Mark Green, Pat Eilers Named Captains For Alumni Football Team
July 7, 2000
HAMBURG, Germany - More notes and quotes on another cloudy, 64-degree day in Hamburg, with the Notre Dame alumni football team now only a day away from its matchup with the Hamburg Blue Devils:
- Real-time stats will be available for the game at www.H-D-B.de (Saturday night's kickoff converts to a noon EST start).
- Current Notre Dame defensive coordinator Greg Mattison and former Irish linebacker Wes Pritchett provided some humor while making comments at a joint barbeque featuring players and administrators from the Notre Dame contingent and the Hamburg Blue Devils. Mattison, who is serving as the official representative of the current Irish coaching staff, shared his observations from the recent practice sesssions. "A lot of these players have no idea what will happen in there when the game rolls around, and for a coach that's a little bit scary," Mattison said. "You see a guy like Wes Pritchett running down the field and you hope he gets a little faster by Saturday night." Pritchett-who clearly hasn't lost his trademark sense of humor or willingness for public speaking-later followed up on Mattison's comments while addressing the gathering. "You have to realize that even during my playing days at Notre Dame, back in 1988, that's as fast as a I ever ran. So I really haven't become any slower," Pritchett deadpanned.
- The Irish worked out in shorts for an hour Friday morning, with final on-field preparation consisting of a walk-through of all the Notre Dame offenses, defenses and special teams.
- Serving as captains of the Irish team are tailback Mark Green and safety Pat Eilers.
- The Notre Dame party attended a coat-and-tie reception Thursday evening for the game charity, Kinder helfen Kindern. Hamburger Abendblatt, the city's conservative newspaper, served as host for the reception after featuring the game in a special section of the Thursday edition of its paper. Representing Notre Dame on the speaking program was former cornerback D'Juan Francisco (now with the Notre Dame Alumni Association) who impressed guests by making his remarks in German. That earned Francisco a chance Friday to lead the team in jumping jacks, calling out numbers from one to 10 in German at practice. Francisco had not originally been expected to play because of injuries, but he now at least should suit up.
- Former defensive end Frank Stams, an '88 All-American, arrived in Hamburg Thursday to spend some time with many of his former teammates. Doctors advised him not to play, but there's some possibility he may yet suit up.
- Former Irish defensive back Mike Haywood, now on the LSU staff, has been handling the Notre Dame special teams.
- The offensive team that opened practice Friday featured Terry Andrysiak at quarterback, Mark Green at tailback, Dean Lytle at fullback, Mike Denvir at tight end, Emmett Mosley and Clint Johnson at wide receiver, Mike Perrino and Jim Kordas at tackle, Tom Freeman and Ron Plantz at guard and Rick Kaczenski at center. Look for Lee Becton and Clint Johnson deep for kickoff returns.
- The game Saturday will feature four 12-minute periods.
- The Hamburg team normally practices from 7:00-9:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Most players work full-time jobs during the day and some commute from as far as 70 miles away for practice.
- Original plans called for the Notre Dame team to line up by jersey number and be introduced individually before the game, but the Irish coaches opted for the more traditional en masse entrance.
- After the game, both teams will line up along the sidelines and end lines, join hands and salute the crowd as part of a German tradition.
- Notre Dame coaches have been told to expect WWF-style introductions and entrances for the Hamburg team, as well as non-stop music throughout the game ? potentially making audibles difficult. The Blue Devils also sponsor multiple groups of cheerleaders, all of whom will be present Saturday.
- Former Notre Dame quarterback Don White (1957-59), father of Irish assistant Brian White, made the trip and has been assisting with the Notre Dame linebackers.
- The two teams will attend a joint dinner Friday night at Volksparkstadion, with players exchanging gifts.
- Notre Dame team chaplain Rev. James Riehle, C.S.C., was featured in the tabloid Hamburger Morgan Post Friday, under a headline that suggested he was the Fighting Irish representative with the best connections to the top.
- The German football magazine Huddle appeared on newsstands Friday, with its cover featuring artwork of the Notre Dame team heading down the Notre Dame Stadium tunnel and the interior including biographies of all the Notre Dame players.
- The awarding of the soccer World Cup to Germany made the front page of all the German papers Friday after the announcement Thursday afternoon.
- Hamburg Blue Devil assistant coach Jeff Reinebold, who also works with the team's administration, is a South Bend native. His father Jim is currently a coach with the Class A South Bend Silver Hawks minor league baseball team after a long career as baseball coach at South Bend Clay High School ? and his mother Evelyn formerly worked in the housing office at the University of Notre Dame.