Keeping focus is Irish quest today

September 07, 1991

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Notre Dame quarterback Rick Mirer can face Indiana today free from worries over his arrest last week on charges of public intoxication and disorderly conduct.

"I'm happy the way things turned out," he said after the charges were dropped Thursday. "It's just unfortunate it had to be like that."

Coach Lou Holtz wonders whether his reshuffled offense can hold its concentration.

"The attention span of a 5-year-old is, what, 12 seconds or something?" he said. "It eventually works up to an adult's two minutes. Our longest play's probably six seconds. I hope we can do that enough."

Mirer, arrested during an off-campus street party last weekend, had worried the turmoil surrounding the incident hurt his concentration while preparing for Notre Dame's opener. On Thursday, he was more optimistic.

"Good news for me," he said. "I can relax now, and stop worrying about that and start getting ready for the game."

Mirer rallied No. 7 Notre Dame to comeback victories over Michigan and Michigan State his first two games last season. But he stumbled as the Irish lost a fumble-marred game against Stanford, lost to Penn State and again to Colorado in the Orange Bowl.

"Notre Dame is Notre Dame. They're good," Hoosiers coach Bill Mallory said with a shrug at the odds that make the seventh-ranked Irish nearly a 20-point favorite.

The teams are meeting for the first time in 33 years, but the coaches have faced off before. Holtz beat Mallory twice in Big Ten competition when Holtz coached at Minnesota in the 1984 and '85 seasons.

The game features Mirer and Trent Green, an option quarterback who rushed for three touchdowns in Indiana's losing effort against Auburn in the Peach Bowl.

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