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Q&A: Rece Davis

Mike Monaco | Friday, February 8, 2013


Coming out to Notre Dame is there something that sets it apart for you personally as a business trip from places like Bloomington [Ind.] [for Michigan versus Indiana], NC State, Butler?

Well all of those places are terrific venues and you’re often asked which place is best. I don’t think you can say a place is best. I think you can say that each is unique and each is special.

In terms of why it’s special for me, for our show, to come to Notre Dame, a lot of it has to do with my relationship with Digger. And I think that over the eight-plus years – we’re now in our ninth season of doing this show – that I think the most memorable moment, the thing that you capture that will sort of encapsulate what “GameDay” is for me wasn’t even on TV. It was when we were here the first time and I looked out and we walked in here and the crowd was rocking and Digger had worked so hard in the dorms to make sure the students were going to come out and make it a good showing and they showed up for it and so did the people in town and – I know they didn’t show up for him. They showed up for the program but Digger had really driven a lot of it – to look up and to see how proud he was and to see what he claimed to be were allergies affecting his eyes – a little moistness in the corners – was really cool.

And we have a lot of fun at Digger’s expense and he’s a great sport about it but we love him, we respect him and to see how proud he was to be at a place that’s so important to him was really cool. I think it’s one of the most memorable things for me in terms of our show and in addition to that it really spoke to the sense of community of this university as a whole. Sometimes at some places there’s a divide with the athletic programs and the university culture as a whole. And I’m sure there is here to a degree because there has to be; it’s sort of the nature of the beast. But I think that that divide is far less here than it is at many other places and because of that you get a real unique sense of community.

What do you think about the specific matchup tomorrow? Obviously the guard matchup is good between guys like [Eric] Atkins, [Jerian] Grant, [Peyton] Siva, [Russ] Smith, but what else do you see in that game tomorrow?

Well I’ve said I think the biggest thing from Notre Dame’s standpoint is I think when you play Louisville you need to take care of the basketball. And I know that goes without saying but if [the Cardinals] get easy baskets there have been times – even though they have terrific players – when they’ve had a little bit of a struggle to score. If you give them easy baskets it’s really hard to beat them because they’re really good on defense and they’re really deep and Siva’s terrific.

And you know this is not a unique thought to me – I get it from listening to the various coaches that I work with – but I think one of the things that a lot of the teams try to do is to turn Siva into a scorer because he’s such a terrific guy in terms of creating opportunities for his teammates. So I think if [Notre Dame] can do a little bit of that and – there have been teams that have tried that and gotten beat doing that too because [Siva] is good enough to beat them – I think if they’re successful in doing that and he doesn’t have a huge night then maybe they can limit some of the other guys as well and take care of the ball and don’t give up a lot of cheap baskets and I think Notre Dame is a very good team. They have a good shot of being able to beat Louisville.

For you personally and professionally, how do you go back from being a play-by-play guy at times to doing the hosting and the studio stuff and all that as well?

Well my foundation is in studio hosting. That’s what I do better. I’m still, I hope, improving and growing as a play-by-play guy and I enjoy that very much. It’s a lot of fun.

But my background and my strong suit is in the studio and I know that. You always try to get better at everything but I know I have probably more room for growth as a play-by-play guy.

I think it’s good for both jobs to be able to do both. I think sometimes that if you only do play-by-play I think sometimes you get locked into just the game and you’re not as apt to step back and put it into a bigger picture context. I think sometimes if you are just in the studio you don’t focus on some of the intricacies of the game quite as well as perhaps you would if you were a play-by-play guy. For me, anyway, it’s a good mix and it’s something I’m very blessed and happy to be able to do and something I enjoy a lot.