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Irish offer problems for tired Volunteers

Pat Leonard | Thursday, November 4, 2004

Tennessee opened its season against UNLV and had an early bye week. But the Volunteers’ game against Notre Dame Saturday will be their eighth straight, and the coaches are letting people know it.

“I would have liked to have [the schedule format] changed,” Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer said. “But, I think it came out of the Memphis game where they had to change that game with them canceling and finding a time when Louisiana Tech could play.”

Notre Dame is coming off a much-needed bye week. The Irish are 23-2 all-time coming out of bye weeks.

“The other thing is that … we are about to go to 12 games sooner or later,” Fulmer said. “They need to look at that, because if they do go to 12 games then they need to start the season earlier so that everybody can still have two open dates.”

The leading headline of a Nov. 2 article on UTSports.com, Tennessee’s athletic Web site, read “Vols face rested Irish opponent Saturday.”

Respect Brady

Irish quarterback Brady Quinn received ample compliments from Fulmer during the week as Tennessee prepared to face a Notre Dame passing attack improved from last season.

“Coach [Willingham] was talking about his quarterback Brady Quinn, who is one of those guys that is going to be a star in the future,” Fulmer said. “He is big, athletic and has a great arm, and he sees the field well. He is one of the better quarterbacks we will have played against this year.”

Quinn has completed 132 out of 246 passes for 1,890 yards, ten touchdowns and seven interceptions.

The only other Notre Dame players to attempt a pass this season are backup quarterback Pat Dillingham (3-for-3, 28 yards) and running back Marcus Wilson (0-for-1).

The Irish are No. 34 in the country in passing offense, averaging 241 yards per game.

Vols’ defense suspect?

No, at least Bill Diedrick says so.

Even though South Carolina went for 567 yards (226 rushing, 341 passing) in a loss to Tennessee last week, Diedrick said the numbers do not fool him.

“I think a lot of it was in the latter portions of the game,” Diedrick said. “[Tennessee] was kind of in a semi-prevent, and [South Carolina] got a lot of what you would term as maybe wasted yardage.”

The Notre Dame offensive coordinator knows Tennessee holds opponents to just 21.1 points per game and is No. 26 in rushing defense, giving up just 109.7 yards per game.