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Officiating still lingers in Irish memories

Heather VanHoegarden | Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Irish coach Tyrone Willingham said Tuesday he had a chance to look at film from Saturday’s loss to Pittsburgh. So what did he think of the officiating?

“I have a very clear idea of what took place, and I told you I wouldn’t comment on it,” Willingham said with a smile.

However, he did say that he would be looking for “clarification” on what took place Saturday.

“When things of this nature arise, then what you try to do is get clarification on what took place,” Willingham said. “And I’ll do that.”

When asked what he thought of the replay in the Big Ten, Willingham said he would have to check the rules.

“I’d have to make sure I’m familiar with the Big Ten Conference rule and what would be reviewable,” he said. “I’d imagine that some of [what took place Saturday] might not have been reviewable, so therefore you’re in the same situation.”

Sharing the ball

Irish quarterback Brady Quinn has completed passes this season to 20 different receivers, including himself. Willingham is not surprised by this.

“When you start naming the list of guys that have caught passes, you go through the receiving corps, I think there’s some guys that we expected to catch balls for us and be productive,” Willingham said. “The fact that we hopefully are able to add more of our running backs into the mix is a plus, and also with our tight ends. I personally like that diversity, the ability to move it around.”

The Bush factor

Willingham recruited Southern California’s Reggie Bush to Notre Dame, but the speedy running back chose the Trojans. Bush is now a Heisman Candidate.

“There is no question this is a very talented young man,” Willingham said. “He makes a huge difference in their team. He opens up things for other guys, just having him on the field at certain times and handing the ball to the other guy, makes them a very potent team. We don’t like looking at him, but were going to have to find a way to defend him and slow him down and slow his team down.

USC: better than last year?

The Irish were drubbed by USC last year at home, 45-14. The scary part is that Willingham thinks the No. 1 Trojans might be better than that team.

“In many regards, they’re better [than last year], and there are probably some areas they’re learning and growing, and there are probably some replacements and a little younger at some spots,” he said. “But overall I would say they’re a better team.”