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Mattison was aware of Campbell’s injury

Andrew Soukup | Thursday, October 30, 2003

All the conversation about Darrell Campbell’s unexplained absences is baffling to Notre Dame coaches.

After Notre Dame’s 27-25 loss to Boston College Saturday, both head coach Tyrone Willingham and defensive coordinator Kent Baer said they didn’t know Campbell was out of the game in the second half.

At his Tuesday press conference, Willingham said that it’s not uncommon for the head coach or the defensive coordinator to know if a player is in or out because position coaches are often responsible for rotating players in and out.

“Sometimes I am not aware of some of the specific personnel,” he said.

Campbell left Saturday’s game because he said he lost feeling in his arm, defensive line coach Greg Mattison said. He is probable for this weekend’s game, according to Willingham.

“In my 30 years of coaching, I have never, when a defensive lineman has told me he couldn’t play, gone running to the head coach or defensive coordinator,” Mattison said. “And I might say that when I was a defensive coordinator, if a guy would have come up to me and said, ‘My nose guard can’t play,’ I would have looked at him like he had two heads and said, ‘Put in the next guy who can.'”

In the hands of the enemy

A copy of the Notre Dame playbook is in Tallahasse, Fla.

Or that’s what Matt Root, a tight end who transferred from Notre Dame to Florida State in the spring, said, according to a story in the Tallahasse Democrat.

“I got all the playbooks,” the Florida native boasted.

But Root said that Seminole coaches have teased him about turning them over, they haven’t formally asked him for the playbooks. Instead, he said he has been queried about players and tendencies.

That’s all he’ll be able to do to help beat his former team. Root is unable to play against the Irish because he must sit out for one year as mandated by NCAA regulations.

Booker’s return

On signing day two years ago, Notre Dame head coach Tyrone Willingham believed his first Irish recruiting class would contain running back Lorenzo Booker, who planned to announce his decision on an evening ESPN telecast.

But on national television, Booker stiffed the Irish and donned a Florida State hat. He said he’s never once regretted his decision and looks forward to playing against the Irish Saturday.

“I just want to go up there and win that game,” Booker told the Tallahassee Democrat. “Because walking off that field there, if we win that game, I’d be feeling real good – letting all of you guys know, ‘Yeah, I made the right choice.'”

What tipped the balance, Booker said, was the fact that he couldn’t see himself playing for Willingham.

“You can’t be yourself,” he said. “I felt whenever I was going to be around him, I would have to put on some kind of act.”