NOTRE DAME Purdue doesn't care who plays QB for Irish
Opponents have been blitzing the Irish, and they haven't done much about it.
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) -- Notre Dame is still trying to decide which quarterback to start today against Purdue.
The Boilermakers' reaction: So what?
Whether Irish coach Tyrone Willingham sticks with veteran Carlyle Holiday or switches to freshman Brady Quinn, No. 22 Purdue plans to stick to its game plan.
"We have to worry about ourselves," linebacker Gilbert Gardner said. "We are an aggressive defense by nature, so I don't think we'll be more aggressive if a freshman goes in there."
Willingham held back an announcement on a starter to force Purdue (2-1) to prepare for two quarterbacks.
Can't handle pressure
The Irish (1-2) haven't reacted well to pressure, especially along the offensive line. Notre Dame gave up a school-record 38 sacks last season and already has allowed 12 this year.
Opponents have been blitzing Notre Dame, which hasn't been able to do much about it.
"We're still making too many mental mistakes, too many assignment mistakes, too many costly mistakes," center Zachary Giles said. "We always seem to be one guy away."
The Irish rank 113th out of 117 Division I-A teams in total offense. They have gone three-and-out or worse on 19 of 41 possessions this season and have scored three touchdowns, all in the fourth quarter.
All of which is why Willingham is contemplating a QB switch.
Holiday, 36-of-73 passing with one TD and four interceptions, guided the Irish to just one touchdown. Quinn, 10-of-27 with one TD and one interception, led the team to two touchdowns.
Tiller expects Quinn to start. But he also thinks Holiday is getting too much blame for Notre Dame's troubles.
It may not matter who plays quarterback against the Boilermakers. The Irish are 3-0 against Purdue the past three years even though the Boilermakers have averaged 149 yards more a game than Notre Dame and held the Irish to a total of two offensive touchdowns -- one on a 4-yard drive.
That's because Notre Dame's defense has scored three touchdowns, and special teams have added two scores. Cornerback Vontez Duff had a game-winning 33-yard interception return for a TD last year and a 96-yard kickoff return two years ago.
The Irish defense hasn't scored this season.
"We need to make things happen," Duff said. "We need to be an offensive defense. That's what we really strive for as a defense."
The Boilermakers are aware of that and wary of it.
"It seems like in this game the first team to make a big mistake is usually the team to lose," Purdue quarterback Kyle Orton said. "So we have to be real smart with the football and try to make big plays. On the other hand, you know you can't put their defense in a position to win the game for them."