Leavitt on Notre Dame: 'Unbelievable'
Jim Leavitt has told me the story before, back when Urban Meyer was hired at Florida, but I asked him again Wednesday night about the time he flew up to Notre Dame to "talk defense" with the Fighting Irish coaching staff.
It was after the 1996 season, the year before USF's first game, when Leavitt had a team but no opponents. He's never been to a football game at Notre Dame, but he flew up and talked with their coaches -- Meyer was a young assistant on the staff -- got a tour of the campus from then-defensive coordinator Greg Mattison, got to make the same pregame walk that players take from the Basilica of the Sacred Heart to Notre Dame Stadium. "It's unbelievable," he said.
So he's well aware of the mystique of Notre Dame, how special it will be for USF to play there in 2011. He said he met famous walk-on Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger when he spoke at an adidas clinic in Las Vegas a few years back. To juxtapose his young program, which will be in its 15th season in 2011, against Notre Dame's storied history, he thinks will be a "tremendous story." It's still a ways off, but the freshmen who redshirted this season will get to play there in one of their final games as seniors. It's something everyone at USF is excited about -- athletic director Doug Woolard has been to Notre Dame, but only for basketball games.
Let me throw some links up, first to our game story from USF-Louisville, noting that the current stretch of six consecutive double-digit losses is the longest such run in Bulls history. There's our story on the Notre Dame game, and belated links to our feature on USF's Chris Howard and Stan Heath's comments on his lack of depth, which ran Wednesday. Lots more to come today, so keep checking back ...