A look at Notre Dame, Navy

Notre Dame must find ways to get WR Carlyle Holiday involved against Michigan's talented secondary.

Updated: September 8, 2004, 3:59 PM ET
By Adam Rittenberg | Special To
It's a new season in South Bend, but the script hasn't changed. Not even by one word. Notre Dame football coach Tyrone Willingham devoted yet another news conference Tuesday to critiquing, explaining and defending his perpetually underachieving offense. He reiterated his confidence in the players and in a scheme he still believes can blossom.

But Willingham knows the facts. Notre Dame generated only 276 yards of offense, converted just 3 of 16 third downs and allowed five sacks in last Saturday's loss at BYU. The school that produced George Gipp and Paul Hornung managed 11 rushing yards. Notre Dame punted 11 times last Saturday, its highest total in nearly 22 years.

"We're all very disappointed," Willingham said. "I felt comfortable that this would be a good, solid total offensive performance for us. … I'm disappointed but not disillusioned and still confident we can do some things offensively. I'm a believer you have to have everything in the right place to have a great offense."

The Fighting Irish didn't have top RB Ryan Grant, who missed the BYU game with a nagging hamstring injury. Willingham gave "no consideration" to inserting Grant in the game but said the senior will practice as the starter throughout this week.