Copyright by Global Electronics Telecommunications, publishers of IrishEyes.Com™
October 10, 2001
U2 Provides Davie
By Alan Tieuli
The IrishEyes.Com News Service
NOTRE DAME, Ind., Oct. 10, 2001 (IE) – Bob Davie has told IrishEyes in the past when he took the Notre Dame head coaching job he also took a "NMF pledge," meaning No More Fun. Presumably, the comment was made half in jest.
Still, the Irish head coach will take the time for some entertainment tonight when he and his wife Joanne attend the much-anticipated U2 concert at the Joyce Center. The campus has been buzzing with activity since the arrival of the band on Monday and yesterday a heart-shape stage was completed that converted the aging basketball arena into an intimate concert hall.
The band is saying the 11,000 seat Joyce Center is the smallest venue they've played since 1987. Needless to say, the 1-3 football team is glad to be out of the spotlight for a few days. The concert is a coincidental perk for the 24-7 victory over Pittsburgh Saturday.
The distraction comes at a good time for Davie. Rumors – and they are just that – have intensified that the decision has already been made to remove Davie at season's end. The rumblings have become so prevalent that Davie addressed them in his Tuesday news conference.
"I wish someone would tell me (about his imminent dismissal)," Davie laughed. "I'm working so hard right now. I'm trying so hard to win some games.
"If (the rumors were true), I'd be getting ready to go to that U2 concert. I see all those buses parked out there. I'm just going to take Joanne and we're going to go out there and enjoy it," Davie said.
Rumors may be based in reality next week when the Board of Trustees meet during USC weekend. Clearly Davie's future will be high on the agenda. Athletic Director Kevin White insists that his office will not evaluate Davie's performance until after the regular season.
IrishEyes can envision Davie at a U2 concert. He's a stylish guy but not pretentious, is quick to smile, has teenage kids, and a good dose of perspective. If his career record at Notre Dame was, say, 43-10 instead of 31-22, one gets the feeling he would be a huge hit on campus with the students. He'd be one of them.
Can you imagine Lou Holtz, smoking a pipe and wearing a light blue cardigan sweater, at a U2 concert?
Besides, U2 and Davie began their careers together. The coach was in his first full-time coaching position (at Arizona) when U2 cut its first single ("U23") in 1979. The band's first real commercial hit ("I Will Follow") came in the same year Davie moved on to the Pittsburgh staff. As he took over the outside linebackers assistant job at Texas A&M, U2 was releasing "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For."
Of course, Davie and U2 have some uncomfortable parallels now. This past January, days after the Oregon State fiasco, the band released "Stuck In a Moment You Can't Get Out Of." The band's most current hit "Walk On" is not an ode to the graduated Matt Sarb but rather what most Domers would like to see Davie do, Walk On out of that locker-room and off of campus for good.
If Davie is serenaded with "With Or Without You" at the Friday Pep Rally, we'll know the concert had a deleterious effect.
THE NOTEBOOK: Center Jeff Faine has been held out of practice with an ankle injury, but Davie expects him to be ready for West Virginia Saturday. Tailback Tony Fisher (hyperextended knee) is probable. Gerome Sapp and Ron Israel are "50/50," according to Davie, meaning Saturday standout Abram Elam will again see significant time. Grant Irons and Clifford Jefferson, both scratches for Pittsburgh, will be back Saturday…….Notre Dame has taken steps to diffuse the criticism it received for not being on the field for the National Anthem before the Michigan State game. The Irish now have American flags on their uniform jerseys and letters have been sent to all future opponents that the Irish will be on the field for the Anthem at all remaining home games. "I thought it was great being out there (Saturday)," said Davie. "I think our players enjoyed it as well."…….Davie's received criticism for not being able to recognize the "difference makers" he has on the roster, but Saturday a pair of recruited offensive players – Vontez Duff and Elam – stood out against a strong Pittsburgh passing game. "I think with Vontez and Abe you have two young guys that bring you a lot of spirit," said Davie. "I'm glad they're playing well."……Despite the 24 points scored and 319 total yards against Pittsburgh, Notre Dame's offensive rankings in Division 1A are dismal. The Irish are 110th (out of 115) in scoring offense, 113th in total offense, 78th in rushing and dead last, 115th, in passing offense. The Irish are averaging an astounding 4.52 yards per pass attempt, six yards per attempt less than No. 1 Florida.