News and Notes 8-28-2005

*Sophomore David Wolke was named the backup quarterback for the Notre Dame football team on Sunday. Wolke will be backing up junior starter Brady Quinn. Head coach Charlie Weis announced the decision on Sunday during a press conference with the media. Weis said it was a competitive battle for the number two spot but Wolke won out in the end.

"We just decided that David's experience really won out over everything else," Weis said. "And we felt that if Brady went down and we had to play the best guy who gave us a chance to win, it would be David."

A lot is riding on Quinn this season not only running the new offense to perfection but also staying injury-free. Weis has made no bones about it earlier in fall camp that there was a big difference between Quinn and the others competing for the number two spot. It apparently hasn't changed as the Irish head into their first game week.

"That gap hasn't closed," Weis said. "There is a wide discrepancy between what I would do with Brady and what I would do with David. Now with that being said, you always have to have a plan for what happens when the first guys goes down and we have that plan. It's based around him playing and feeling what he can do and what he can't do."

*The two-deep depth chart was released to the media before the press conference. Not many big surprises were evident on the list except for the punt return position. It appears freshman wide receiver David Grimes has won the job of handling punts. Special teams has been a major point of emphasis with Weis and his new staff. The 6-0, 170 pound Grimes has impressed Weis on several levels.

"David Grimes has had an very excellent camp," Weis said. "From day one, he's been one of the most pleasant surprises we've had. He's shown exceptional ball skills and quickness."

On the depth chart, Dan Santucci is listed at the start at left guard, Bob Morton at center and Dan Stevenson at right guard. Junior John Sullivan is behind Morton but Weis says these four players will be interchangeable during the games.

"We look at that as an offensive staff as four inside players who are starters," Weis said. "I couldn't list it that way so I have to explain it that way. Between Santucci, Morton, Sullivan, and Stevenson, we have four guys to man those three spots inside. You'll see, in the game against Pittsburgh, all four of those guys playing in those three spots whereas at the tackle spot it's clearly Ryan and Mark as the number one guys at those positions. We do not see a similar rotation with those guys as we do with the four for three guys inside."

That rotation will be used on the defensive line as well. Trevor Laws, Derek Landri, and Brian Beidatsch will be used as a three for two rotation to keep them fresh during the season. Of note, there are seven freshman listed on the two-deep depth chart. Weis said don't be surprised if fullback Asaph Schwapp sees some game action on Saturday.

*The team held their final scrimmage on Friday night inside Notre Dame Stadium. Forty-five minutes was dedicated to end of the game situations and special teams. Weis is putting the players through situations they might encounter versus Pittsburgh. Not all of it was fantastic football.

"We're trying to get our team more battle tested and ready to play smart situational football as it comes across," Weis said. "Some of it was pretty. Some of it wasn't pretty. It turned out to be a very good learning experience because we got to clear up a lot of those situations yesterday."

Weis said three quarters of the travel squad to Pittsburgh have been finalized. As many as 15 spots are up for grabs and performances at practice this week will be the final determination as to who goes.

Three players who won't see the field next week because of injuries are quarterback Dan Gorski, wide receiver Michael O'Hara and linebacker Abdel Banda. Weis said unless a modern medical miracle happens, these three won't be suited up.

*Most of the national media have not been too kind in predicting what Weis and Notre Dame will do this season. On ESPN, Lee Corso said the Irish could start the year at 0-6. Closer to home, though, Irish fans are more optimistic as anywhere between six to eight wins seems to be the popular pick. So what will it be? Weis gave a prediction himself.

"You have two sets of expectations," Weis said. "On one hand, they hear from the Notre Dame alum they're going to win every game. On the other hand, they hear from the national broadcasters we're going to lose every game. Somewhere in between lies the truth. Right now, if I were a gambling man, I'd be betting on our players."

*Weis has brought his attitude and style of coaching directly to South Bend to turn around the Irish football program. This has caused excitement around a team that was .500-ball club last season. For the players, their adjustment period was tougher. A coaching change brought with it a change in coaching styles they were use to seeing. Weis is happy with how they've responded to the new staff.

"The difference in personalities between me and Tyrone (Willingham) is significant," Weis said. "We're just different guys. Forget about X's and O's and all those other things. How can they deal with a different personality? It was a significant change for the team. I've appreciated the way they've taken to our coaches."

*Coming to Notre Dame gives Weis a wealth of resources to learn from. He had dinner last night with Ara Parseghian where he did a lot of listening. Weis called it "a very educational experience." He also had breakfast with Lou Holtz a few weeks back in New York.

"I can try to pound on them for advice," Weis said. "I think I am going to see (Joe) Theismann at the Pittsburgh game. These aren't just figurehead guys you're using to make yourself look good. These are people who understand Notre Dame as much or probably even more than I do. I'm trying to use these resources to my best advantage." Top Stories