SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) _ Lou Holtz and Notre Dame are both mending nicely.

The Fighting Irish laid a 41-0 beating on Vanderbilt for its second straight victory following an embarrassing season-opening loss to Northwestern.

And Holtz is back home after undergoing spinal surgery at the Mayo Clinic. His doctors are telluing him the same thing he might tell his team: Don't try to do too much too soon.

``I will not rush it, I will not do anything stupid,'' Holtz said Saturday after returning to South Bend. He watched the game on TV while assistant Bob Davie ran the team from the sideline.

``I have to give all the credit to the football team and the team is an extension of Holtz,'' Davie said. ``We said ... it would be difficult to win without Lou Holtz, but we'd have to go out and win it for Lou Holtz.''

Holtz, famous for his fast pace and endless energy, has been warned to take things slowly and not rush his recovery from surgery to relieve pressure on his spinal cord. The condition caused weakness in his hands and legs and could have left him paralyzed.

The romp over Vandy should do a lot to calm Holtz, whose been told he won't see a sideline for three weeks.

Nonetheless, he wants to meet with his players and attend some practices. He also hopes to be at Notre Dame Stadium this weekend when the 21st-ranked Irish play No. 13 Texas.

Holtz, who suffered on the sideline as Notre Dame lost to Northwestern and barely beat Purdue, was frustrated again when he couldn't enjoy the Fighting Irish's best game of the young season.

``I want to go to that stadium so bad right now,'' Holtz said. ``I would like to go to the game, but part of this thing of letting me out early was I not go to the game.''

Holtz seemed a little subdued when he returned home, and he said the surgery made him think about what's important in his life.

``I think we become intoxicated with success and we forget sometimes abut the good things in life,'' Holtz said. ``We take health for granted sometimes, we take family for granted sometimes.''

While he's still a little weak from surgery, Holtz said strength is returning to his arms and legs and he is amazed how well he feels. Though he moved slower than usual, Holtz seemed to have no trouble climbing down the steps of the Notre Dame airplane or walking across the tarmac.

His only problem was some irritation around the incision, which doctors tried to correct by giving him a neck brace with more padding. Holtz will have to wear a neck brace for at least six weeks.

``The doctors said that I was a great patient, I was a perfect specimen of health,'' Holtz said. ``So the people that eat junk food, sleep late, smoke a pipe, take heart.''