Blue and Gold Illustrated

Sept. 26, 2016

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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8 SEPT. 26, 2016 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED UNDER THE DOME Now in her 11th season in charge of the program, Susan Holt has trans- formed Irish women's golf into one of the nation's most successful and consistent programs. Holt, a six-time conference coach of the year, has led Notre Dame to nine consecutive NCAA re- gional appearances (2008-16), including its first-ever NCAA Championships berth (2011), while lowering the team's season stroke average by more than 10 strokes since she arrived on the scene in 2006. BGI: How has the team looked in practice so far this offseason compared to where you think they need to be heading into competition play? Holt: "We've had two rounds of qualifying so far. We've had some good scores. We had five of our players on campus for the majority of the summer taking some classes. They were able to utilize the facilities and practice and push each other. "It put them where they are right now — heading into the season in pretty good shape." BGI: You lost your top golfer, Talia Campbell, from last season. Who needs to step up in fill her void? Holt: "I don't think it is any one person. We have a lot of depth on our team, and we have a lot of tal- ent. It's everybody stepping up and shaving one or two shots a round. If they can do that it will fill the void of Talia's departure." BGI: Has any player really stepped up her game or made improvements heading into this season? Holt: "I have been really pleased with Jordan Ferreira, our senior. She's actually played really well this fall … Jordan's got a lot of experience as one of our seniors. I think she'll a good solid key for us this year." BGI: Going into your 11th season now, how are you able to continuously have teams which break school records? Holt: "We've been very fortunate to attract the right fit not only for Notre Dame academically, but also athletically. Our facilities are really, really good for golf. We've got the wonderful Warren Golf Course. It's such a great venue for us to play day in and day out … and our indoor facility is one of the best in the country. "There's a lot of moving parts to it, but I think it's trying to keep that momentum going with the level of talent we have and try to bring in that same level if not better each year." BGI: What would make the fall season a success in your mind? Holt: "Our fall schedule is really going to be challenging, which is a good thing. We try to play the best schedule we can, so our players are always competing at the highest level. If we can have top-five finishes in everything it will be a huge success. "We'll be in a good place nationally as far as the ranking goes and be positioning ourselves well for the spring." — Corey Bodden Five Questions With … WOMEN'S GOLF COACH SUSAN HOLT Top Cornerback Is Needed By Corey Bodden A ton of top-tier 2017 prospects were in South Bend for the Michigan State game, and several could fill immediate needs for Notre Dame. Landing a stud cornerback is the top priority for the Irish. Notre Dame loses Cole Luke to graduation this year, and sophomore Shaun Crawford continues to battle injuries. Mansfield (Texas) High product Paulson Adebo is currently committed to the Irish in the 2017 class, and Notre Dame does have three talented young corners in freshmen Troy Pride Jr., Donte Vaughn and Julian Love. However, as the college game con- tinues to evolve to the spread and passing game, it is even more important to have a large group of capable cornerbacks. Securing a commitment from one of these three Michigan State game visitors — Jacksonville (Fla.) Trinity Christian corner Shaun Wade, Juanita (Wash.) Kirkland athlete Salvon Ahmed or Rancho Cucamonga (Calif.) High cover man Thomas Graham — would be huge for the Irish staff. Notre Dame has also struggled rushing the passer recently, but great cover cornerbacks can help alleviate a poor pass rush and allow for more "cover- age sacks." The addition of one of the trio would give the defensive backfield another talented and needed playmaker. Donovan Jeter Is The Top Target By Bryan Driskell There were a number of gifted football players on campus this past week- end when the Irish hosted Michigan State. Landing any of the official visitors would be a huge coup for the Notre Dame program. Stafford (Texas) High wide receiver Hezekiah Jones or Covington (Ga.) Newton pass catcher Jeremiah Holloman would be tremen- dous pickups for Notre Dame, but the Irish depth chart already has a deep and talented receiving corps. Landing one of the three cornerbacks on campus would be big- time for Notre Dame, but the Irish have six talented cornerbacks with at least three years of eligibility remaining already on the roster. However, no position needs more attention than the Irish de- fensive line. Notre Dame has struggled to consistently land impact talent up front, and Beaver Falls (Pa.) High lineman Donovan Jeter is an impact player. On top of being talented, Jeter is a perfect fit in Notre Dame's defense. At 6-5 and 255 pounds, he has the size to come in and compete at strongside end as a freshman. That frame could also lead to him growing into a defensive tackle, and that versatility makes him even more attractive as a prospect. Jeter is a power rusher that would add to Notre Dame's struggling pass rush, assuming he pans out. Having Jeter in the same class as Norfolk (Va.) Lake Taylor defensive tackle Darnell Ewell — a current Notre Dame commit — would be at tremendous coup for the staff. Point ✦ Counterpoint: WHICH MICHIGAN STATE VISITOR SHOULD BE NOTRE DAME'S TOP PRIORITY? DONOVAN JETER Holt has led the Irish to nine consecutive NCAA regional appearances. PHOTO COURTESY NOTRE DAME MEDIA RELATIONS

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