Not only does Notre Dame not apologize for its prosperity, some of the Irish feel that the rest of us ought to be grateful for its good fortune. "When we're doing well," says senior guard Jim Jones, "it's good for college football."
A rising Irish tide, in other words, lifts all boats. Left high and dry after Saturday's game was Hackett, who cut a sad figure, voicing his determination to get Palmer and the kicking game straightened out for next season when he had to know the ax would fall soon. In one locker room was a team in clover. In the other, a coach in denial.
Tech's Overlooked Assistant
Friedgen Should Be Moving Up
In his 30 years as an offensive coach, the last 18 as a coordinator, Ralph Friedgen has been associated with a team that won a national title ( Georgia Tech, 1990) and one that went to the Super Bowl ( San Diego Chargers, '95). Since returning to the Yellow Jackets from the Chargers in '97, Friedgen has tutored quarterback Joe Hamilton, the '99 Davey O'Brien Award winner, and this season George Godsey, the sixth-most-efficient passer in the nation. Yet when Maryland, Friedgen's alma mater, and Memphis asked Georgia Tech for permission to interview him for their coaching vacancies, those requests equaled the number of head-job interviews Friedgen has had in his career.
Friedgen, 53, has had to overcome an image problem. His tongue is as sharp as his mind-even one of his best friends, Yellow Jackets coach George O'Leary, calls him "very gruff"—and he doesn't back off from much, including, by the looks of him, the buffet table. He's a hulk of a man. Fact is, you don't see a lot of Herman Hickmans and Abe Gibrons as head coaches these days. "If that's the case," former Maryland quarterback Boomer Esaiason once said about Friedgen, " Utah ought to fire [its rotund basketball coach] Rick Majerus. Ralph coached the offensive line at Maryland when I was there. [The linemen] were telling me what to do."
Georgia Tech thinks enough of Friedgen to have given him a five-year rollover contract, almost unheard of for an assistant. The annual $210,000 investment has been money well spent. Friedgen devised a version of the pro passing attack that gave Hamilton, a 5' 9" option quarterback, the freedom to run and pass. Hamilton responded by leading the Yellow Jackets to a 10-2 record in '98 and an 8-4 in '99-This season Friedgen reemphasized the passing aspects of the pro attack to the benefit of the lumbering Godsey, who threw for 2,906 yards and 23 touchdowns with only six interceptions as Tech went 9-2. Godsey even made use of his limited running ability. On the first option play on which he kept the ball this season, Godsey rushed 33 yards for the opening touchdown last Saturday in Tech's 27-15 defeat of Georgia. After the touchdown Godsey asked Friedgen, "Coach, were they gaining on me?"
Friedgen said, "They didn't even know you had the ball."
Says Godsey of Friedgen, "When you can go from the style of Joe to me and have the same success, that says a lot."
San Jose State's Tight End
Petty Officer Rogers Reporting
San Jose State senior Jesse Rogers may not be the Spartans' most talented player, and he rarely shows up on the stat sheet, but he's seen plenty of action lately. In addition to being a backup tight end, the 26-year-old Rogers is a husband, father and petty officer, third class, in the Naval Reserve.