Willingham Comments on the Departures

The Notre Dame football team was minus two players today in Chris and Greg Olsen. Chris Olsen has requested and apparently received his release from scholarship clearing the way for him to transfer to Virginia. Coach Willingham would not comment on the status of Greg Olsen after practice which makes Irish Eyes wonder if Greg Olsen will get his release.

Coach Willingham entered the media room and made a statement to the media. "Obviously from the crowd that we have this afternoon there are some things that you are very interested in so let me help you," said Willingham. "There are things that I can comment on and things that I can have absolutely no comment on."

Willingham was asked the status of Greg Olsen. "That is one of the areas that I've labeled a personal area, decision are being made there and in the future we'll be able to make an announcement about what is exactly taken place there."

Olsen must be granted his release before he become eligible to enroll in another school. Willingham would not comment on if Greg Olsen has been given his release. "That is something that I cannot comment on any further until there is some type of official announcement outside of our program."

Willingham says that his decision to grant a release is dependent on the situation and what is best for the program. "You do what's right for the individual and what's right for the team—each case is different."

With the Chris Olsen transfer, Willingham says it affects his team's depth and that is a concern. "It does affect us and that's a statement I think everyone is aware of. With Chris I think we had a good quarterback who was doing some good things in our system. It's unfortunate that he's gone but in the game of football, someone has to step up."

Offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Bill Diedrick agrees with Willingham that the loss of Chris Olsen hurts the depth of this team. "You look at where we were a year ago and we're kind of back to that same position where you've got three guys where you'd like to have four," said Diedrick. "Next year with the in-coming you'd like to have five. We're back again and I think that's probably the biggest disappointment."

Freshman quarterback Brady Quinn now becomes even more important to the mix. Willingham says he has confidence in Quinn. "I've been pleased with what Brady's done but as always with a freshman it's a learning process," said Willingham. "He's not all the way there and we don't expect him to be all the way there. He continues to improve each day and I'm very pleased with what he's doing."

Diedrick also believes that Quinn is advancing at a rapid pace. "I'm very pleased with his progress up to now. I think he probably a little bit further ahead than most freshmen when they would come in. The one thing that Brady did do was a tremendous amount of study, not only last spring but definitely over the course of the summer. I think it really gave him an extra boost coming into camp and I think throughout camp he was able to compete on a very equal basis."

Diedrick says he's doesn't have a time table for naming a backup at this point. "There's so many different possibilities—I think you have to get through camp and see where Brady's at—there's just so many unknowns," said Diedrick of naming a backup. "Right now both guys could step in and be a very adequate two (second string)."

Diedrick says that Olsen was the number two quarterback all through fall camp. "Chris took the snaps with the number two's the entire time he was here. He was number two all along and he would've been the first one in but that has definitely changed now."

Irish Eyes asked Diedrick if the loss of Olsen will change anything they planned to do this year with the offense. "No, definitely not," said Diedrick.

The departure of Chris Olsen puts the Irish in a bind. Diedrick says he's disappointed in Chris' decision. "I'm tremendously disappointed but I think that is past history."

The status of Greg Olsen could get interesting. Willingham does not have to grant his release and that could delay Greg Olsen's enrollment as a student-athlete at whichever school he ultimately chooses. We doubt it will be a problem and Willingham will likely grant Greg Olsen his release.

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