Sept. 1, 2000
By TOM COYNE
Associated Press Writer
NOTRE DAME, Ind. (AP) - Texas A&M's Mark Farris and Notre Dame's Arnaz Battle have little in common.
One similarity between the quarterbacks is that both will make their
starting debut on Saturday when the 25th-ranked Aggies play the Irish.
Farris is a 25-year-old sophomore, a husband and father of a 4-year-old
girl. He graduated from high school in 1994 and signed a letter of intent to
play for the Aggies. But he passed on the football scholarship in favor of
$820,000 signing bonus when he was drafted 11th overall by the Pittsburgh
Battle, 20, is a junior whose parents and grandparents are in town for
Saturday's game. He was in middle school when Farris started his last game
The biggest signing of Battle's life was the letter of intent that
him to Notre Dame.
Farris, with the advantage of maturity, has five years of minor-league
baseball experience, but only one year as a college backup. Battle has two
years of experience playing behind Jarious Jackson.
Notre Dame coach Bob Davie said Farris' age does not constitute an
"It's more how many times you've been in that stadium under that center
when it's a live game," Davie said.
By that standard, Battle has a slight advantage.
As a freshman two years ago with Jarious Jackson injured, Battle played
final three quarters against Southern Cal, completing 7-of-19 for 94 yards
two interceptions in a 10-0 loss. In two seasons at Notre Dame, Battle is
15-of-35 passing for 218 yards with two interceptions and has run for 153
on 32 carries.
Farris is 6-of-16 passing for 53 yards in five games last season,
for 1 yard on two carries.
Neither quarterback lacks confidence.
Battle was asked to compare his style with another quarterback, past or
present at the team's media day. Without hesitating, he answered Michael
Asked about the bold comparison, he said: "Well I wouldn't go out and
I'm like Drew Brees because he's a drop-back quarterback."
Davie said Battle's playing style is similar to Vick's.
"And we're probably going to do some of the things Virginia Tech tries
do with Michael Vick. But I'd say it's a little stretch right now. You've
one guy who led his team to the national championship game last year," he
said. "I hope we're comparing (Battle) to him at the end of the season."
The more likely comparison for Farris would be Florida State's Chris
the 28-year-old quarterback and former minor-league baseball player who led
Seminoles to a victory over Vick's Hokies in the national championship game
last year. Like Weinke, Farris knows the pressures of playing for a
He also faced the pressure of having to win the Aggies' starting job.
has been made of the fact that his maturity may have been a deciding factor,
but Farris doesn't believe so.
"You don't just pick the oldest guy and make him the quarterback. ...
prefer to think they thought I was good enough a player to win the game
than being the oldest," Farris said.
Both coaches say they are eager to see how their quarterbacks perform.
are the Irish and Aggies fans.