Lou Holtz said he understood why his comments about Ohio State before last week’s game at Notre Dame bothered Buckeyes coach Ryan Day, but reiterated his belief that the Fighting Irish are a superior team despite their 17-14 loss.
Speaking Tuesday with Dan Dakich on the Outkick show “Don’t @ Me!” Holtz said he called Notre Dame coach Marcus Freeman and apologized for potentially putting the Irish in a difficult position. Holtz told “The Pat McAfee Show” before Saturday’s game that Ohio State hasn’t been physical enough to beat top-tier opponents, citing the team’s back-to-back losses to Michigan and CFP losses to Georgia, Alabama and Clemson.
“I don’t feel guilty because I believed it,” Holtz told Dakich. “Notre Dame was a better football team. Three times Ohio State had a fourth-and-1, ran the ball and didn’t make it. … If I had been a coach, I would have said it. That’s what I would do.” [have] I went to our team and said, “I think you’re better.” I think you’re more physical. I think you’re more talented.’
“But if I say something and still can’t control the outcome of the game, that’s unfair to Coach Freeman.”
An Emotional Day cited Holtz’s comments in his on-field interview with NBC after the Buckeyes’ win and then again in his postgame press conference, saying that Holtz and others who questioned Ohio State’s toughness and physicality were “watching the movie.” would have to raise.”
“We always say, ‘Ignore the noise,’ but every now and then when someone nudges you, you have to stand up for what you believe in,” Day said. “To understand some of the things that were said, I’m putting Ohio against the world, but we had to play like that today. We had to win like that to stop this narrative that’s going around because it’s not true.”
Holtz, 86, said he understands why Day was unhappy with him.
“He doesn’t want to talk about it [losing to] “Michigan, 0-2, he doesn’t want to talk about the big games coming up against Penn State and again against Michigan,” Holtz said. “He’s a great coach.” He’s done a great job. He’s a great offensive mind. … Ohio State is a good football team. I don’t think they’re a great football team. He can pursue me all he wants.
Holtz added that he hopes Day “goes on and has a wonderful year,” adding that Notre Dame’s mistakes in the final two minutes, including not forcing Ohio State to use all timeouts Before the Buckeyes had the final possession, the Irish probably cost a dollar. He thought they deserved the win. He also said he didn’t know how much his comments would be amplified.
“Coach Freeman is always a class guy,” Holtz said. “He is very, very polite. He didn’t even comment, but I wanted him to know I was feeling bad.”