Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Rough Season for Powlus, Irish Frosh Quarterback

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Rough Season for Powlus, Irish Frosh Quarterback

Article excerpt

Ron Powlus has learned in one season what life is like when you're the quarterback at Notre Dame.

From having two Heisman Trophies handed to you on ESPN early in the season to struggling through two consecutive, unexpected losses in the middle of the season to preparing for Florida State and its quarterback, Danny Kanell, who has been through the same type of up-and-down year.

"When things were going good, I was getting a lot of mail from fans who wanted autographs and pictures signed," Powlus said. "I remembered a few of the names, and now they're some of the ones sending the hate mail. You find out who your real friends are when the good turns to bad."

In his first season as a starter, Powlus has completed 84 of 160 passes for 1,304 yards with 15 touchdowns, seven interceptions and 17 sacks. He's worked behind an inexperienced offensive line and has been hindered by injuries to tailback Lee Becton and fullback Ray Zellars.

"Ron was hurt last season, and during fall practices we couldn't afford to expose him to contact too often," coach Lou Holtz said. "So, he began the season with about six real practices. It was like starting at quarterback with two years of high school football (exactly what Kanell did at Florida State). He's just becoming the confident leader of our offense. I have no doubt he's going to be an outstanding quarterback."

Powlus, a 6-foot-4, 218-pound sophomore from Berwick, Pa., believes there is pressure on him to be good.

"I need to be great for myself and for Notre Dame," Powlus said. "Great things are always expected of Notre Dame football, and for those high expectations to be met, the quarterback has to be great.

"When I came to Notre Dame, I was as wide-eyed as the next player. I didn't understand the difference between the leadership roles in high school and the leadership roles in college. I expected things to come a little easier, but they didn't. …

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