Young Looking for Spot on the Bus

Heading into the final week of fall camp, Sam Young continues his strong push to be the fourth freshman ever to start on Notre Dame's offensive line. The 6-foot-7, 292-pound offensive tackle with long arms has been very impressive since arriving on campus over the summer, earning public praise several times by head coach Charlie Weis.

"That's been floated around me, I've heard that before," Young said about the fact that only three lineman have ever started. "Right now I'm just hoping for a chance to play. Basically I am looking at it that I just got to get on the bus first for the Georgia Tech game, and we'll go from there."

Sure Sam. Get on the bus. That's pretty much a guarantee, but Weis got a kick out of telling all his freshmen to say that to the media.

Young will be on the bus or plane in this case, and will be in uniform for the Sept. 2 opener, but he hasn't won the starting job yet. Fifth-year senior Brian Mattes is very much in the hunt. Sophomore Paul Duncan has also been mentioned.

"It's very competitive going against some guys who've been around here and know what they are doing, and me coming in fresh blood," Young stated. "It's been a journey so to speak."

Out of Coral Springs, Fla., Young didn't allow a sack his final two seasons for St. Thomas Acquinas. Along with current Irish teammate and classmate Dan Wenger, they helped the offense average 41.3 points and 337.7 yards per game en route to a 5A state championship.

For Young during fall camp, it has been kind of an adjustment not having the kind of dominance he'd grown accustomed to. Getting a lot of first-team reps at left tackle when incumbent Ryan Harris was limited, and now at right tackle, Young has gotten the chance to compete and get beaten by the first-team defense.

"Me personally, I'm always striving for perfection, so I mean yeah it's been tough to deal with," Young explained of his struggles. "But the way I look at it, I'm only getting better going against them."

Though the high school competition in Florida is outstanding, the speed of the game was the biggest adjustment Young has had to deal with.

"After camp you've had some time to adjust to it," Young said. "By no means am I there yet. Day by day, I'm striving to get better. I'm slowly but surely making progress.

"I'd say there has been some bumps in the road. I feel like I've done half decent. I'm always looking for perfection, so I think I can always do more."

Those defenders that beat Young will then turn around and let the rookie know what he did wrong.

"They will throw in their two-cents once in awhile and that's been a big help, but my biggest mentor has been Ryan Harris just as far as giving me the heads up and helping with the playbook."

Harris became the third freshman ever to start on the offensive line when he started the final eight games of the 2003 season. If Young were to win the job for the Georgia Tech game, he would become the first frosh to start the season opener. If that happens, he'll owe Harris at the very least dinner.

"Ryan's really been a big help for me, sort of been a mentor for me," he said. "He's been helping me out learning the offense, learning the little idiosyncrasies about playing football. He's really been sort of like a big brother to me in that sense.

"Just adjusting the little things such as little techniques you can use on certain plays, turn your hips, use your hands that way, so on and so forth. After a series, I'll be like hey help me out with what happened, or he'd come up to me and say you need to do something different on that."

Young's been a quick learner. Running back Munir Prince and Young have been the two freshmen talked about the most by Weis. Not that Young has noticed.

"Being in a camp environment you really don't get to see too much or read too much," he explained. "Really, I'm putting the most pressure on my self to be honest with you. Just be able to get in there and compete for a chance to play right now."

Or just get on the bus. Top Stories