Stats and Stuff

*Come on down, Marcus Freeman. The injury to John Carlson in Saturday's 39-17 victory over Air Force has re-reshuffled the tight end position around a bit. Freeman now becomes the starter while freshman Konrad Reuland and Will Yeatman back up the fifth-year senior.

Freeman has been primarily the blocking tight end in the Notre Dame offense. He's never been a prolific pass catcher. In four-plus seasons with the Irish, Freeman has a total of nine receptions for 110 yards. The two freshmen have yet to record a catch this year. However, Freeman showed some promise in the Falcon game. After Carlson went down, the fifth-year senior promptly went in and caught a 23-yard touchdown pass from Brady Quinn. Freeman will have more opportunities like this in the next two games or as long as Carlson's injury leaves him on the sidelines.

"What happens is Freeman is the starter," Weis said about the new tight end rotation. "And then if we're in multiple tight end packages, if he's in, Freeman becomes the swing guy, not the freshman. They learn one position. And then if Freeman is in with them, then the position they learned is not the same. I'm talking about the two tight end packages, not the one tight end packages. Obviously they are all in the same position there.

"But Marcus will be the swing guy. He will be the guy who learns both responsibilities. And the freshmen, I don't think it's ever to ask too much mentally of the freshmen. So they will learn their job and Marcus will be the guy who learns both jobs."

*Carl Gioia did not have the best of afternoons on Saturday. The senior kicker missed three extra points. Two were blocked and one was wide right. These have been the only PAT misses for Gioia on the season. In field goal kicks, he's 7-for-11 but just 1-for-4 beyond 40 yards. The PAT miscues might have reopened the kicking duties for either Ryan Burkhart or Bobby Renkes.

"I think that's something we're definitely going to have to re evaluate this week because that's not acceptable," Weis said.

*The weekly Geoff Price watch list: the senior punter booted two balls for an average of 47 yards per kick. This raised his season average to 45.4, which is still ahead of Craig Hentrich's record of 44.9. The one problem: the net. Price might have punted the ball for an average of 47 yards but the net was only 32.5.

"I thought our punt protection, our whole punt process I wasn't very pleased with," Weis said. "I didn't think we were very good in protection. I didn't think we were very good in coverage and I didn't think we handled the punts very well from our punter."

*The New Jersey-bred Weis on whether Rutgers should be ranked higher than Notre Dame: "I didn't say that. Here is what I do think. I think that if Rutgers is undefeated at the end of the year, it's going to be a heck of a situation. Whether it's Notre Dame or somebody else, it's going to be a heck of a situation. Because no matter what way you go, there will be people whining, spoken from the ultimate whiner himself." Top Stories