News and Notes 8/18/2006

*The media blitz is in full effect. Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn is set to appear on the cover of the Sports Illustrated and ESPN The Magazine College Football Previews. See what 32 touchdowns and over 3,900 passing yards can get you?

To be fair, Quinn adorns the SI cover helmetless while Tommy Zbikowski and Travis Thomas are in the background with their headgear on. Also, the Notre Dame cover is one of six that SI put out to regionalize the preview. Texas, West Virginia, Ohio State, USC and LSU have their own covers as well. Regardless, Quinn is a photogenic person and the leader of the most recognizable team in American. His head coach, Charlie Weis, sees it as an obvious photo choice.

"I think when you are a high-profile player, that comes with the territory and it's just a part of his growth and growing up and how he can handle those things without getting a big head," Weis said. "I think he has done an admirable job the way he has handled all the media attention and the hype to this point. He takes coaching and is working hard and we're far from perfect. I don't think he's going to be worrying about how many copies his family has, but if you ask his Mom and Dad, they might have a whole bunch of copies. It's tough not to root for this kid; he's a good kid."

His teammates have noticed the attention and try to be humorous with the situation.

"He gets crap all the time for being a pretty boy," joked linebacker Anthony Vernaglia. "It's in good fun. He represents the team well. I'm sure if we all could pick someone to represent us, it would be him."

*By comments not only from Weis but the players too, running back Travis Thomas is now linebacker Travis Thomas and part-time running back. The experiment has seemed to pay dividends for the senior, who has toiled in the backup role the past two seasons behind starter Darius Walker.

Thomas did score five touchdowns last season but as an everyday linebacker, he'll get the chance to have more of an impact on the game. It's all part of Weis's plan to have the best 22 players on the field. His speed and hard-hitting style will suit him well at the weak side spot that was vacated by the graduated Brandon Hoyte. He's already making strong impressions among his linebacker members.

"Travis is looking awesome," Vernaglia said, who'll split time with Mitchell Thomas at strong side backer in the Georgia Tech game. "He looks very, very athletic."

"We're always joking around," fifth-year senior tight end Marcus Freeman said about Thomas. "He's on the dark side now. He's doing a good job and having fun. He's trying to get better at a position that's foreign to him."

Athletic ability aside, there's still a learning curve for Thomas. Weis said last week that even when he makes a mistake, his recovery speed can make up for miscues. It's not an easy position to learn, Vernaglia says, but Thomas has a lot of help.

"There is a huge curve coming to linebacker," Vernaglia said. "You have to know what's going on in the secondary, the defensive and offensive line. It's hard to pick up right away. But he's doing a great job at it. He's got Mo Crum and us helping him out. He'll be fine." Top Stories