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Carr’s crying bewildering to Irish

The Associated Press

Athletic director Mike Wadsworth said he never agreed with anybody that Notre Dame would play Michigan in its season opener this year.

Wednesday, September 01, 1999

Athletic director Mike Wadsworth said he never agreed with anybody that Notre Dame would play Michigan in its season opener this year.

So why are the Wolverines so upset the Irish played Kansas at home last Saturday instead of opening the season on the road in Michigan Stadium?

And why haven’t they bothered to tell the Irish in person?

”Usually when there’s a gentleman’s agreement, gentlemen tell one another about it,” Wadsworth said Tuesday. ”And I’ve never heard from anyone about it.”

Still, Wolverines coach Lloyd Carr hasn’t been shy in griping about the 16th-ranked Irish scheduling Kansas for their season opener before playing No. 7 Michigan. He’s even claimed he thought the schools had a verbal agreement to open their season against each other rather than in any of the preseason classics.

But he apparently forgot to tell Davie.

Davie, who said he hadn’t heard anything of this supposed gentleman’s agreement until after the Irish scheduled the Eddie Robinson Classic, said he’s puzzled why nobody from Michigan has called to complain, rather than popping off through the media.

”I haven’t heard from Lloyd. I asked Mike Wadsworth if anyone in our athletic department had heard anything from Michigan on the so-called verbal agreement, and no one had,” Davie said. ”It seems a little strange to me, but I don’t want to comment on something that I haven’t heard directly from someone at Michigan.”

This season’s matchup between Notre Dame and Michigan has been particularly snippy since the Irish added a 12th game so their 11 new starters could have their baptism at home rather than in front of 105,000 fans at Michigan.

Carr is even holding back on publicly naming his starting quarterback for Saturday’s game, something he hinted is a swipe at Notre Dame for playing Kansas.

Davie doesn’t seem to care.

He said there isn’t much difference between fifth-year senior Tom Brady and sophomore Drew Henson, even though Henson is considered more mobile and Brady a better drop-back passer. The Irish saw both in their 36-20 win over Michigan in last year’s season opener, and Davie said there’s no reason to alter his preparations because of who’s taking the snaps.

”Maybe he doesn’t know. Maybe it’s that close,” Davie said of Carr’s decision. ”I wouldn’t think that it would be a huge advantage to not disclose which one it was if the two are that close and that similar in their styles.”

Besides, maybe Carr should be happy the Irish have their season opener out of the way with the 48-13 win over Kansas.

In Davie’s first two seasons, the Irish won their season openers at home, only to get spanked the following week on the road. In 1997, they squeaked by Georgia Tech, only to lose at Purdue the following week. After last year’s win over Michigan, Notre Dame was humiliated 45-23 at Michigan State.

And Davie still doesn’t know why that happened.

”I wish I could tell you exactly what caused that,” he said. ”Part of it had to do with Purdue and part of it had to do with Michigan State playing pretty well. All I can tell you is that our emphasis and our focus from the time the Kansas game was over in the locker room was to prepare for Michigan.”