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Samardzija runs, then flies

Justin Schuver | Monday, April 26, 2004

Only a few hours after catching the only touchdown for the Gold team in the Blue-Gold game Saturday, Jeff Samardzija ran to make a 6:20 p.m. flight to Pittsburgh with the rest of the Notre Dame baseball team.

After all, he was scheduled to start in game one of Notre Dame’s doubleheader against the Panthers Sunday.

“There are literally days where he walks right off the football field and goes over to the baseball diamond,” Irish coach Tyrone Willingham said. “It’s phenomenal that he’s able to do both sports, and that he’s also able to manage his academics so well.”

Samardzija was a high-school standout in football, basketball and baseball when he was being recruited by the Irish, and said that there have been no conflicts so far between the two sports he plays in a Notre Dame uniform.

“It’s just something I try to put out of my mind and not let one carry over to the other,” Samardzija said. “[Willingham and baseball coach Paul Manieri] are fair and understanding and they both know what is best for me and I pay attention to what they have to say.”

Samardzija was the losing pitcher in Notre Dame’s 8-6 loss to Pittsburgh Sunday.

No more red jersey

Receiver Carlyle Holiday caught a quick pass from Brady Quinn in the second half of the Blue-Gold game Saturday and lowered his shoulder to try and run over safety Freddie Parrish in an attempt to gain more yards on the play.

That’s a far cry from previous Blue-Gold games, where Holiday started as quarterback and it was taboo to make any contact with him at all.

“They took away my red jersey,” Holiday joked. “Now I’m out there working hard and trying to be as physical as I can be and try to use the strength that I have.

“As a quarterback you’re always dropping back and getting high, so this spring I had to learn how to run low more so that’s what I’ve really been working on.”

Just give them all the ball

Irish quarterback Brady Quinn completed passes to eight different receivers on Saturday for the Blue team, while his Gold counterpart Pat Dillingham completed passes to seven different receivers.

Tight end Billy Palmer and fullback Josh Schmidt – along with receiver Rhema McKnight – tied for the most receptions with three, and fullback Rashon Powers-Neal had the longest reception of the day, a 59-yard touchdown.

“One of the things we want to do is use all the guys on the field and make it to where the defense has to put someone on every player,” Quinn said.