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ESPN moves ‘The Season’

Chris Federico | Wednesday, September 17, 2003

ESPN announced Tuesday that “The Season,” the college football reality programming series focusing on Notre Dame this season will switch time slots to 11 p.m. South Bend time Thursday from the 7 p.m. Tuesday slot it occupied for the premiere episode.

An ESPN producer said Tuesday the change was made to place the show in a time slot with higher ratings potential. “The Season” will now air following ESPN’s Thursday night NCAA football game, in a slot the station hopes will be more attractive to college football fans. ESPN intended to introduce the show in prime time the first week and then move it to its usual time slot on Thursday nights.

Last week, ESPN’s Thursday night game drew a 2.2 share (the percent of televisions in use that are tuned to a certain program), attracting more viewers than its Saturday night game.

Third down deficiency

Irish coaches expressed concern Tuesday after practice with Notre Dame’s effectiveness on third downs on both sides of the ball this season.

Last week, the Irish converted on only 1-of-12 attempts on third downs. Meanwhile, the Wolverines were 12-for-19 on third down Saturday.

“My big disappointment was with third down,” Irish defensive coordinator Kent Baer said. “You had the third down conversions [Michigan made], which really technique-wise came down to tackling. … If we do a good job on third down, we don’t play as many snaps. I think it came down to tackling, which upsets me because we’re good tacklers.”

On the season, the Irish have converted on only 5-of-28 third down attempts. Opponents are 17-for-35 on third down.

Making a mark

Saturday was a day of firsts for true freshman quarterback Brady Quinn, who completed his first NCAA pass in the fourth quarter against Michigan.

“[The completion] felt good,” Quinn said. “It was a chance to get the ball moving and get the chains moving. I was hoping to have a few more of those and get the ball down the field and get some points on the board, but that wasn’t the case.”

Quinn, however, also experienced his first NCAA interception as he finished the day 3-of-10 passing for 33 yards.

“It was a bad read, plus the ball kind of slipped out,” Quinn said Tuesday of the errant pass. “I think if I would have put the ball on a line, it would have had a chance to get to the receiver. But looking back at it, it probably wasn’t the guy I should have gone to.”

O-Line still growing

After giving up seven sacks and four fumbles by Carlyle Holiday against Washington State in the opener and only 49 rushing yards at Michigan, the offensive line is going through some major growing pains.

“We are not making any excuses about that. All of the young men that we have, we expect them to step up and play,” Notre Dame coach Tyrone Willingham said. “We as coaches have to do an excellent job of getting everything done right with them. Right now, as an offensive team, we have not executed. We have got to do a better job of execution for us to be successful.”

Other TV news

ABC Sports announced Tuesday it will televise the Sept. 27 Notre Dame versus Purdue football game on a regional basis. The game will be broadcast to 37 percent of the nation and will be aired in all of Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, New York, Maine, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont and New Hampshire, plus parts of Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Louisiana and Mississippi.

Kickoff will be set for 2:30 p.m. South Bend time in West Lafayette, Ind.