Monday, August 07, 2006

Meet the Press | by Pat

The 2006 ND Football season officially kicked off on Sunday with Media Day and now the summer-long trickle of ND football related info has turned back into a torrent. Once again there are press conference transcripts from Coach Weis, the assistant coaches, and Brady Quinn, as well as videos, player quotes, photos, and more for you reading and viewing pleasure. Not to mention a whole laundry list of newspaper articles that came from the annual Media Day.

If you can't make it through all of that info, here's some of the more interesting points from yesterday's information bonanza:

Travis Thomas is moving to linebacker. Per Charlie:
"Now I would not let him play defense if it wasn't for the fact that I'm going to give him an opportunity to start. I told everyone we were getting more athletic on defense, he's one of the best tacklers we have on our special teams, played strong safety in high school, he's dying for an opportunity to get on the field on a full time basis and I'm going to give it to him.

Now the logical question will be, let me get this straight, Aldrige isn't ready to go and you're moving Travis over there to defense, Travis is also going to play offense, so I've created a two way monster here. So right now I'm not going to worry about him practicing on offense for the first week at least, see what he can do on defense, if it doesn't pan out, we'll bring him back to offense full time. But we'll give him an opportunity to start at linebacker for us."

Travis Leitko and Junior Jabbie are officially back on the team. Jabbie will get a chance to earn the backup running back spot while Travis is now a walk-on working to earn back his scholarship. Good news as both will provide depth at somewhat thin positions. It will be interesting to see if Leitko stays on the outside or is moved inside to shore up depth at defensive tackle.

Injury updates include wide receiver D.J. Hord being announced as out for the season. He tore his Achilles tendon during a workout and is done for the year. Also, Abdel Banda left the program for medical reasons. He was out all last year with injuries and it looks like he's probably done playing football. Back from injury are defensive end Chris Frome and linebacker Joe Brockington. Weis said both are 100% and ready to go. That's great news, especially in the case of Chris Frome, who was doing a very solid job at defensive end before hurting his knee. A few players are dinged up a bit and miss practice time including Ryan Harris, Chase Anastacio, and James Aldridge. All will be back for the first game except Aldridge, who doesn't have a projected return date right now and will probably miss the Georgia Tech game.

The Apache is no more. Weis said he did it for PC reasons, but whatever the reason, the Notre Dame linebackers will just be named by the standard strong (SAM), weak (WILL), and middle (MIKE) designations this year. As of now, Maurice Crum, Jr. is going to be the starting middle linebacker and Travis Thomas is going to fight for a spot at the weakside spot. Everything else is up in the air and certainly fall camp could change everything.

The backup QB spot is also wide open. Weis declared that Evan Sharpley, Zach Frazer, and Demetrius Jones will all be given an "equal opportunity" to win the job. That doesn't mean it's really a dead heat, but Weis is letting Sharpley (and the freshman) know that the position isn't his by default.

There will be even more news, pictures, and videos coming out soon as practice starts today at 2:45 so keeping checking back for more. It's a great time of the year, football has started!