News and Notes

*Victor Abaimiri has Stanford's number. In the 31-10 win over the Cardinal on Saturday, the senior defensive end totaled three sacks and was the main force behind the pressure on Stanford quarterback Trent Edwards. Last year, Abiamiri registered a career-high four sacks vs. the Cardinals. Charlie Weis has an idea of what he can do to get this same type of performance week in and week out.

"We might just try to get him see a psychologist and see if we can put an S on all these helmets we're going against because he turns into a pass rushing demon when we go against them," Weis joked.

This might not be such a bad plan. From the start of the 2005 season to Saturday's game, Abiamiri has a total of 13 sacks. Seven of those have come in the two Stanford games. In the other 16 contests, the senior has just six. Teams have been sliding help towards Abaimiri's side, whether that be with a running back or a tight end. Against the Cardinal, it doesn't matter what they do. Abiamiri just gets to the quarterback and is now in ninth place all-time on the Notre Dame career sack list. For the game, the defensive line as a whole had five sacks, a week after getting none vs. Purdue. Weis said that it was mostly a four man rush and not a lot of blitzes that created havoc in the Stanford backfield.

"You try to do the same thing every week," Abiamiri said. "Some weeks work out more than others. Fortunately, it worked out well for us this weekend. To put in that effort and get the sacks is pretty good for us. We redeemed ourselves from last week when we couldn't get him down. We made it a point of emphasis this week and take advantage of our front four. We know our front four guys can play with anyone in the country. We showed that this week."

Abiamiri's dominance caught more than a few eyes.

"It seems like he has Stanford's number," defensive lineman Trevor Laws said. "He's played great out there and he's really stepping it up. He was really good."

"I just think he's a good football player," Stanford head coach Walt Harris said. "Correct me if I'm wrong, we won't have to face him again? I'm sure Charlie will come up with some others. He can't wait to play us, that's what it looks like. We wish him well."

There was one negative from Abiamiri. He was flagged twice for being offsides. The second time it occurred, Abiamiri was taken out of the game for a play and had a frank discussion with defensive line coach Jappy Oliver.

"I'm my own biggest critic," Abiamiri said. "I know that every game, there are positives and negatives. Last week, we had some positives and negatives. Every week is going to be something different. We're striving to get better. We're far from perfect but we're striving to get better."

*The Irish defense was not at full strength on Saturday. Missing from the usual starting lineup was linebacker Travis Thomas, safety Tom Zbikowski and cornerback Ambrose Wooden. The fact that Thomas and Wooden were held out was no real surprise with the bye week coming up. But Zbikowski, who took a big hit in the Purdue game off of a punt return, was a surprise and ended his 29-game consecutive starting streak.

"Zibby I know will never tell me the truth when it comes to how he's feeling coming off of that," Weis said. "I just didn't feel that he had total straight back, even though he was pretty close. I felt that I wanted to try to do all I could to try to save him so we had two weeks before we played another game.

"It wasn't the head. It was more the strength in his upper body. He was running around out there fine. It's just that I told him, ‘Look, Zibby, if I ask you if you can go, you'll say you can go and you'd be lying. So we'll leave it at that and see if we can't buy you some time.'"

Filling in for Zbikowski was Ray Herring. The sophomore from Melbourne, FL led the team in tackles with nine stops in his first career start for the Irish.

Weis did mention that Thomas, Wooden and kickoff specialist Bobby Renkes, along with Zbikowski, could have played in the Stanford contest but the rest and the bye week were factors in the decision to hold them from playing.

*Carl Gioia's 35-yard field goal in the third quarter made him three-for-five on the season. It was also his first attempted kick since the Penn State contest.

*Freshmen seeing action today were Darrin Walls, Raeshon McNeil, George West, Munir Prince, Jashaad Gaines, Sergio Brown, James Aldridge, Ryan Burkhart, Morrice Richardson, Eric Olsen, Matt Carufel, Richard Jackson, Robby Parris, Will Yeatman, Konrad Reuland and John Ryan. That's 16 out of the 28 in the freshmen class.


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