Smith's advice: Don't shake Notre Dame players
Neither USF offensive coordinator Todd Fitch nor defensive coordinator Mark Snyder have ever coached a game at Notre Dame, but defensive backs coach Rick Smith has, going all the way back to 1977, when he was a young assistant at Georgia Tech.
"We were up 14-0 at the half," Smith recalled of the trip to South Bend under coach Pepper Rodgers. "One of our coaches grabbed a tight end he had recruited that went to Notre Dame, shook him and said we were going to kick their you-know-what. It wound up 60-something to 14."
It was actually 69-14, with Joe Montana himself routing Georgia Tech, which did lead 7-6 in the second quarter before Notre Dame opened the floodgates. The Fighting Irish's five touchdowns matched the most in school history back then, equaling a record set in 1944.
Defensive tackles coach Kevin Patrick has played at Notre Dame -- he went there as a Miami defensive end in 1990, in the final game in the "Convicts vs. Catholics" heyday of the rivalry. Notre Dame -- with Skip Holtz and Peter Vaas in their first season on Lou Holtz's staff -- won 29-20, knocking Miami out of the national championship picture.
Vaas, of course, coached as many seasons in South Bend as Skip Holtz did -- he was on the Notre Dame staff in 1990-91 and returned for two more years in 2005-06. Now a few more notes ...
-- Smith on walk-on safety Tre Griffin, the transfer from Navy sitting out this year: "Trevon made a 4.3 in high school, a 1770 on SAT, 28 on the ACT. I don't know if he even understands what I say, he's so smart. He's really doing well. He's a good tackler, he's smart. He's pretty much mastered all the coverages as far as knowing what to do. I'm really glad he's here. He's a great kid. ... He's probably 6-1, maybe a little over, right at 200. ... He'll be a safety if he doesn't grow into an outside linebacker. He'll have three years to play three."
-- Smith on freshman corner Kenneth Durden's youth: "He turned his ankle. Being young, it was like the end of the world. He couldn't hardly work on Sunday. He was full speed on Tuesday. So he has to learn to fight through the pain a little bit. He was probably 95 percent well today."