I posted an article up on the main site with some information on Holtz and Ara as the coaches for the Blue-Gold game earlier tonight, but figured I’d post with a little more of my opinions over here.
First off, I love seeing Weis reach out to Ara and Lou. As a younger fan, I never had the pleasure of seeing Ara coach a game while at Notre Dame and still vividly remember Holtz as the coach of Notre Dame as I was growing up and as my addiction to Notre Dame football became more and more serious. Since Lou was the first coach I really remember from my childhood, I guess I didn’t realize how good we as Notre Dame fans had it with Lou. I just assumed that Lou did what Notre Dame coaches are supposed to do – win. Needless to say the 11 years since Lou’s departure from Notre Dame has given me a much greater appreciation for the job he did and as a fan, I can’t wait to see him on the sidelines for the first time in person.
One interesting plot line with Holtz as a coach and Tony Rice as a honorary captain is how Demetrius Jones will be used in the Blue-Gold game. Obviously Weis won’t be running the option, but it will be interesting to see what effect Holtz and Rice can have on a mobile quarterback like Jones. Even though they’ll only really have interaction with Demetrius for the day of the game, it’ll be fun to watch Holtz work with another mobile quarterback given his track record with such quarterbacks at Notre Dame.
On the other side of the field, how can any not love seeing Ara come back and coach another game for Notre Dame? As I mentioned earlier, I never had the pleasure of seeing Ara coach a game for the Irish so my “kid in a candy store” reference in the article on the main definitely will apply to me for the Blue-Gold game.
One other point I made in the article was how much of an effect on recruiting is really a good question. We as Notre Dame fans will be giddy to see Lou and Ara with headsets on on April 21, but how will a 16 or 17 year old recruit to act to seeing a coach, Holtz, who won his national championship at Notre Dame two or three years before they were born? Or in Ara’s case, a coach who coached his last game more than 25 years before they born?
The kids who this will have an impact on the most are going to be the ones who grew up Notre Dame fans and who have an idea of the history and tradition of Notre Dame. Recruits who might know of Notre Dame’s tradition, but who might not have a great understanding of it may not be as impressed.
Where I see having Ara and Lou coach having a real impact on recruiting is in the fan turnout for the game. To me having the likes of Ara, Lou, Tony Rice, Ross Browner, etc is much more of a treat for the fans than the recruits, but the end result of this may be the largest crowd to ever attend a Notre Dame Blue-Gold game.
First off, we have the much publicized quarterback race featuring this past year’s super recruit Jimmy Clausen who may have received more national coverage than any recruit in recent years has so there was already going to be a fairly large media contingent covering that angle. Now, throw into the mix two coaches who won three national titles at Notre Dame and the fan interest in this game is going to be off the charts.
So… some of these top line recruits might not be overly impressed with seeing coaches they may know very little about, but most of them should be impressed if say Notre Dame can draw 30, 40, or 50,000+ fans to a scrimmage.
Even if this year’s coaches don’t have an impact on recruiting, seeing them back in Notre Dame Stadium is something that every Notre Dame fan can appreciate and enjoy. I personally was already fairly excited about making the trip out to South Bend for this year’s spring game and today’s news has only added to that.