Davie hints at QB surprise
By MIKE CONNOLLY
Bob Davie open his lunch bag Tuesday and found a few surprises: a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a Pop Tart, some Gummi Bears and a banana. Apparently his wife had switched her husband and son Clay's lunches.
Just after lunch, Davie hinted that he might have his own surprise to spring on Frank Solich and the Cornhuskers Saturday.
When asked how he planned on using his quarterbacks in the first game of the year, Davie smiled and gave away little.
"We certainly have a plan right now," Davie said about his quarterback plans for Saturday. "Our players know the plan. But I don't think it's in my best interests or the team's best interests to disclose that right now. I think you'll know how it unfolds in the first game."
After watching Solich tip his hand a bit in the Cornhuskers' first two games, Davie was in no hurry to give away his quarterback surprise.
"I want to give our football team every advantage we have to win," he said.
Sophomore incumbent starter Matt LoVecchio seems to have a solid grip on the starting job but beyond the first snap things get interesting. Davie could bring in fellow sophomores Jared Clark or Carlyle Holiday to spell LoVecchio at any time.
All three quarterbacks play similar styles but Holiday seems to be the most athletic while Clark has the strongest arm. LoVecchio, however, is the proven leader.
Beyond the three current quarterbacks, Arnaz Battle could somehow mix in the Davie's quarterback surprise. Battle started the first two games in 2000 before breaking his hand and switching to wide receiver this year. Battle, however, only smiled when asked if he could be used in any passing situations this year.
David Givens adds another multi-purpose threat to the Irish attack. The senior wide receiver ran, passed and caught a touchdown in 2000.
Last year, it was Notre Dame's special teams that surprised Nebraska by scoring 14 points. Nebraska quarterback Eric Crouch said they are better prepared for the Irish special teams this year.
"What hurt us last year was special teams," he said. "That has been our emphasis this week because we felt that we lost that part of the game last year."
Davie knows he must create a new surprise for the Irish this year because special teams can't be counted on for 14 points. Not only will the Cornhuskers be better prepared, but the Irish lost punt returner Joey Getherall to graduation. Getherall returned a punt for a touchdown last year.
"It's going to be hard to have those statistics we had in special teams," Davie said. "What concerns me is you don't have Joey Getherall. You look at the punt return Joey made against Nebraska. I'd like to tell you we had a great blocking scheme but Joey Getherall just broke the thing."
u Davie will bring four freshmen on the trip to Lincoln. Ryan Grant, Dwight Ellick, Matt Root and Carlos Campbell will all travel with the Irish. Davie said Campbell has the best chance of seeing the field but none of the four are expected to play.
u The Irish purchased special amplifiers to simulate crowd noise and have used those amplifiers this week. Davie said he has never heard a crowd as loud as the Irish simulate each day in practice.
"We put a lot of money into a whole new system," he said. "You could have U2 come in on our practice field and they wouldn't skip a beat ... I am sure the houses in the neighborhood love us with all that noise coming off the practice field."
u Davie still expects to rotate three players at cornerback this weekend. Clifford Jefferson, Vontez Duff and Jason Beckstrom will all see action Saturday.
All Sports Stories for Wednesday, September 5, 2001