Davie: Too early to choose frontrunner for quarterback
By KATHLEEN O'BRIEN
Senior Sports Writer
Bob Davie may not know who will be quarterbacking the offense or who will wind up as the prime receiving target come September, but Davie knows he's got a talented pool of players to pick from.
"It's a little too early," said Davie about picking a frontrunner at quarterback. "So far, it's confirmed exactly what we've thought — that those two quarterbacks that we didn't see a whole lot of are extremely talented. We really have three guys, I think it's kind of remarkable, that they're just freshmen and we can watch them throw like that."
Matt LoVecchio, the starter for most of the 2000 season, split reps with fellow freshmen Carlyle Holiday and Jared Clark in Thursday's practice. Davie plans to divide reps among the trio throughout spring practices.
"Exactly even, it's dead even with reps," Davie said. "Clark has great velocity on it. I'm impressed with Carlyle and the level he's throwing the ball right now."
LoVecchio's still got an edge, with eight games beneath his belt.
A positive for the Irish is that all three quarterbacks are capable of employing the same offensive style.
Last year, Notre Dame found itself in a quandary when Arnaz Battle suffered a season-ending injury, forced to completely remake its offense with no option-ready quarterback to replace Battle. This year, even if an injury should occur, the Irish should be able to maintain the same offensive plan.
"We went into the season thinking Arnaz Battle was the quarterback," Davie said in a press conference. "We were thinking we were going to have to be a heavy option team. We worked on a lot of triple option last spring that we really never got to use. We don't have that situation anymore. We have three quarterbacks that are the same. Our style of offense, we can lock into right now, and it's going to remain the same, knock on wood."
Battle will see the ball from another angle next season, after switching to the wide receiver position during the off-season. Along with juniors David Givens, currently out with a hamstring injury, and Javin Hunter, Battle should get a lot of looks at wide receiver. Current freshmen Ronnie Rodamer, Omar Jenkins and Jerome Collins will join in the receiving corps.
The one thing all the receivers have in common — they're all looking good in practice.
"Good news and bad news," Davie joked. "Either we're better at receiver or we have to continue to improve at corner[back]."
Practicing indoors at Loftus with no pads, throwing and catching was a little easier for the Irish than in a game situation. But Davie was still happy with what he saw.
"I am pleased with the way we're throwing and catching the ball," Davie said. "I think some of the young players, and I put Arnaz in that category, they catch the ball pretty well. We are throwing and catching the ball at a pretty high level for this early."
Rodamer, who did not see action in 2000, is a strong deep option for the quarterback in question.
"He's a guy that goes up and catches the deep ball," Davie said. "He has good hand and eye coordination. He doesn't have blazing speed, but I don't know that you have to."
The Irish are going through 10 minutes of option every day, partly to gear up for the season opener against Nebraska.
u Recruit Dwight Ellick is not even on campus yet, but Davie already likes what he's hearing about the quick cornerback from Florida.
"I'm excited," Davie said. "Dwight Ellick, I guess, has really had some tremendous track times down in Tampa."
All Sports Stories for Friday, March 30, 2001