Notre Dame (2-1) will play their first of three straight home games on Saturday. The Irish are hoping to put together a string of victories in this home stand and get back in the hunt for a BCS bid after a disappointing loss to BYU in the opener.
Irish head coach Tyrone Willingham was asked if he felt Washington might be in a similar situation that Notre Dame was in just a few week ago after their loss to BYU.
"No, I really hope that we are at the same point of reference for this ball game," Willingham said. I hope that we feel very much like our backs are against the wall for the things we want to accomplish.
"We had our slip this year; we can't afford to have another one. So we have to be excited, we have to be enthusiastic, we have to be determined, we have to be focused; all those words that go into making sure you bring the right approach to this football game."
The Irish tight ends only have a total of six catches on the year, and very few in the last few games. Willingham was asked if his tight ends were being used more as blockers this year than receiving threats.
"No I don't think you can say that," Willingham said. "I don't think that is the right way to depict what is happening with them. It's simply as you develop game plans for each team, different parts of your team is utilized. You never know when their number might be back up. It might be this week and they might be a major part of it."
"We will make a game-day decision," said Willingham when asked about Stovall's status.
"Yes indeed. Grant may be a little ahead of Maurice and his situation," Willingham said when asked if Grant's status would be the same.
Maurice Stovall was also a starter as a kick returner for the Irish. Willingham gave the media a list of names to look for if Stovall isn't available to return kicks on Saturday.
"Lets see, we'll probably keep, Anastasio will be one, and probably determine between a group of Hoskins, Shelton, and a couple of others," Willingham said.
The Irish have a chance to climb back into the top 25 with a victory over Washington this weekend. A victory could set up a classic battle between the Irish and what many consider to be the best BIG 10 team in Purdue next weekend in Notre Dame Stadium.