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Holiday still the man

Chris Federico | Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Some people are already calling him the next Golden Boy.

And after making his second appearance in as many collegiate games, freshman quarterback Brady Quinn Notre Dame fans eager for more.

But hardly anyone in the Irish program is ready to say that the true freshman from Dublin, Ohio will be able to unseat starter Carlyle Holiday for the next game with Michigan State.

“I guess you compare [Quinn] to a non-typical freshman,” Irish offensive coordinator Bill Diedrick said. “He’s very intense, very self driven and very competitive. He does a great job of preparing himself, and he’s getting close. But you’ve got to remember he’s only had two games and all of 20 reps, and that’s not nearly enough.”

Even Quinn, himself, acknowledges that he does not feel like he is ready to supplant Holiday after just over a month in the Irish system.

“As of right now, no [I don’t think I’m ready to be the starter],” he said. “I think Carlyle is our starter. He’s there for a reason. He’s a great quarterback, and I have faith in him.”

After one of his worst performances as the Irish signal caller, Holiday still feels confident at the helm of the Notre Dame offense. Against the Wolverines, Holiday was just 5-of-15 for 55 yards and one interception.

“I don’t feel any pressure. I know how I performed on Saturday, and I know it wasn’t enough to help the team win,” Holiday said. “I just know I need to step it up a whole extra notch in practice in order for us to be able to win the ball game. The pressure’s not there, it’s just me. I need to step it up, forget about every thing and just go out and play.”

In Notre Dame’s first day back on the practice field Tuesday, Irish players and coaches said the number of snaps that both quarterbacks took in practice was pretty much the same as previous days.

“They’ve been pretty much the same,” Diedrick said. “We’ve kind of weeded Pat [Dillingham] out a little bit. He’s been working with the scout team, so it’s probably about a 2-1 ratio of snaps.”

And in the weekly press conference Tuesday, Irish head coach Tyrone Willingham confirmed that Holiday was still the starter for the time being.

“Well, we’ve said Carlyle’s growth has continued, and it has,” Willingham said. “I think he’s getting better. There are points sometimes where that may not be visible. … Carlyle has still identified himself as the best quarterback.”

If Holiday continues to struggle as he has in the first two games of the season, the Irish coaches may turn to the relatively untested Quinn to spark the offense. But the young Quinn remains confident that he will be able to handle the responsibilities – both mental and physical – that come with the territory of being the Irish starter in just his first year in South Bend.

“I feel comfortable right now,” Quinn said. “I have a pretty good grasp. Of course, I’m a true freshman, so I don’t have the experience to back that up, but mentally I have a good grasp on the system.

“I think the coaches have prepared us to be pretty mentally tough. I think that every time I go out here, whether it be a good situation or bad situation, I feel like I’m learning, and that’s what I want to do the whole entire year.”