Wednesday, September 24, 2008

House Party | by Pat

It's been in the news the past few days that freshman Mike Golic, Jr. and junior Will Yeatman were among the 37 students arrested over the weekend for underage drinking at a house party that was raided by Indiana's Excise Police force. Yeatman's inclusion was especially noteworthy as, in addition to being charged with underage consumption, he was also tagged with false informing and resisting arrest. After his January arrest for OWI and reckless driving, Yeatman has been on a year-long probation that would have seen the OWI wiped from his record had he stayed out of trouble. That is in jeopardy now, depending on the actions of the St. Joseph county court.

Charlie addressed the incident and Yeatman's future yesterday at his normal Tuesday press conference.

I want to make a note of regards to events this past weekend. I'm still in the process of gathering information, but until further notice, I've decided to hold Will Yeatman from competition until his matter is resolved. Any other action as it relates to team rules, including the situation with Mike Golic will be handled by me.

From a team standpoint, both Will and Mike will be at practice. But, Will, I'm not going to let him compete until we have -- unless we have resolution. I won't let him compete this Saturday unless we have resolution on this matter.

It's not likely there will be any type of resolution that would see Yeatman back in action for the Purdue game and his status for the rest of the season has to be in doubt at this point.

That leaves freshman Kyle Rudolph and freshman Joseph Fauria as the two healthy scholarship tight ends on the roster. Charlie discussed the possibility of Fauria seeing the field this Saturday.
COACH WEIS: I'd say the depth chart has changed. I think the obvious guy that comes to the forefront right off the bat is (Joseph) Fauria. You know, he's a guy who, you know, there's a good chance he was going to go through the year and not play this year. Well there's a good chance that won't happen. As a matter of fact, today instead of practicing on the scout team he'll be practicing up with the big boys. Because you have to have your contingency plans in place just in case.

Q. Is he the only contingency plan or do you have others as well lined up?

COACH WEIS: We have other contingency plans, yes. That's a fair question. And the answer is yes. But the names I can't give you on those. But we do have them
Obviously Luke Schmidt, who has been labeled as a "move TE"/H-Back to this point will see more TE type responsibilities in the coming weeks. The past few years Charlie has also used extra offensive linemen as tight ends and that is most likely the plan again. Former left tackle Paul Duncan and backup right tackle Taylor Dever come to mind as two possible candidates to line up as blocking tight ends when ND wants to use a bigger personnel grouping. But that's not really an every down type of solution so it will be interesting to see how the offense adapts to the suddenly rail-thin TE depth chart. There is one guy I wouldn't mind seeing out there at tight end, but I don't think that is going to work.

Getting back to Kyle Rudolph for a second, he's been getting closer and closer to finally catching a touchdown pass the past few games. Purdue might be his best chance as they have been rather generous towards opposing tight ends so far this season. In two of Purdue's first three games, opposing tight ends have led their team in receiving. Granted Oregon's Ed Dickson and Northern Colorado's Ryan Chelsa are veteran players and intergral parts of their team's offense, but they did catch caught 7 passes for 93 yards and 9 passes for 99 yards against the Boilermakers, respectively. If Rudolph has struggled while staying in to block, perhaps we'll see him test the Purdue defense on Saturday and give the linebackers and safeties something else to worry about in addition to Tate, Floyd, and the rest of the receivers.

Update: A quick note from Irish Insights that a new walk-on tight end was spotted at practice yesterday. Bobby Burger played defensive end at Dayton before transferring to Notre Dame. Now he's the newest walk-on tight end for the Fighting Irish joining Paul Kuppich and Kevin Brooks (who is also the starting long snapper). This isn't really news that will have much impact, but it's nice to have a few additional bodies at practice should Yeatman's suspension grow from playing in games to practice as well. It's also kind of cool that Burger is a legacy walk-on. His dad, Bob Burger, was a walk-on turned scholarship starting offensive lineman who recently was named to the Academic All-American Hall of Fame.