
Inside The 20 In 1996
Back To Culver: For the second straight season, the Notre Dame football team returned to the shores of Lake Maxinkuckee and the Culver Academies in Culver, Ind., for some of its '96 preseason practice. The Irish arrived at Culver August 16, then began practice the next day on the first day the Irish could practice in pads. Notre Dame returned to campus following two practices at Culver August 22. In 1995, head coach Lou Holtz took the Irish off-campus for the first time in the history of the program for 10 days of preseason practice at Culver. The Culver Academics are located approximately 40 miles south of South Bend.
43 Former Irish Appear on '96 NFL Rosters:
Notre Dame has nine more of its former football players participating in the National Football League in 1996 than any other college or university. Forty-three former Notre Dame football players appeared on '96 opening day active rosters of NFL teams, according to figures released by the league. Notre Dame placed more players on opening-day rosters than any other school -- with Miami second with 34, followed by Tennessee (33), and Florida State and Penn State (32 each). Here are the former Fighting Irish now active in the pros (R indicates rookie):
Media Policies the Holtz Conferences: Irish coach Lou Holtz's weekly teleconference-style press conferences are available via satellite on Tuesday prior to each Notre Dame game in 1996 on Galaxy 9, Transponder 22H. They are held at 1:00 p.m. EST at the WNDU Studios (on Bus. 31 on the west edge of campus) in South Bend. A light lunch is served beginning at noon, and at least one Irish player generally is available for interviews between noon and 1:00 p.m. Out-of-town media can connect to the conference via phone to listen and ask questions, or obtain satellite coordinates, by calling Notre Dame SID John Heisler at 219-631-7516.
Transcriptions: Exact transcriptions of Lou Holtz's press conferences on both Tuesdays and Sundays again are available in '96. They are available both at the Notre Dame sports information department and through the FAX on demand system.
The Host Football Review: Host Communications offers a two-hour delayed replay of each of Notre Dame's home games in 1996. The replays are available in most major markets, either via SportsChannel's various systems or over-the-air syndication, including WNDU-TV in South Bend and TCI Cable channel 3.
The Holtz Show: Irish coach Lou Holtz again in 1996 has a half-hour, weekly, nationally-syndicated television show as well as a weekly, half-hour, nationally-syndicated radio show. It is syndicated through Host Communications, produced by SportsChannel Chicago through the WNDU-TV facilities and is hosted by Jeff Jeffers. It's carried by WNDU-TV in the South Bend market on the following Saturday--and on SportsChannel in Chicago on Monday night.
The Sunday Wrap-Up: Lou Holtz holds a weekly media briefing at 10:30 a.m. each Sunday following Notre Dame games in '96. It's held at the Joyce Center football auditorium. Check with SID John Heisler at 219-631-7516 for teleconference availability.
More Media Notes: Monday is the only day practice is open to the media. Cameras are permitted at the Monday practice during calisthenics, kicking game and 20 minutes of group work...Notre Dame's publicity material on football is no longer being mailed out but is available through a FAX on demand system. Contact the Notre Dame sports information office at 219-631-7516 for details.
Web Site: Notre Dame's official athletic department site on the world wide web can be found at http://www.und.com