News and Notes: 10/18/2005

*The after effects of the 34-31 loss to USC last weekend keeps getting worse. Defensive end Chris Frome hurt his knee during the game and Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis said at his Tuesday press conference it is a possibility that the senior from Saugus, California could miss the rest of season. Frome will undergo a procedure today to determine the extent of the injury.

"We'll be fortunate if we get him back at all," Weis said. "Not until after I know if it's season ending. I know he's having a procedure done today. When I know."

Frome was part of a unit that was giving up 126 yards per game on the ground. He had recorded six tackles on the season with a sack and tackle for loss each. Ronald Talley and Justin Brown are the two players likely to fill the vacated spot. Talley actually has more tackles than Frome with nine on the year. It's now their time to shine.

"They understand now, I know Coach (Jappy) Oliver talked to them extensively yesterday and said, ‘This is your time,' because now they're not just in the background, they're in the mix," Weis said. "They're going to be out there and they're going to be playing and they're going to be playing a lot.

"We need for them to step up and make a bunch of plays. I think they're going to be up for the challenge. I'm excited about watching them play.

"It just pushed them up a spot. That's what it does. That's the way we think around here. One guy goes out, the next guy goes in. That's the way it is."

*When fans think of BYU, the first thought that might come to mind is passing the football. The stats back this thought up. Cougar quarterback John Beck is averaging 317 yards per game through the air and this will be a challenge for the Notre Dame secondary allowing over 300 yards a contest.

Last week, though, BYU flipped the script. In their 24-14 win over Colorado State, the Cougars looked a lot like Notre Dame against USC. They pounded the ball 52 times down the Rams throats for 274 yards and ate up 35:00 of the clock. Running back Curtis Brown went over the 100-yard mark for the eighth time in his career with 147 yards and two touchdowns. Naufahu Tahi also chipped in 88 yards on 14 carries. The Irish now have to be ready for both.

"I've addressed that with the staff earlier this week," Weis said. "Actually we talked about it some last night. We talked about it some this morning. I think that they showed last week against Colorado State, they're very capable of going towards the heavy run over the heavy pass. Because they've shown both personalities, it allows them to pick their poison and decide which way they want to go ahead and attack us.

"Previous to this game, it had been much more heavily pass oriented, and I would have said no. But with the foundation that they laid last week against Colorado State, that is certainly an option."

For the year, BYU averages 115 yards per game on the ground.

*The Cougars play a gimmick defense of three down linemen, three linebackers and five defensive backs. The 3-3-5 formation is rarely seen in college football. BYU head coach Bronco Mendelhall runs the defense and has seen success with the style in the Mountain West. In 2004, the Cougars were third against the run in the conference and second in the league with 34 sacks.

Mendelhall has a prized protégé in his background as well. From 1998-2002 while the defensive coordinator at New Mexico, he coached 1999 Mountain West Conference Player of the Year and All-American Brian Urlacher. The linebacker has gone on to the NFL to play for the Chicago Bears and become a Pro Bowl performer.

Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn has been close to brilliant in 2005. This week, the junior faces another test in Mendelhall's quirky defensive schemes. The BYU defense is giving up 241 passing yards a contest but have only one interception on the season. It goes without saying: the Notre Dame offense goes as Quinn's play goes.

"He has to have a big game every week," Weis said. "I think the most important thing that he has to do in a situation like this is to be able to identify the front, okay, in everything you're doing. It affects how you block plays. It affects sights and everything like that.

"The one thing he needs to do is have a good handle on the identification of what they're doing because you're going to see a lot of spinning around, you're going to see a lot of fronts where you'll see a lot of pressure and it looks like they're coming off of one side, then they're coming off the other side or it will look like it's going to be a soft zone and then they step up or vice versa.

"But I think it all starts with the identification of the front so you don't just turn people free on either the running back or the quarterback. He's going to have to be more mentally sharp this week, okay, when it comes to identification purposes than anything else."

*BYU is a unique school. The Mormon university has students that go on a two-year missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The football team is no exception. There are 62 players on the team (59 percent) that have gone on these missionary expeditions.

The trips also means the football team has some players that are older than average. BYU's oldest player is 25, 30 are married, there are nine children among the Cougar players and six more are on the way.


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