A look at Notre Dame, Navy

Notre Dame hopes the party is just getting started.

Originally Published: September 15, 2004
By Adam Rittenberg | Special To
The other side of Tyrone Willingham is securely stowed inside Notre Dame's locker room and within the tarped fences enclosing the school's practice fields.

But every once in a while -- say, whenever Notre Dame beats a top-10 team -- Willingham decides to let loose. Well, sort of. During last Saturdays' 28-20 win over then-No. 7 Michigan, the cameras spotted Willingham leaping in delight as he celebrated cornerback Dwight Ellick's game-changing interception late in the third quarter.

"Unfortunately with modern-day television, they have to cover so many things," Willingham joked after the game. "I do think I have some relative quickness. They miss most of my celebrations."

On Tuesday a reporter grilled Willingham about an alleged post-game dance inside the Fighting Irish locker room. As usual, the coach played it cool and offered no encore for the assembled media.

"My players see it from me all the time," he said. "Every day we practice, every day we're together, they sense my intensity, my love of life and for the game of football. Do other people need to see it? They might, but they're probably missing the game."

Willingham has earned the right to celebrate after his team found most of the holes in an overrated Wolverines squad. Notre Dame's performance featured many mistakes, but the team played with a swagger, particularly on defense.