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FOOTBALL: Quinn ready to battle USC

Pat Leonard | Thursday, October 13, 2005

It’s easy for an opposing quarterback to disappear under the shadow of USC’s Matt Leinart.

The senior quarterback averages 329 yards passing per game, has the nation’s sixth-best passer rating (168.6) and still can lay claim to the Heisman Trophy as the top player in 2004.

But with a new coach, new season and a new offensive system, Irish quarterback Brady Quinn has built quite a resume of his own in 2005.

Quinn ranks No. 11 in passer efficiency (156.35) and No. 7 in total yards passing (1,621), while throwing fewer passes (190) than 16 other quarterbacks.

Even the man possibly closest to Leinart respects what Quinn has accomplished so far in his junior season.

“He’s doing all the things that a good quarterback does,” USC coach Pete Carroll said. “I’m sure that he’s confident and strong in the huddle with all those players. His execution is exceptional. His ability to make decisions … he’s really been quick to take off at the right times and done it well.”

Carroll understands what a good quarterback must do. Leinart has a 30-1 record as Southern California’s starter and two national championships under his belt.

Quinn entered Notre Dame as a freshman when then-quarterback Carlyle Holiday was failing to move the 2003 Irish offense in the right direction. In his first career start, the Columbus, Ohio native took his bruises in a 23-10 loss in West Lafayette, Ind. to Purdue.

Quinn threw 59 passes in that game and was sacked five times, hit many more and introduced to the Division-I college football scene with a bang.

But maturity and guidance are all part of the growth of players at such a significant and spotlighted position, especially at Notre Dame, where names like Montana, Hornung and Bertelli are cemented in legend.

“When you look back, [being Notre Dame’s quarterback] is something great,” Quinn said. “Right now, it’s a position that I’m trying to fill to the best of my ability.”

Whether Quinn’s best performances will ever measure up to Leinart’s remains to be seen. But Carroll doesn’t doubt the junior signal-caller’s talent when matched with Weis’ play calling.

“He’s just done beautiful things,” Carroll said. “He’s doing everything that a great quarterback does. He’s played the best that he’s played and I know that he owes as much to the system and to the style of coaching.”


u USC will participate in a walk-through practice Friday afternoon in Notre Dame Stadium from 2:30- 3:15 p.m., and students are more than welcome to greet the Trojans as they enter the Stadium.

u ESPN2’s morning program Cold Pizza will tape its show Friday from 7-9 a.m. on the quad between the Library and Notre Dame Stadium. Cold Pizza personality Woody Paige is looking forward to his visit to South Bend as he thinks an upset just might be in the works.

“I’m picking Notre Dame,” Paige said Tuesday in an interview with The Observer. “I think the Irish have a legitimate chance. The atmosphere is going to be incredible.”

After Cold Pizza finishes taping, the show will immediately air at 9 a.m. EST on ESPN2.