After surviving three seasons, two different coaching staffs, and trying to master two totally different styles of offense as a quarterback, Carlyle Holiday is finally just a wide receiver. A decision that is just fine with him.
"I think there is," said Holiday when asked if he had a sense of relief of not having to worry about learning both quarterback and wide receiver this season. "Now I can concentrate on one position (and) not having to worry about the possibility of moving back to quarterback.
"It allows me the opportunity to go out and play fast, have fun and play with the group that I'm with right now."
Holiday is hoping to roll the dice with the position switch and hit the jackpot, much like former Irish quarterback turned wide receiver, Arnaz Battle, did when he made the switch in 2001.
Battle parlayed his opportunity into 58 receptions, 768 yards and five touchdowns in his senior season, and more importantly, an NFL career.
"Arnaz did a lot of good things," Holiday said of Battle's senior season. "Just to have that hope to try to follow what he did is a big thing. Hopefully I can fill that kind of role on this team right now."
Gone too are the pressures of playing quarterback at Notre Dame—another welcome addition to the position switch for Holiday.
"It was difficult in the beginning," Holiday said of the bright lights at quarterback. "After awhile, you've just got to let those things go. Right now it is a sigh of relief. There is a lot of pressure at the quarterback position, especially at this school. Anytime you can get that off your back, you look forward to having more fun and doing the things you enjoy playing football doing."
Holiday admits he's had some growing pains to overcome this past fall and spring in learning the wide receiver position.
"I think last year I was trying to concentrate on too many things," said Holiday of challenges to pick up the position quickly. "Right now I'm just playing my one position and trying to do what the coaches ask of me at the receiver position."
"I don't think I've ever had to block," Holiday continued. "It kind of showed last spring, but I think I've improved in that area this fall."As of right now, it's the toughest thing because there's a lot that goes into blocking downfield. That's pretty much what I need to work on."
Wide Receivers coach Trent Miles says he's also seen the signs that Holiday is starting to grasp the position and let his athletic ability shine.
"His abilities are coming out," Miles said of Holiday. "He can catch the ball, he can run. I don't think people understand how big he is. He's playing really well right now. The more reps he gets, the more comfortable he's going to be and the more he'll produce in games."
Holiday says he's also excited to see the Irish offense take off this season. The San Antonio, Texas native says he thinks the offense is very close to showing the firepower they possess on the offensive side of the ball.
"We know we have skills on the offensive side of the ball, especially in the receiver group, so I think communication is going to be the key, and execution," Holiday said when asked what the offense needs to do to improve. "If we get those things down, there's no telling what we can do. There's a lot of potential on this team.
"I think it's becoming easier for all the wide receivers. I think now that you can see that we're all just starting to gel together and understand our roles."
As a former quarterback, Holiday knows the responsibilities of the quarterback and he says both the receivers and the quarterbacks need to be on the same page to have the kind of success they hope to have this season.
"It's not only the quarterback's job to read the defense, it should be everybody's job to know the defense," Holiday said. "You should be able to see things and expect things of the quarterback. When that starts to happen, it makes it that much smoother for both positions."
It's true, Holiday is smiling more these days. One can tell he's excited about his opportunity to try to do what Battle did—shock us all. With the talent at wide receiver that Notre Dame currently has, will there be enough footballs to go around for Holiday to do just that? It would certainly be another great story, just as the Battle story was.