From "Out of Bounds"

Candid photo of Rock outside the Notre Dame Fieldhouse, 1928. (Courtesy of the University of Notre Dame Archives)

Candid photo of Rock outside the Notre Dame Fieldhouse, 1928. (Courtesy of the University of Notre Dame Archives)

 

This month's edition of Out of Bounds features a humorous story about Rockne as the master psychologist.

 

Maybe the most enduring image of Knute Rockne is that of the master psychologist. His rallying cry for the 1928 Army game, "Win one for The Gipper," needs no ballyhooing here. Other halftime talks, not so well documented and perhaps apocryphal, are almost as famous. "Let's go girls," was the complete text of one. "Fighting Irish? Bah!" was another. The coach waxed more expansive at the midpoint of the 1925 Northwestern game: "You can tell your grandchildren you had the honor of playing on the first team to quit at Notre Dame." So saying, Rock abandoned his players for a seat in the stands. But he was back on the sidelines by the fourth quarter to see Notre Dame nail down the 13-10 victory.

 

The impression then is of Rockne, the locker room psychologist. But that is unfair. This was a man who could tailor any ego to fit his team, could turn any emotional situation to his benefit. His last game, against USC, went far beyond the bounds of stirring pep talks. It was psychological warfare from start to finish.