"It's been a tough camp so far," defensive line coach Jappy Oliver said. "I tell you what. We've really been getting at it on both sides of the ball. We're very pleased with the progress. We have some kids that are fighting, scratching and clawing. The tempo we're establishing right now is what we like. Overall, I think our kids are getting our schemes down because we want to do a lot of different things and we wanted to see how well they were going they were going to handle some of things we threw at them. Right now, they're handling them pretty well."
*The recruiting season in college football is a 24-hour, 365-day business. Coaches try to take advantage of every opportunity that comes their way. If they don't, a four or five star stud can land somewhere else other than South Bend.
The Irish's recruiting coordinator is Rob Ianello. Since 1987, he has held that title or been an recruiting assistant at schools such as Alabama, Arizona and Wisconsin, where he served under Barry Alvarez. Ianello likes the job the staff has accomplished up to this point.
"I think we got a pretty good head start," Ianello said. "It helps to be where we are right now within a commitment or two potentially away by the time the season starts. Then we can build that thing as we go. So far, we have a lot of work to do. We have a lot of guys we're trying to recruit. There are a lot of guys that have indicated that our leaning our way that we can hold to."
The whole staff has been putting in work to make this a first rate class. As some remember, head coach Charlie Weis went around the country to view tapes of potential recruits and meet their coaches. Oliver doesn't matter what size the players are so long as they are the best.
"We are always going after the best guys that we can find," Oliver said. "Whether they are small or whether they are big, if they are the best ones out there we are going to go after them. We'll fit our schemes around our best players."
*Much has been made of the weight wide receiver Maurice Stovall lost in the off-season to accommodate Weis's wish. The senior's height at 6'5" has been mentioned by Weis has a huge positive for Irish quarterback Brady Quinn. The slimming down from a larger frame has also helped his conditioning.
"I think it's helped him tremendously," Ianello said. "His stamina…Mo is running forever. It's helping him as a player. And it's helping his competition level. Now we have to translate that to everyone us."
*Oliver coached the defensive line unit under Lou Holtz last season for the South Carolina Gamecocks. He admitted that Holtz may have mellowed in his older age but sees a resemblance in coaching styles from what he has heard.
"If I had a chance to work with Lou when he was in his heyday, I can imagine that's what Charlie is like now," Oliver said. "I caught him on the tail end of his career. But from the stories I heard from other coaches, how Coach Holtz was, I could see that's how Coach Weis is. Players get after it and settle for nothing but the best."
Irish fans hope the comparison holds true. Holtz was the last coach to win a national championship here at Notre Dame in 1988.