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Neither Irish quarterback effective

Andrew Soukup | Monday, September 15, 2003

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Just how ineffective was Irish quarterback Carlyle Holiday in the first half Saturday?

Using the NCAA’s complicated formula for calculating passing efficiency, which relies on attempts, completions, passing yardage, touchdowns and interceptions, Holiday was positively atrocious.

A good quarterback normally has a rating over 160. Anything below 130 is considered a tough day at the office. Holiday, who threw one interception and completed 1-of-7 passes for one – one – yard, had a rating of -13.09.

“All I know is me personally, I didn’t do what it takes to win today,” said Holiday, who finished the game 5-of-14 for 55 yards. “Michigan is a great team, but I think we kind of shot ourselves in the foot today.”

Holiday shouldered much of the blame for Notre Dame’s ineffective offense, and he was yanked in favor of Brady Quinn. The true freshman, on the other hand, wasn’t much better, completing 3-of-10 passes for 36 yards and one interception.

So will Holiday start against the Spartans Saturday? Offensive coordinator Bill Diedrick emphatically said yes. But head coach Tyrone Willingham raised more questions by waffling on the issue of Holiday’s status.

“It’s very easy for us and it will always stay the same. We’ll play the best player,” Willingham said Saturday.

And is there a question about who is the best player?

“Possibly, but not yet,” the Irish coach responded.

For the record, Holiday’s final passer rating Saturday was 54.4. Quinn’s was 40.24.

But the coaching staff contemplated pulling Holiday at halftime before deciding to give him another chance. Yet after Michigan’s 10-minute marathon touchdown drive, Holiday stood on the sideline for most of the third quarter while Quinn logged valuable game experience.

“It was more like a pitching change,” Diedrick said, “where you are trying to jump-start things and get something created or something going. It gave us a little momentum, but not the boost we needed.”

Diedrick’s search for a spark is eerily similar to what Irish coaches said two years ago, when fans were clamoring for Holiday to start in favor of Matt LoVecchio, who transferred to Indiana following the 2001 season.

How ironic that Quinn’s jersey number – 10 – is the same as LoVecchio’s.

“I understand the situation, I wasn’t being very productive,” Holiday said. “Coach told me to sit out, watch from the sidelines and see things from that perspective. I wasn’t effective and I think Coach did the right thing.