TOKYO (AP) -Lou Holtz expects his players to uphold the Notre Dame football tradition when they face Japan in the Notre Dame Japan Bowl.
Holtz will coach a selection of alumni from the Notre Dame college team against Japan's national American football team and expects a tough game from the hosts.
``Their football has improved tremendously,'' Holtz said Friday at Tokyo Dome. ``They've looked at film, they understand the game ... if we have an advantage it's in the lines, but they are quicker and in better shape so I'm a little worried about the second half.''
The Fighting Irish alumni had only six practice sessions to prepare for the game and Holtz said avoiding injuries will be a key challenge.
supposed to play.''
Tony Rice is expected to be the starting quarterback for Holtz's team.
``I'm 41 years old and when they asked me to do this, I said 'you know what?, I'm gonna do it.'''
Rice said he's been passing the ball a lot and running in preparation for the game.
``I'm expecting a good team,'' said Rice. ``Japan will come out to play. They are hungry but we are too, so it will be a good game.''
Japan, led by head coach Kiyoyuki Mori, is using the game as part of its preparations for the 2011 IFAF world championship. Japan lost the 2007 final 23-20 in double overtime against the United States.
Holtz has been in Japan four times in the past as a coach of the U.S. team in the Japan Bowl and was glad his players have a chance to experience a different culture.
``They've had a great time,'' said Holtz. ``They went to a few shrines and some of them were up at 5:30 a.m. to go to the fish market.''
Heisman Trophy winner Tim Brown will be a member of the coaching staff. Brown joins fellow former Notre Dame players Chris Zorich and Reggie Brooks on the staff.
Holtz, who had a 100-30-2 record in 11 seasons at Notre Dame, was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in May and was enshrined into the hall at a ceremony last week.
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