Vernaglia is listed as the backup to Ryan and head coach Charlie Weis said at his Tuesday press conference the senior will get work at both the inside and outside spots this week. As for Neal, used mostly for his speed off the edge of the line on passing downs, his improvement keeps going up and up.
"He's a bigger body than some of those other guys, and he's not as tall as John," Weis said. "But he's more of a John Ryan-type of player. When those two guys are out there, it gives you more of a mirrored look on the right side and the left side."
On the offensive side of the football, Chris Stewart is the backup to Paul Duncan at right tackle while Thomas Bemenderfer is the same at left guard to starter Mike Turkovich. Dan Wenger, who started the season at right guard, is now listed at his natural position at center behind captain John Sullivan. Sophomores Matt Carufel and Eric Olsen are one-two at right guard. Wenger has been battling an ankle injury sustained in the Michigan contest.
"Danny hasn't practiced that many reps full speed yet," Weis said. "We're finally getting him back on a more full speed basis this week. He's not going to just automatically get thrown in there. I've got Matt and Eric who have been out there a lot. (Dan's) going to have to earn his way back out there."
On the injury front, Weis said junior wide receiver David Grimes, nursing an ankle injury sustained in the loss at Purdue, should be a go this week against Boston College. Grimes is third on the team with 15 receptions. Freshman wide receiver Golden Tate "got knocked in the head a bit," according to Weis, in the UCLA contest and sophomore Barry Gallup, Jr. is listed ahead of him on the depth chart. The Notre Dame head coach said Tate is still in the mix for the Boston College game. Weis put all these depth chart moves into perspective.
"What I do is I try to put them down in the position where I think that they'll probably get on the field the fastest because there's flexibility," Weis said. "For example, Justin Brown could be in the game for either Dwight Stephenson or Trevor Laws. I don't know which spot he'll get in the game first, but he'll be in the game for one of those two guys. But I'll list him probably behind Dwight on one side and I'll probably put Derrell (Hand) and Paddy (Mullen) on the other side. But Justin would go in first.
"I'm using that as an example. When you're doing that I'm trying to place them so that you guys get the closest idea without having to list one guy in two spots."
An interesting note: Gallup's father, Barry, is the Boston College Assistant Athletic Director for Football Operations. Weis said Barry, Jr.'s mother will be rooting for the Irish this weekend.
***Weis said he doesn't expect to see freshman Matt Romine on the field during games anytime soon. The freshman offensive lineman has been battling an elbow injury.
***Tom Hammond and Pat Haden will be in the booth for NBC this weekend calling the contest.
***Here are some numbers to keep in mind when watching Saturday's game between Notre Dame and Boston College. Under Weis, the Irish are 14-1 coming off a win, 15-1 when leading at halftime and 16-0 when leading after three quarters. The bad numbers under Weis: 2-11 when allowing 30-plus points, 3-10 when letting an opponent rush for 100-plus yards and 4-10 when trailing after three quarters.
***There are four players among the Irish and Eagles players that went to high school at St. Ignatius in Cleveland, OH. At Notre Dame, LB John Ryan and Robby Parris went to high school there as did Boston College's C/G Kevin Sheridan and DE Jim Ramella.
***Boston College will try to become the fourth school to beat Notre Dame five straight times. Only USC, Michigan and Michigan State have beat the Irish in five or more consecutive tries.
***The Eagles' No. 4 ranking is the highest for the school since 1984. Boston College was rated No. 4 in that year as well but lost the following week to Temple 20-10.
***Between the years of 2003-07, the Eagles have the seventh best road record in the nation. The Eagles are 19-8 away from Chestnut Hill for a winning percentage of .704.