Irish quarterback position open for many possibilities
By NOAH AMSTADTER
Assistant Sports Editor
Following a loss to Michigan State in which sophomore Gary Godsey completed only four passes for 20 yards, it appears that the quarterback position for the Irish is a wide open race.
"We did a lot of different things today and we took a long look at Matt LoVecchio, as well as Gary Godsey and Jared Clark," said Davie after practice Tuesday. "We looked at all three of those guys and I am going to wait until I talk to Kevin [Rogers]after practice."
True freshman LoVecchio rotated with Godsey during the second half Saturday and completed his only pass attempt to Javin Hunter for 43 yards. LoVecchio also rushed the ball four times for 21 yards, including a 12 yard scramble on second-and-11 for a 12-yard first down to end the third quarter.
Davie was impressed both by LoVecchio's composure and running ability.
"I think just the threat of the option — when Matt LoVecchio came in, you saw Matt almost broke one calling option," said Davie. "But we just have to become more productive, doing it in the framework of our style of coaches and our style of offense."
After his strong performance, LoVecchio has earned the opportunity to take more repititions in practice.
"Matt LoVecchio has already played in a game, so obviously he will get a lot of snaps," said Davie. "Same with Gary Godsey."
LoVecchio ran little option in high school, yet feels the coaching staff has prepared him well for adding the dimension of speed to his game.
"Coach Rogers gets the quarterbacks prepared to run the plays we're gonna run in the game," said LoVecchio. "I'm always trying to get better and improve."
LoVecchio brings big game experience to the Irish offense — experience that perhaps elevated him above fellow freshmen Jared Clark and Carlyle Holiday on the depth chart. While a junior at Bergen Catholic in New Jersey, LoVecchio completed eight of 16 passes for 117 yards and two TDs in a 35-9 1998 state title win over three-time defending state champion St. Joseph. Additionally, the 18-year-old attended Notre Dame's summer football camp during the summer of 1999.
"He's been coached real well," said Davie. "He's played in some big games in high school, State Championship games; he won a State Championship. I think we were always pleased his performance, as far as his personality and how he took control of things."
LoVecchio remained relaxed during his collegiate debut.
"I just blocked the crowd out and did what I had to do on the field," said LoVecchio.
In addition to Godsey and LoVecchio, Davie is also looking at Clark — a first-team all-state quarterback from Florida.
"Jared Clark, if he really comes on strong, will put himself in a position to get more snaps," said Davie. "But I don't want to waste snaps for a guy I don't know is going to play in a game."
Also in the mix is Holiday, whose athleticism tempts Davie. Holiday is unlikely to play, however, because Davie is hesitant to use up a year of eligibility.
"You know, if it was the ninth or tenth game of the year I would say `no,' sitting here right now," said Davie of Holiday's chances of seeing the field this season. "I don't think it would be fair to him, particularly because his freshman year, he was thrown in there before I think he was ready to be thrown in there. So I would not do that."
Despite the fact that LoVecchio, Clark and Holiday are all competing for the same spot — and likely will continue to compete for the next four seasons — there appears to be little animosity amongst the young quarterbacks.
"Jared and Carlyle, they're right behind me. They're two great quarterbacks," said LoVecchio. "I knew ahead of time that they were gonna take other quarterbacks. It turns out that we got a lot. It's fun to go out all together and compete with each other and learn together. I think it's all making us better players."
With all the young quarterbacks, talk inevitably turns to the possibility of at least one transferring — as did Zak Kustok in 1998 when he was buried behind Jarious Jackson, then-freshman Battle and Eric Chappell. LoVecchio claims that such thoughts are the furthest thing from the quarterbacks' minds, as they are focused on learning the offense and competing.
"We get along great. We have a lot of fun together. I don't know what's going to happen in the future with any one of us," he said. "I really try not to worry about anything. I just try to take things one step at a time. You really can't look too far down in the future."
All Sports Stories for Wednesday, September 27, 2000