News and Notes: 9/26/2006

*Two injuries will keep the media guessing this week as to their status for Purdue. Both Asaph Schwapp and Ambrose Wooden missed last Saturday's game at Michigan State.

Schwapp, the sophomore fullback, is still recovering from a knee injury sustained in the Penn State contest. Wooden was woozy after a he applied a big hit in the Michigan contest. The senior cornerback did make the trip to East Lansing but was only going to be used in an emergency role, which never happened.

Weis said today that they'll put a precautionary brace on Wooden to make sure he doesn't tweak anything. As for Schwapp, who stayed home this past weekend to receive treatment, it's anyone's guess. He was at practice today.

"I'll see what it looks like when he's out there," Weis said about his fullback. "Like I told Asaph, have you to be able to practice to play. I don't mind if he's not full speed, but I need to have more evidence that by Saturday he can go, or else he won't go."

Ashley McConnell, Schwapp's replacement, didn't get a ton of plays in the game because Notre Dame was in a passing mode for much of the contest. Freshman Darrin Walls, though, held up admirably in Wooden's place. He got the start and was matched up most of the night on the Spartans's number one target, Matt Trannon. Trannon ended the night with just two catches for 23 yards.

"I'm not looking to run Ambrose out," Weis said. "At the same time, if Ambrose isn't fully healthy, he's banged up a little bit, Darrin gives us the best chance of winning, Darrin will play. I'm not worried about making any friends."

*Before taking the head coaching job at Notre Dame, Weis was in contact with the Purdue football program. As offensive coordinator for the New England Patriots, Weis was sent to meet with Drew Brees, a soon-to-be NFL quarterback.

Weis intently studied the Boilermaker offense in trying to get a gauge on Brees. Coincidently, the Patriots drafted Purdue offensive lineman Matt Light. But this was the first exposure Weis had to the Boilermaker offensive attack and said he was intrigued by what they did on that side of the ball.

"I met with a lot of guys on their staff right there," Weis said. "It wasn't just about their offensive philosophy; it was about their offense not their philosophy, just what they were actually doing. Like empty and how they protected empty, how they handled certain situations.

"I think they threw a lot of bubbles. They seemed to be a little bit ahead of the curve on a lot of things they were doing. That's back when Drew was first coming out. That was one of the first times I really studied a team. The reason why you studied them was because you were thinking about drafting the player."

*The Purdue passing game ranks 7th in the nation by posting 297 yards through the air a contest. Quarterback Curtis Painter is the signal caller, totaling eight touchdowns to five interceptions to go along with a 64 percent completion percentage.

He's got a speedy target to help these numbers. Dorien Bryant, a 5-10, 175-pound junior, can make a lot of cornerbacks look foolish. Last season in the loss to the Irish, Bryant caught 14 balls for 127 yards and two touchdowns. He's back on a good pace so far as Painter's favorite target, registering 351 yards and three touchdowns on 27 receptions.

"You could use a lot of slang or phrases," Weis said to describe Bryant. "I always call it shake and bake. You know, you go somewhere, if you think you have him, you better tackle him because he can make you miss and he does. He makes everybody miss. So you have to really try to corral him because he's got very good quickness."

*The pep rally for Saturday's game will not be in Notre Dame Stadium as it was the two previous home contest. It will be held in the Joyce Center arena on Friday, September 29th.

A limited number of tickets will be available to the general public. Starting at 5 p.m. South Bend time, tickets will be distributed on the east side of Notre Dame Stadium. There is a ticket limit for each individual because of high demand. The general public should enter Gate Eight at 5:45 p.m. while host dorms should go in Gate One at 5:15 p.m.

*The heroics of Saturday night's comeback victory have made a mark on a national award. Terrail Lambert's 23-yard interception return for a touchdown led the Irish to the 40-37 win over Michigan State. Now, Irish fans can vote on this play as the "Pontiac Game Changing Performance." Notre Dame followers should go to to view video clips of the four finalists and vote for their favorite play. The winning university earns a $5,000 contribution from Pontiac to their general scholarship fund. The winner goes into a pool of the other weeks' winners for a chance at the "Pontiac Game Changing Performance of the Year," which earns the winning school an additional $100,000 of scholarship money.

*A few stats on Purdue head coach Joe Tiller: he's 4-5 overall vs. Notre Dame and 16-6 against schools from the state of Indiana. He's 17th on the list of wins among active Division 1A coaches. Tiller owns a .622 winning percentage with the Boilermakers. A good note: when scoring 30 or more points, Tiller is 49-3. A bad note: when scoring under 30 points, he's 22-40. Another bad sign: Tiller is 12-29 vs. ranked opponents while at Purdue, including 3-15 on the road. Purdue has lost at Notre Dame Stadium 13 of the past 14 games.

*The Irish and Boilermakers have played each other for the past 61 years. These two programs have been playing one another since 1946, which is tied with USC for the second longest continuous streak. Only Navy, who has played the Irish every year since 1927, has been a longer opponent.

*Last week, it was the Megaphone Trophy. This game, it's the all-important Shillelagh Trophy, awarded to the winner of the Notre Dame-Purdue contest. It was donated by the late Joe McLaughlin, who was a merchant seaman and brought it over from Ireland. Top Stories