Notre Dame: First Preview; ND Presser Comments

Here is the Notre Dame Preview from our August issue of GoBlueWolverine Magazine.<br><br> Whether the preview still holds water could depend on the availibility of ND RB Ryan Grant, who was held out of the BYU game last weekend with a hamstring problem (<A HREF=http://notredame.theinsiders.com/2/291790.html>Ryan Grant at Monday ND Presser - he's playing</a>). <br><br>Also, the ND Insiders' site is full of U-M Previews: <A HREF=http://notredame.theinsiders.com/>notredame.theinsiders.com</a>

September 11 in South Bend, Indiana
The University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Head Coach Tyrone Willingham
2003 Record: 5-7
Returning starters (including kicker and punter). Offense: 10. Defense: 9

What to say about the ‘03 Irish? They won 3 of their final 4 games to finish 5-7 … but they also suffered a blowout 38-0 loss at Michigan (possibly making the Wolverines overconfident going into Oregon the next week …) and in midseason had a streak of seven quarters at home where they were outscored 68-0 by USC and FSU. Frankly, the '03 Irish didn't have much fight in them.

Now, however, Coach Head Coach Tyrone Willingham and his team are disrespected – and Willingham's Stanford teams always played best under this very circumstance. And Notre Dame returns almost its whole team intact, plus a key '02 starter back from injury (ILB Mike Goolsby). And they had two ‘fabulous freshmen' starters on both sides of the ball in '03 who are now experiences sophomores – QB Brady Quinn (who U-M coveted out of high school) and OL Ryan Harris (ditto), and DE Victor Abiamiri and DT Derek Landri. We predict a bounce-back season for Notre Dame, held back only by a tough schedule.

Impact Players: QB Quinn (6-4, 220 lbs.) threw for 1,831 yards as a true freshman in '03, although he suffered through frosh inconsistency with a 47% completion ratio and 9 TD's vs.15 interceptions. Look for Quinn to improve in ‘04. Sr. RB Ryan Grant (6-1, 210 lbs.) had only 5 starts in '03 and rushed for 510 yards, but in '02 he started 13 games and gained 1,085 yards. Grant had an excellent '02 game against U-M in Notre Dame stadium – and you can bet he'll once again want to sting the team (U-M) that spurned him out of high school. Also Jr. WRs Rhema KcKnight (6-1) and Maurice Stovall (6-5).

Michigan/Notre Dame Game prediction. The game is at Notre Dame, the Irish are out for blood … U-M escapes with its life: Michigan 20, Notre Dame 19.
(note: if Grant doen't play, the prediction moves to 24-10).

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