"Look at this!" said coach Lou Holtz, dropping his pants. Pants-dropping is not an approved faculty activity at Notre Dame, but this was not even a venial sin. Holtz was simply showing off a deep bruise he suffered at the traditional Bookstore Basketball Tournament when he put his 5'10", 152-pound frame directly in front of Donald Royal, 6'8" and 210, Notre Dame's co-MVP basketball star. Holtz got the strawberry, which ran from the top of his thigh to the bottom of his knee, a charge call and miles of respect.
Is it any wonder the Irish are so fervent in their faith for Lou's Crew? You can't help but believe good things will come when you see this man hurling himself into his job. He even sprained a finger showing Tim Brown (see story on page 34) how to field punts.
No other coach in the country came so close to having a great year in '86 while having a lousy one (5-6). Playing just about the ugliest schedule in the land, Notre Dame lost five games by a total of 14 points. This year there is a load of experience at running back and on the offensive line, but eight defensive starters are gone. And the schedule is brutal again. Says Holtz, "We should be better, but I'm not sure why."
The Irish have a superstar in wide receiver Brown, though the likely quarterback is fleet-of-foot, awry-of-arm Terry Andrysiak. He can run the Holtzbone and the option, but his passing could be better. The other possibility is Proposition 48er Tony Rice, a Woodruff, S.C., sophomore with a great arm and no experience. "They tell me he can throw the ball 80 yards," Holtz says. "I just don't know whether it's to our guys or not."
Whoever takes the snap, his number one task is to Get the Ball to Brown, the human blur. "Not to be able to get the ball to him," says Holtz, "is like having a Ferrari in your driveway and not having the keys." The key to this team, though, just might be Holtz himself.