Davie addresses pressure and tough Irish schedule
By TIM CASEY
When Bob Davie was appointed the Notre Dame head coach three years ago, he knew the pressure associated with his position.
He realized Irish fans expect to compete for a national championship every year and understood the tradition of Notre Dame. He also knew the schedule wouldn't allow for any easy games.
"When you look at the next stretch of games, there's not many coaches licking their chops to go do that now," Davie said at Tuesday's press conference. "I don't care what they say. No one's looking forward to that. And then next year with [Texas] A&M at home Nebraska, Purdue and Michigan State. It's like that for the next four or five years.
"If we were looking for something easy, there's a couple head coaching jobs that I could have had that would be easier than this one," Davie said. "And we have players that probably could have gone to easier places than Notre Dame.
"But to say all things are equal, I don't think that's really the case when you look at some of the teams the other schools play," he said.
Coming off consecutive last second losses, the Irish begin a stretch where three of the next six opponents are ranked in the top 25. Two others received votes in this week's Associated Press poll.
As defensive coordinator for three years before his position as head coach, Davie does not remember facing schedules as tough as the ones he has faced in his tenure.
In the 35 games contested in Lou Holtz's final three years, the Irish schedule featured a total of 11 ranked teams. Including the first three games of this year, the Irish have played the same amount of ranked teams in Davie's first 28 games as head coach.
"Notre Dame's always played an extremely competitive schedule," Davie said. "To me, right now, it seems even more competitive than it did when I came to Notre Dame."
Along with the negatives associated with the difficult schedule, Davie also sees that opportunities abound.
"There's something about going to Michigan and playing in front of 111,000 people and going down to Purdue and play against Drew Brees," Davie said.
"But it [the schedule] is a challenge and a concern particularly with the expectations as high as they are here and with trying to get into the Bowl Championship Series," Davie said. "It would have helped if we had played some directional schools as I call them, instead of playing Michigan, Kansas and Purdue. But the reality is that it's a challenge."
While national title and BCS aspirations disintegrated the last two weeks, Davie said his team will respond in the coming weeks.
"We may not be a 10-2 or 9-3 football team at the end," Davie said. "But we're going to play in a lot of different situations before the season's over."
• Senior Eric Chappell was dismissed from the team. Davie referred to Chappell's departure as an "internal discipline matter." Freshman Gary Godsey replaces Chappell as the No. 3 quarterback behind Jarious Jackson and Arnaz Battle.
• Strong safety Ron Israel (right ankle sprain), flanker Joey Getherall (right shoulder separation), tight end John Owens (torn calf muscle) and linebacker Ronnie Nicks (left ankle sprain) will all miss Saturday's game against Michigan State.
• Following the Purdue loss, Davie called for a practice on Sunday. Normally the team gets Sunday off, then reports to practice on Monday. The team watched the film of the previous day's loss then came back at night for practice. They had the day off Monday, then met Tuesday morning at 7:30 a.m. before returning for a night practice.
All Sports Stories for Wednesday, September 15, 1999