Pete DiPrimio, sports columnist and college beat writer for The News-Sentinel of Fort Wayne, Ind., takes his best shots on the world of Notre Dame football.

Friday, September 8

Figure On Irish Win

If you're going to tonight's Notre Dame football pep rally, you'd better get there early. School officials are expecting a big crowd and lots of traffic issues. How big a crowd? Consider that pep rallies are usually held inside the Joyce Center and draw about 11,000 people. Tonight the rally is at Notre Dame Stadium and officials think it could draw more than 40,000.

Of course, the big draw is tomorrow's Notre Dame-Penn State game and to win the Irish will need more offense than they displayed against Georgia Tech last week. They've heard that message a lot this week, and no players heard it as much as the offensive linemen. They committed far too many penalties against Georgia Tech and if you want to blame it on nerves or the Yellow Jacket defense or bad luck, stay far away from coach Charlie Weis. He wants more disciplined play from the line and he figures to get it.

How do we know this? Deep insight, for one. Center John Sullivan, for another.

"We're a very confident group," Sullivan said. "We're a veteran offense and we never expected to have those penalties. We've moved on. We're fixing it in practice. It's attention to detail, everything from stretching to individual drills.

"Penn State has a great defense. We know it's going to be a big test for us."

Big, perhaps, but nothing these Irish can't handle. And, on Saturday, they will.



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