March 28, 2001
Spring football at Notre Dame always has been an opportunity for a sneak preview of the football season to come.
The 2001 version of the Blue-Gold Spring Football Festival -- presented by St. Joseph Regional Medical Center -- promises to be even better than that.
"The Blue-Gold games always have been an early look at the season to come, especially in terms of watching some of the up-and-coming freshmen and sophomores," says Irish athletic director Kevin White.
"This year, we've added a series of unique programs to make the day even more enjoyable and give our fans a chance to interact even more with the players and coaches."
There are all kinds of new activities connected with the 72nd annual Blue-Gold game (sponsored by the Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley) on Saturday, April 28, 2001, including several new opportunities to be up close and personal with Irish coach Bob Davie and his players.
Pre-Game With the Irish
A limited number of special VIP credentials ($25 for adults, $15 for youths) entitle fans to a full day of activities with the Irish, including joining the squad for its 10:00 a.m. pre-game meal. A player or coach will be seated at each table for the brunch to be held in the Joyce Center fieldhouse. Then, VIP fans can sit either in the gold chairback seats on the east side of the Stadium -- or they can roam the east sidelines at field level for a closer view of the action.
View From the Top
There are a limited number of seats available ($50 each) in the Notre Dame Stadium press box, where fans can have the same view as media covering Irish football. Fans seated in the press box receive a game program, spring football prospectus, as well as the same press box lunch fare served to the media (hot dogs, soup, popcorn, soft drinks). You can watch replays on the television monitors scattered throughout the press box -- and you'll be kept updated on statistics throughout the contest.
Entertainment All Day Long
A free-to-all interactive fan fest will take place all day in the south Stadium parking lot, with lots of attractions for all ages.
For the second year, former Notre Dame football players will take part in a flag football game at 11:30 a.m. EST in the Stadium. All former Irish football players will be invited back for the weekend.
All current and former Irish players and coaches again will be available for photos and autographs on the field (weather permitting) following the Blue-Gold contest.
Tickets for the game itself, in advance, are $8 for adults, $6 for youths -- $10 for adults and $8 for youths on gameday. Proceeds benefit the scholarship fund of the Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley.
Press box tickets are $50 each. "Pre-Game With the Irish" credentials good for the pregame brunch and sideline admission are $25 for adults and $15 for youths.
All tickets are on sale now at the Joyce Center second-floor ticket windows (enter Gate 1) or by calling 219-631-7356. Telephone credit-card orders are accepted.
Tickets are also being sold at all area Meijer stores.
The Blue-Gold Spring Football Festival is presented by St. Joseph Regional Medical Center. Media partners for the event are AM 1620 (WHLY), which will broadcast the event live on radio, and Channel 46 (WHME-TV), which will televise the event.
Who's Next for the Irish?
"I want to be the Notre Dame quarterback!"
That's the sentiment shared by all three of Notre Dame's sophomore-to-be quarterbacks -- Matt LoVecchio, Carlyle Holiday and Jared Clark.
The thought is similar at tight end, where veteran John Owens, converted quarterback Gary Godsey and sophomore-to-be Billy Palmer will compete, following the graduation of veterans Jabari Holloway and Dan O'Leary.
Then there are the two offensive guard spots, where new starters must be identified.
On defense, there are a handful of vacancies to keep an eye on, coming off the graduation loss of Lance Legree and B.J. Scott up front, Anthony Denman at linebacker -- and Brock Williams and Tony Driver in the secondary.
At quarterback, LoVecchio holds the advantage in experience. He started each of the last eight games in 2000, ranking as the winning signalcaller in the final seven regular-season outings and throwing 11 touchdown passes against only one interception. That paved the way for Notre Dame's first-ever Bowl Championship Series appearance in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.
Clark and Holiday, meanwhile, did not play at all last fall. All three will have a chance to show what they can do this spring.
While Irish fans saw plenty of LoVecchio during his noteworthy rookie season, they'll have their first chance to see Holiday and Clark in game conditions as part of the Notre Dame Blue-Gold Spring Football Festival on April 28. Those three quarterbacks are part of an Irish team Davie expects to be his most talented since he became the Notre Dame head coach.
While the youthful contingent of quarterbacks will earn its share of attention this spring, the Irish otherwise return all kinds of experience from last year's 9-3 squad that finished 15th in the final Associated Press poll.
Most noteworthy is the senior class that features 28 returning monogram-winners who combined to earn 230 career starting assignments.
Among the veterans returning for 2001 are defensive ends Grant Irons and Anthony Weaver, outside linebacker Rocky Boiman, inside linebacker Tyreo Harrison, cornerback Shane Walton, strong safety Ron Israel -- plus, on offense, tailbacks Tony Fisher, Julius Jones and Terrance Howard, wide receivers David Givens and Javin Hunter and linemen Jordan Black, Kurt Vollers and Jeff Faine.