Skip excited to return to ND; understands why dad won't be here

Earlier this summer, Lou Holtz told NewsCenter 16 he would not attend Saturday's Notre Dame-South Florida game featuring his son Skip as the head coach of the Bulls.

Holtz will instead stay at ESPN where he works as a college football analyst. He says its too hard to be in the enviroment where he can't control things like that after being a head coach for so long when he had control.

Tuesday, Skip agreed.

"I'm sure he's probably nervous," Skip explains with a big laugh. "As hard as it is to coach football, it's got to be even harder to watch your son do it.

"Plus I think he really enjoys the studio," Skip concluded with a big laugh.

Skip is a former Notre Dame walk-on, playing during his dad's 1st season as the Irish head coach. Holtz later served as an assistant coach for his dad, moving up to the role of offensive coordinator during the early 90s.

"It's going to be exciting and it's going to be emotional," Skip explains. "Notre Dame was a big part of not only my life but our entire family's life."

"When you look at being a student there, having the opportunity to have played there, coached there and with my father spending his time there as a football coach--it's been a huge part of our life and it's going to be an emotional time."

Skip is making his first return to Notre Dame since his dad coached his last home game for the Irish in 1996.

"I'm excited for the opportunity to go back," Skip says. I have not seen the new additions and everything else. It will be exciting."

One thing Skip hasn't forgotten is how daunting of a task it is for a team to come into the atmosphere of Notre Dame Stadium and not be overwhelmed. Not to mention a team like South Florida---which has never played the Irish before and is a program that has been around for just 14 years.

"When you look at the great challenge that we have coming into this game and having the opportunity to play a team like Notre Dame, the first challenge we have is to keep our emotions under control," Skip explains. "To kick off the season, first game, young program against a storied program--we're going to have to keep our emotions under control."

"We've got to stay focused on what happens between the lines," Skip continued. "It's not about the circus that's going on outside the lines."

Skip is entering his 2nd season as the Bulls head coach. Like Notre Dame, South Florida was 8-5 last year.

Notre Dame and South Florida kickoff at 3:30 Saturday from the Stadium. Countdown to Kickoff gets you started at 2:30 here on Channel 16.

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