A Seat in the Locker Room
Lou Holtz in Notre Dame locker room before 1988 Michigan game, according to The Fighting Spirit (1989); Irish won, 19-17 and finished No. 1:

"You don't have easy classes here. You don't get a certificate for good attendance. You don't get any leniency because you're a football player. You've got to compete with the best students in the country because you're a full-time student. You don't live in a fancy athletic dorm. You live with all the other students. You don't have a fancy training table, where they cater to you with steak every night. There aren't any fancy cars in our parking lot. ... There aren't any patsies on our schedule. Everybody we play is tough as all get-out. You aren't afforded the luxury of lifting weights whenever you want. And your social life here is curtailed a little bit. There aren't steroids here to help you get stronger, and there's no redshirting.

"Everybody is saying that because of all these things, we can't be great. They think because you've paid a price academically and are disciplined and make sacrifices, that you can't be tough. That you can't be physical. Because the game has changed so much, with redshirting and all the rest, there are people who Notre Dame can't win anymore. I don't believe that. I don't believer that we need to have that image anymore."

Bear Bryant, then at Texas A&M, before 1955 LSU game, to a team that went 1-9 the year before and was 0-1, from Bear (1974); Aggies won, 28-0:

"I want every one of you gentlemen to come by me on your way out, and shake hands and look in that mirror, because when you come back in here tonight you're going to look in it again. You'll have to decide then if you gave your best. And every morning you shave from now on you're going to think about giving your best because I'm going to make you. I'm going to be reminding you."

Bryant, at the pregame meal before Alabama beat Georgia Tech in 1974:

"Most of you will live another fifty years or more. I hope it's seventy, but if it's fifty that's still a good life, and what happens today you'll have to live with the rest of the way. You can't get it back if you don't win. It's sixty minutes and over. The losers are the ones who say, 'Oh I wish I could play it again.' You can't play it again.

Well, you're not really going to have to play sixty minutes. None of you. The longest play in a game is six and a half seconds. The shortest play is less than two seconds. That's barely a wink of the eye. You'll average five seconds a play. Five seconds of total effort, going all out, giving a hundred percent. You oughta be able to hold your hand in a fire that long.

If you're lucky enough to play seventy plays, that amounts to about six minutes. Six minutes of your time. Out of fifty years, six minutes doesn't seem like much. But a loser will regret it the rest of his life.

You've worked a long time for this. You've been playing since you were in the seventh grade. You go out there in front of all those people and don't give a hundred percent every play then you're cheating yourself, and your recruiters, and your parents, and your high school coach, and everybody whoever helped you. This is what you have been working toward. ...

In any big game there are five or six or seven key plays that will decide the outcome. If you put out for five seconds on every play, you'll get your share of those key plays. You never know when they'll come, so you have to go all out every time.

If you're reckless, and give that extra effort, and every play try a little harder, you'll see in the films on Monday that it was you who made those five or six plays that win. Play 'em jaw to jaw, and you'll win in the fourth quarter.

I don't think this game is as big for us as it is for Tech. We're on a longer road. We've got a bigger one next week, and the week after. Because the next game is always more important if you're going to to the top. And that's where we're going."

-- Ivan Maisel, ESPN.com