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So. Cal. pep rally set for Irish Green

Molly Madden | Thursday, October 15, 2009

If Troy fell to a horse, USC stands no chance against the Irish mob that awaits them.

Notre Dame students, alumni and visitors will be out in full force at the football pep rally tomorrow night. The rally, which lasts from 6:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., will be taking place on Irish Green, the area just south of the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center.

“Everybody on campus is extremely excited and pumped,” student body president Grant Schmidt said. “We really hope to build on this excitement and carry it into the game on Saturday.”

The leprechaun Dan Collins said many activities are planned for the time leading up to the rally.

“There will be events on the Green going on during the day,” Collins said. “And the team requested that the students begin to show up around 5:30 p.m. so that the visitors can arrive to a crowd.”

Originally, there had been talks about holding the rally in the Stadium or possibly having two separate rallies. One rally would have taken place Thursday night and been solely for students and the traditional rally would have taken place Friday. However, these ideas were thrown out after talking to Irish coach Charlie Weis and the team.

“Coach Weis talked to the team about our suggestions and the team said that they really wanted to have one rally; they wanted to have that one final push before the game on Saturday,” Collins said. “Wanted a tighter space so that everyone could be packed in and the student body could make a good spectacle.”

Collins said the students will still occupy a place of prominence during the rally.

“There will be a student-only section that will be front and center and right next to the stage,” he said.

Schmidt said the attention paid to the student body is largely a result of their desire to have a more important role during the rallies.

“The students don’t want the rallies to be about anything other than the game,” he said. “They want to focus on the team and continue to be a part of the tradition.”

The rally will feature several speakers from the current team as well as from Notre Dame football history.

“The entire team will be there and all the captains will be speaking as well as coach Weis,” Collins said. “We’re also real excited because Joe Theismann and Rocket Ismail will be talking as well.”

In addition to notable speakers, attendees will also see a special addition brought in for the rally.

“We’re going to have a full-size Trojan horse there,” Collins said. “What we’re planning to do with it is going to remain a secret until then.”

Schmidt said more work went into creating an energized atmosphere for the rally, because of the significance of the opponent.

“I’m a senior and this is the biggest game that I will see throughout my time here at Notre Dame,” he said. “There’s a lot riding on this game because of the rivalry and also because of where we are in the season. The pep rally is a tradition and is a way of bringing people together.”

Collins said there is a higher level of energy because of the “special feelings” many Notre Dame football fans hold for USC.

“We really wanted to make this rally more up-tempo and to play on the raw emotions,” Collins said. “We want those emotions to serve as a call to arms and to rally all members of Notre Dame nation.”