Davie: "I Can't Get You on My Side."

There was a full house at the Joyce Center for the Friday Pep Rally. The crowd was in full throat, then Bob Davie got to the microphone and you could hear a pin drop. IrishEyes has the head coach's stirring address verbatim. Stay with us all weekend for complete coverage of the Pittsburgh contest.


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October 5, 2001

Davie Shows His Character

By Alan Tieuli
The IrishEyes.Com News Service

NOTRE DAME, Ind., Oct. 5, 2001 (IE) – The team is 0-3, cold rain has dampened the campus the past two days, but it’s still a football weekend in South Bend.

It’s special.

At the Pep Rally tonight in the Joyce Center, the stands were filled. The pulse quickened when the marching band entered playing the Victory March. Subway alum, wearing $75 sweaters purchased hours earlier at the Hammes Bookstore, stood and applauded with the same dewy-eyed enthusiasm as always.

But change is in the air, and it was apparent.  Bob Davie surely sounds like a coach who feels his days on campus are numbered..

IrishEyes was at the Joyce Center, and here are Davie’s remarks verbatim, delivered without interruption from a hushed gathering.

"You know when adversity hits you truly find out about someone’s character, their courage and how much class they really have. The reality is right now all of us are being tested. I realize when you are an 0-3 football team, when you’re an 0-3 football coach, you’re extremely vulnerable. You’re going to take some cheap shots, that’s all part of it. Trust me, I can handle it and this football team right here behind me can.

"Not everybody is strong enough to handle adversity, but you really do have a choice of how to react. You can follow the lead of this football team seated behind me. You can be strong and you can fight back with class and character. Or, you know what, you can be weak (emphasis), you can take the easy way, you can cave in, you can become sarcastic, you can become cynical, you can make a bad situation that much worse. It really is your decision.

"As you make that decision, I’m going to ask you to keep one thing in mind: You are at a place, the University of Notre Dame, that was built on courage and was built on character and was built on class.

I’ve seen a lot of things in 25 years of coaching, and fortunately I’ve won a whole lot more games than I’ve lost. I realize right now there’s not anything I can say that’s going to get you on my side, but I’m going to say one thing. This football team behind me, they will never, never ever give up on you, and don’t give up on them."

At the close of Davie’s remarks, he received a strong ovation. A few students, very few, chanted "Lou, Lou."

IrishEyes was impressed, as was center Jeff Faine.  "I've never met a man with more character than coach Davie," Faine said.


BASKETBALL SUPPORT: Among the attendees was the entire Notre Dame’s men’s basketball team, including head coach Mike Brey, his wife Tish and 2002 recruits Torrin Francis and Rick Cornett. The attendance of the Irish hoopsters was not coincidental.

"We usually make it optional for the players," said Brey. "But in this case we’ve asked them all to come as a team. It’s important right now to show our support for Bob and the football team. They deserve it."


NOTES FROM CAMPUS: Earlier in the day, IrishEyes watched a private workout in the Joyce Center featuring the entire men’s basketball team, Francis and Cornett.

Francis, the Irish’s celebrated recruit from Massachusetts, was overmatched going primarily against the new, improved Harold Swanagan (seemingly overnight an Anthony Glover lookalike). Cornett looked more comfortable, possibly because he already has the face and body of a 25-year-old.

You’ll see and read plenty on Chris Thomas this year, so we’ll edit our first review down to one word: Wow. Torrian Jones and Chris Markwood clearly have improved their games to the point where they can be counted on for double-digit minutes. On the flip side, Tom Timmermans has a way to go before he can be considered a viable candidate for serious front-court minutes.

Practice starts for real next Saturday and it appears the Irish will enter 100-percent healthy.


THE NOTEBOOK: If you are like IrishEyes and feel that Notre Dame has more than enough talent to compete favorably on the football field, you owe it to yourself to read Lou Somogyi’s "Defining a Difference Maker" in this week’s Blue and Gold Illustrated. Among the gems outlined by the estimable Somogyi: "Tony Fisher was Mr. Football in Ohio. Nah, we prefer a Mr. Football for the Universe."…….Davie is so star-crossed, one gets the feeling that wayward former Irish recruit Darcey Levy, now healthy and in Pittsburgh’s wide receiver rotation, will play a significant role in tomorrow’s game……The coaching staff as a whole has not been shy about absorbing the blame for the 0-3 start. This from offensive coordinator Kevin Rogers. "Basically, we fouled up the offensive line," Rogers said. "In moving Kurt Vollers from tackle to guard, we made a decent tackle into a mediocre guard."…..Tomorrow is October 6. Up until the Frank Leahy-era, Notre Dame usually began its season the first weekend of October. Since 1947, the latest date the Irish have earned their first victory of the season is October 12, 1963, a 17-14 victory over USC following an 0-2 start under Hugh Devore…….If this is indeed Davie’s last year in South Bend, his September record is complete at 5 wins and 12 losses.


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