Chicago Sun-Times
with Mark Lazerus

Holtz readying for return to South Bend

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Skip Holtz hasn't started talking to his South Florida team about what it will be like when the Bulls travel to Notre Dame Stadium for the season-opener against the Irish, but he plans to as the Sept. 3 game draws closer. Expect his players to have a good idea what to expect. Few people have experienced Notre Dame from so many angles. 

"We'll start talking and addressing Notre Dame and their personnel and we'll also address playing at Notre Dame with all the history and tradition they have there," Holtz said during a Monday conference call. "Having been through it in three phases --- as a coach, as a player and as a student, I'll be able to give them a little bit of insight into what we're walking into."

Holtz will return to Notre Dame for the first time since watching his father Lou coach his last game for the Irish in 1996. It's a place that remains close to his heart. He fell in love with the campus before his father was named head coach there. He played for the Irish as a walk-on receiver and watched his father win a national championship and later joined the coaching staff. 

Two of his siblings also attended the University, which also happens to be where his parents own burial plots.

As difficult as it might be, Holtz said he will try to keep his emotions in check while focusing on the bigger picture --- preparing his team to defeat the Irish, who are ranked 16th in the Associated Press Preseason Poll.

"I'll talk about Touchdown Jesus and a lot of the traditional things that are on that campus," Holtz said. "I want them to go and understand what they're walking into with the history and everything that is there. It will be more of an educational process because I don't want them to go there and be [awed]. I want them to understand we're going to play a football game but I want them to understand the whole experience. We've even talked about taking the team over on Friday to the College Football Hall of Fame as a big picture [about] tradition and history [of college football]. 

"It will be more facts about Notre Dame, the stadium and the history, then it will be my personal experiences."

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This page contains a single entry by Neil Hayes published on August 22, 2011 11:58 AM.

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