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Montana to speak at banquet

Chris Federico | Thursday, November 13, 2003

Former Notre Dame quarterback Joe Montana will speak at the 83rd annual Notre Dame Football Banquet on Dec. 12.

Montana played an instrumental role in leading the Irish to a national championship in 1977, starting the final nine games of the season that year. Montana’s best moment may have come the following season in the Cotton Bowl, helping the Irish overcome a 34-12 deficit to top Houston 35-34 as time expired.

“Anytime that you have a player of the stature of Joe Montana, it’s just great to have him around,” Willingham said of the banquet’s guest speaker. “If he were to just pass us on the street, it would be a great thing. But when we have an opportunity to have him come speak to our banquet, and I know he will say something inspirational to our young men that will be a stepping stone for them to improve and be better in the future – and not just from a football standpoint, but from a life standpoint – you have to treasure it.”

Montana went on to win four Super Bowl titles with the San Francisco 49ers in the National Football League. He was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 2000.

The Notre Dame Football Banquet serves as an opportunity for the program to recognize outstanding Irish players of the year, as several awards are handed out. It also serves as a chance for Notre Dame to introduce high school football recruits to the program.

BYU back to the field

The Irish will be catching a very well rested and prepared Brigham Young squad, as the Cougars have not played a game since a 50-12 trouncing at the hands of Boise State on Oct. 30. That means the Cougars have not seen the field in a game for over two weeks.

“It [worries me] from the stand point that there’s always something new that they will put into their system that we may not have seen or that might be a little different than we anticipate,” Irish coach Tyrone Willingham said of his opponent’s extended layoff.

The flip side of the coin is that the Cougars may be a little rusty; having not played an actual game for 16 days by the time Saturday rolls around.

“Other than that you’re curious as to how they can get themselves back up to game speed in that length of time,” Willingham said.

The game will mark the Cougars first appearance back in South Bend since 1994 when BYU upset the Irish 21-14 for its only win in the series.

Injury bug still biting

As the season rolls on for the Irish, the grind of playing from day to today continues to take its toll as the injuries have started to pile up.

On the defensive side of the ball, two senior starters – safety Glenn Earl and defensive end Kyle Budinscak – will be out for the season, according to Notre Dame coach Tyrone Willingham.

Earl inured his knee in the Southern Cal game and had surgery last week to repair the injury, leaving him sidelined for the season. Budinscak, who has another year of eligibility remaining with Notre Dame, was injured in the Florida State game.

On the other side of the ball, tight end Anthony Fasano and right guard Dan Stevenson were both listed as questionable for Saturday’s game with BYU. Both Fasano and Stevenson were injured during the Florida State game. Sophomore Jamie Ryan started at the right guard position in place of Stevenson.

Kicker Nicholas Setta also appears to be out for the BYU game, as Willingham said he was not optimistic about the senior’s return this week. Willingham did say, however, that if Setta were to return healthy, he would be the starter again at kicker and punter. Willingham still refused to comment on the nature of Setta’s injury.