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Notre Dame Legends Take on Japanese National Team

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Notre Dame Legends Take on Japanese National Team
(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Notre Dame football alumni will be taking on the Japanese National Team in American football on Saturday, July 25, 2009 in Tokyo at 4 p.m. local time (3 a.m. US ET).

Led by former head coach Lou Holtz, the Notre Dame Football Legends have spent the last nine days preparing at training camps in South Bend, Indiana and at Nihon University in Tokyo.

“It will be great to get back out there on the football field wearing the gold helmet for Notre Dame again,” said quarterback Tony Rice, who led the 1988 football National Champion Fighting Irish team.

But Rice and backup quarterback Gary Godsey have suffered from injuries since arriving in Tokyo, so head coach Holtz has placed safety Ambrose Wooden as an emergency replacement as quarterback.

"I am hoping it is like riding a bike and that the players who have played in big football games will remember how to play," said coach Holtz.  "I worry most about our skill positions. We haven't played in a complete game, and sometimes the mind is willing but the body isn't. But whatever happens, I have told the players to have fun and to represent themselves and the University of Notre Dame with pride."

Ron Israel, of The Legends team warned his teammates of Japan wide receiver Noriaki Kinoshita: “He’s fast and he’ll get by you if you can’t jam him at the line of scrimmage,“ said Israel.

Israel knows about Kinoshita by way of playing alongside him, as they both played for the Amsterdam Admirals of the NFL Europe in 2005. Israel was a receiver for the Atlanta Falcons practice squad in 2008.

Holtz has been scouting out the competition, and he believes he understands their strengths and weaknesses. While speaking to opposing head coach Kiyoyuki Mori, Holtz said, “Your quarterbacks throw a ball very well and your receivers run great routes.”

CBS College Sports Network will broadcast the Notre Dame Japan Bowl to a nationwide audience in the United States on Monday, Aug. 10 (9 p.m., ET; taped 7/25/09) as part of the network's "Countdown to Kickoff Week" programming.

 

Notre Dame Legends Roster

No.    Name                 Position      Ht        Wt         Hometown, State
1    Kris Haines             WR       5-11     183         Akron, OH
2    Benny Guilbeaux      CB        6-2      230         Opelousas, LA
3    Ivory Covington       DB       5-10    185        Atlanta, GA
4    Jason Beckstrom      CB       5-10    188        Tulsa, OK
5    Ajani Sanders          CB       5-11    185        Houston, TX
6    Ron Israel               S         6-1     208        Voorhees, NJ
7    Dean Lytle              FB        6-3     230        Winnipeg, Canada
8    Anthony Brannan     LB         6-0     205         Cedar Grove, NJ
9    Tony Rice              QB         6-1     200         Greenwood, SC
9 D  Joe Restic             DE/P      6-2     185         Lake Oswego, OR
10    Deveron Harper     S           5-11   185         Charlotte, NC
11    Jay Johnson         WR         6-1     220         Chicago, IL
12    Scott Cengia        K           5-10    185         Cincinnati, OH
13    Jeremy Nau         TE          6-4      255         Chicago, IL
14    Gary Godsey        TE / QB   6-6      260         Tampa, FL
16    Geoff Price           P           6-3      200          Plano, TX
17    Brian Magee         S           5-10     230         Largo, FL
19    Marcus Thorne     TE          6-0      225        Carmel, IN
22    Ambrose Wooden  S           5-11     195        Baltimore, MD
23    Pernell Taylor       FB          5-10     241       La Habra Heights, CA
26    Mark Monahan      DB          6-0      195       South Bend, IN
27    Bobbie Howard      LB          5-10    235       Rand, WV
28    Cole Laux             FB          5-11    240       Chicago, IL
32    Jay Vickers           RB          6-1     230       Fresno, CA
34    Ray Zellars           RB          6-0     240      Pittsburgh, PA
35    Tim O'Neill            WR         5-7     175      Houston, TX
39    Brandon Hoyte      LB          6-0     230      Parlin, NJ
40    Nate Schomas      WR         5-11   170     Chicago, IL
41    Michael Goolsby    LB          6-3     240       Joliet, IL
42    Tim Kenney          DB         6-0     180       La Crescenta, CA
47    Mitchell Thomas    LB          6-3      245        Opelika, AL
49    DC Curry               DE        6-4    260        Houston, TX
51    Melvin Dansby        DT       6-4    300       Birmingham, AL
52    Joe Brockington       LB       6-2    240        Palmyra, PA
53    Tyreo Harrison         LB      6-3    245        San Antonio, TX
54    Bryan Mulvena         LB      6-2    215       Gilbert, AZ
56    Kurt Belisle              LB      6-3    230        Manteno, IL
57    Dwight Stephenson   DE     6-3    255       Delray Beach, FL
59    James Bent             OL      6-2    267      Chicago, IL
60    Casey Cullen            LB      6-1    220        San Antonio, TX
61    J.W. Jordan             OL      6-1    275      Indianapolis, IN
62    Casey Robin             OL     6-7    310       Mandeville, LA
65    Jeremy Akers            OL     6-5    295       Redondo Beach, CA
67    Thomas Bemenderfer OL      6-5    290       Notre Dame, IN
68    Darin Mitchell           OL      6-4    300      Jonesboro, GA
69    David Quist              OL     6-5    295        Madison, WI
72    Jeff Thompson          OL    6-4    250        South Bend, IN
75    Chris Frome             DE    6-5    250       Valencia, CA
76    Bob Morton             C    6-4    310       Mishawaka, IN
77    Greg Pauly              OL    6-6    245        Milwaukee, WI
79    Brian Mattes           OL    6-6    260        Chicago, IL
84    Rob Woods             WR    6-2    205       Atlantic, IA
88    Bobby Brown           WR    6-3    200       South Orange, NJ
89    Ed O'Connell            LS    6-3    225       Oak Lawn, IL
90    Ben Foos                DT/DE    6-4    288      Louisville, KY
91    Darnell Smith           DT    6-5    282        Milwaukee, WI
95    Ryan Roberts           DE    6-2    235        Lawnside, NJ
96    Matt Hasbrook          DT    6-3    255        Indianapolis, IN

Head Coach Lou Holtz
Assistant Head Coach / Defensive Backs coach Bill Lewis
Defensive Coordinator Gary Darnell
Running Backs coach Reggie Brooks
Defensive Line coach Chris Zorich
Offensive Line coach Tony Yelovich
Wide Receivers coach Tim Brown
Offensive coach Bill Reagan
Defensive coach Tsuyoshi Kawata

 

Japanese National Team

No.  Pos.       First Name  Last Name  Weight    Height               Team      
1    WR/K/P    Kazuya    TOGURA       173    5-8    Asahi Beer Silver Star
2    LB    Naoki    KOSHO       173    5-8    Obic Seagulls
3    DB    Yuichi    WATANB       173    5-8    Obic Seagulls
4    QB    Shun    SUGAWARA 172    5-8    Sagamihara Rise
5    LB    Yusuke    NAKAI       180    5-11    Obic Seagulls
6    LB    Yuji    AOKI       181    5-11    Fujitsu Frontiers
7    WR    Shoei    HASEGAWA  184    6-0    Panasonic Impulse
8    QB    Tetsuo    TAKATA       180    5-11    Panasonic Impulse
9    K/P    Paisuke    AOKI       180    5-11    Senshu Green Machine
10    DL    Munekazu    SHIKAMA       178    5-10    Panasonic Impulse
11    WR    Noriaki    KINOSHITA   177    5-10
12    LB    Yusuke    SATO       177    5-10    Hosei Univ. Tomahawks
13    DL        Masayoshi    YAMANAKA   177       5-10     Panasonic Impulse
14    DB    Masashi    FUJIMOTO    174    5-9    Obic Seagulls
15    WR    Naoki    MAEDA         173    5-8    Kajima Deers
17    WR    Takeshi    AKIYAMA       185    6-1    Fujitsu Frontiers
18    QB    Akihiro    IZUHARA       182    6-0    Fujitsu Frontiers
19    LB    Shuhei    TAKEUCHI    183    6-0    Nihon Fukushi Univ. Wings
20    RB    Takuya    FURUTANI       173    5-8    Obic Seagulls
21    DB    Kouki    KATO       183    6-0    Kajima Deers
22    DB    Ryohei    IMANISHI       171    5-7    Ritsumeikan Univ. Panthers
23    RB    Masahiro    ISHINO       170    5-7    Panasonic Impulse
24    DB    Tadanari    SANO       177    5-10    Kajima Deers
25    WR    Hiroki    OHZONO       173    5-8    Kobe Univ. Ravens
26    DB    Daisuke    UEKI       167    5-6    Fujitsu Frontiers
29    RB    Tomokazu    SUEYOSHI    177    5-10    Waseda Big Bears
31    RB    Yuichi    KON       172    5-8    Fujitsu Frontiers
33    DB    Kenta    SATO       176    5-9    Fujitsu Frontiers
34    DB    Shota    YOSHIMOTO 178    5-10    Kwansei Gakuin Fighters
42    LB    Takashi    MAKIUCHI       175    5-9    Kajima Deers
44    DB    Hidetoshi    YANO       182    6-0    Nihon Univ. Phoenix
45    LB    Shoichiro    SUZUKI       180    5-11    Fujitsu Frontiers
47    DB    Atsushi    FUJITA       179    5-10    Fujitsu Frontiers
51    LB    Shingo    HIRUMA       181    5-11    Kajima Deers
53    OL    Tatsuyuki    YASUKI       185    6-1    Fujitsu Frontiers
55    DL    Nobuhiko    ITO       183    6-0    Fujitsu Frontiers
56    DL    Kenzo    WAKU       177    5-10    Asahi Challengers
57    OL    Kazuhiro    KURAMOCHI 186    6-1    Kajima Deers
59    DL    Yasuyoshi    MIWA       182    6-0    Panasonic Impulse
65    OL    Tetsuya    OHI       189    6-2    Asahi Beer Silver Star
67    OL    Yuta    MURAI       185    6-1    Kajima Deers
71    OL    Yuji    TANIGUCHI   190    6-3    Panasonic Impulse
72    OL    Takanari    MURAKAMI   191    6-3    IBM Big Blue
73    OL    Naoki    YAMAMOTO 189    6-2    Fujitsu Frontiers
75    OL    Tsukasa    MIYAMOTO  185    6-1    Obic Seagulls
77    OL    Ken    IZAWA       185    6-1    Kajima Deers
78    OL    Haruhisa    HIRAMOTO   185    6-1    Asahi Challengers
80    WR    Koji    YONEYAMA  181    5-11    Fujitsu Frontiers
81    WR    Teruaki       NAKAMURA  175    5-9    Nihon Phoenix
83    WR    Ken    SHIMIZU       173    5-8    Obic Seagulls
85    WR    Yasuhiro    MIYAMOTO   182    6-0    Hosei Univ. Tomahawks
86    WR    Satoshi    SHIMIZU        185    6-1    Fujitsu Frontiers
87    TE    Hayato    YAMAGISHI   189    6-2    Asahi Beer Silver Star
88    TE    Eiji    SHIRAKI       185    6-1    Fujitsu Frontiers
89    WR    Daisuke    KURIYAMA    182    6-0    Asahi Beer Silver Star
90    DL    Keita    KOMIYA       186    6-1    Nihon Univ. Phoenix
92    DL    Takeshi    NISHIKAWA  185    6-1    Kajima Deers
97    DL    Takayuki    YONEDA       183    6-0    Asahi Beer Silver Star
98    DL    Yasuo    WAKISAKA    183    6-0    Panasonic Impulse
99    DL    Mitsunori    KIHIRA       182    6-0    Obic Seagulls

 

Some will say that the size of the Japanese team is small. Some will say there will be no competition there for this game. There even those who believe the Americans will win due to experience.

But remember, the Japanese don’t like to “lose face.” And we all know that it isn’t size that matters, but how you play the game. 

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