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Dealing with change

Justin Schuver | Wednesday, April 7, 2004

Changing positions is never easy for a player. For Carlyle Holiday, it’s been even more difficult, having to move from being the team’s starting quarterback to a receiver who hardly ever saw any passes last season.Holiday has been practicing this spring as a full-time receiver, completely phasing out any repetitions at the quarterback position. Brady Quinn wrested control of the position away from Holiday last season, and the senior knows the team is basically Quinn’s now.”[The coaches and I] have discussed everything and if things go as we expect in the spring, then I think there’s going to be no need for me to go back [to playing quarterback],” Holiday said. “If any situations come up things might change but right now we’re just hoping everything goes to plan.”Holiday is making his second major transition of his college career. Recruited as an option quarterback to run former head coach Bob Davie’s offense, Holiday was forced to change gears to run coach Tyrone Willingham’s pro-style-based offensive system.”It’s been difficult having to continuously change roles, but it’s expected in college sports,” Holiday said. “Before I got here my high school coach told me that things can change everyday, and I just tried to be prepared when things happen and to be able to take advantage of those opportunities.”Holiday was the team’s starting quarterback in 2002, Willingham’s first season at Notre Dame, and helped the team to a 10-3 record and a No. 17 ranking. He struggled early last season, however, going 1-2 to start the season and officially being replaced by Quinn starting with Notre Dame’s fourth game of the year, against Purdue.With Quinn running the team’s offense, Holiday began to contribute as a wide receiver, and received two starts at the position during the team’s games against Stanford and Syracuse. Last year, Holiday caught two passes for 13 yards, but also contributed as a blocker on numerous plays. His role with the team figures to be larger this season.”Hopefully we can get him geared up to where he can focus and put all of his attention on being a receiver and making a major contribution to our football team in that regard,” Willingham said. “Even on special teams, he could be our returner – maybe our punt returner or even kickoff returner.”The Irish coaches hope that allowing Holiday to focus primarily on the wide receiver position will allow him to put all of his attention at improving at the position.”You kind of have to let him play the wide receiver,” Irish offensive coordinator Bill Diedrick said. “If you go back and split the two it’s not fair because he’s not going to benefit and get the full learning experience at receiver.”Holiday was primarily recruited by Davie because of his foot speed, and the wide receiver is a position where he feels he will be most able to use those talents. Former Notre Dame player Arnaz Battle made a similar transition, starting the 2000 season at quarterback before seeing his season end due to a wrist injury in the second game of the year.He returned to the team in 2001 as a wide receiver and contributed, but it wasn’t until his senior season in 2002 that Battle really showed his talent. Battle led the team in receiving that year, collecting 58 receptions for 786 yards and five touchdowns.”[Watching Battle make a similar transition] definitely helps,” Holiday said. “It also helps that I’ve been in the system a year longer than he had. “But to see what he’s done and what he did to get there, it’s a big motivation.”