USF-Notre Dame game will be 2011 opener
USF will open Skip Holtz's second season with the Bulls in grand fashion, as the Bulls' 2011 game at Notre Dame has been moved from Oct. 1 to Sept. 3 and will be the season opener for both teams.
"It's definitely happening," USF executive associate athletic director Bill McGillis said of the scheduling change, which has Holtz returning to his alma mater and the school his father Lou coached to a national championship in 1988.
The game will be USF's first big season opener since the Bulls opened the 2005 season at Penn State; this fall's opener against Stony Brook will be the fifth straight opener against a Division I-AA opponent.
Holtz played in all 11 games at Notre Dame as a special-teams player and backup flanker in 1986, earning his bachelor's degree in business management the same year. He returned to Notre Dame to coach on his father's staff from 1990-93, including the last two seasons as the team's offensive coordinator.
Despite the rich family connection, the scheduling change actually predates Holtz's hiring at USF. Notre Dame was scheduled to open the 2011 season with road games at Purdue and Michigan, and the Fighting Irish asked USF about switching dates with Purdue to avoid the road start. "We've certainly agreed to it," said John Heisler, Notre Dame's senior associate athletic director.
USF still intends to play a I-AA opponent in 2011 later in September -- the Bulls have a home game with Ball State scheduled for Sept. 10, and a home game with Miami on Nov. 26, with one more nonconference game still to be scheduled, likely against a non-BCS I-A opponent. This is actually the second time the USF-Notre Dame has been reshuffled -- it was initially slated for Nov. 19, but was moved to the October date two years ago to facilitate NBC's coverage of the President's Cup golf tournament.
-- Michigan's linebackers coach -- for which former USF assistant David Blackwell had been mentioned as a candidate -- was filled Thursday when Rich Rodriguez promoted quality-control assistant Adam Braithwaite, according to ESPN.com.
-- Former USF offensive line coach Mike Simmonds said he's considering returning to I-AA Indiana State, his alma mater, to coach the offensive line for the Sycamores. It's one option he's considering, and says he'll know more next week.