BRIAN BEIDATSCH: Strength and character
Pat Leonard | Friday, November 18, 2005
Brian Beidatsch is a character. You just have to know him.
“He’s a real quiet guy, unless he knows you and you’re buddies,” nose tackle Derek Landri said of the backup defensive tackle. “Then he’s your typical buddy who messes around, we’ll play pranks on each other, all that good stuff.
So, have any good stories, Brian?
“Yeah,” Beidatsch said with a smile. “Too good to share with you.”
The 6-foot-3, 294-pound senior has made friends like Landri by being just as all-business on the field as he is easygoing off of it.
After redshirting his freshman season, Beidatsch (pronounced ‘by-dash’) has become one of the most reliable players on Notre Dame’s defense. Landri and Trevor Laws start on the interior defensive line, but Beidatsch must be on call – like a doctor on the sidelines – to jump into either position, left or right tackle, at any point during a game.
“You’ve got to know your place,” Beidatsch said, explaining how he handles the hectic backup role. “You’ve got to be flexible in that you can play both sides, because I could go in for Landri at one moment and I could go in for Trevor the next moment.”
Beidatsch has played in all nine games this season, recording 11 tackles (four solo) – a career high for a single season – and his first full sack.
And as his career peaks, Beidatsch has the opportunity to go out on a personal, and team, high.
The human plug
Opponents who throw the ball often do not see as much of Beitdasch because Landri (263 pounds) and Laws (293) have proven themselves to be better pass rushers.
Landri even speeds into the backfield on run plays and makes several tackles for loss, including an immediate wrap-up of Navy quarterback Lamar Owens in last Saturday’s 42-21.
But Beidatsch becomes invaluable to defensive coordinator Rick Minter and the Irish front line when the ball stays on the ground.
“He’s a big kid, bigger than both Trevor and I,” Landri said. “When me and Trevor are in there, we bring that quickness. When Beidatsch is in there, he takes up three guys and basically lets the linebackers run free, which is what every linebacker wants to do.”
The trio of interior linemen is coming off perhaps its best statistical performance of the season against the Midshipmen. Landri made seven tackles, Laws had six and Beidatsch finished with four.
“The guys that did really stand out for me on defense were really the interior guys,” coach Charlie Weis said in his Sunday press conference. “All our problems really were on the perimeter, on the edge. They really got very little done inside because I thought that those guys were disruptive and they made a bunch of plays.
“Corey [Mays] had a big day numbers wise in terms of tackles, but a lot of that had to do with the play of Landri and Beidatsch.”
Beidatsch is more than happy to help out Mays, his roommate, who also has shined in his final season wearing the blue and gold. But he also believes that help comes from all three of the linemen, not just himself. And he attributes the gelling of himself, Landri and Laws to familiarity and chemistry.
“Usually you get in good with people from your class and the people who you’ve been around for a long time,” Beidatsch said. “I’ve been here with them for three and four years, and they’re definitely guys I enjoy being around.”
It’s easier to enjoy being around teammates, also, when the team is winning at the exact, appropriate time.
Going out a winner
The same goes for Mays, wide receiver Maurice Stovall or any player who has been on the roster longer than one season – nothing feels better to Brian Beidatsch than to go out on top.
“It’s very special [to win in my final season],” Beidatsch said. “My freshman year, [former Irish defensive linemen] Anthony Weaver and Grant Irons were here. It seemed like a .500 season, and they were great players on the D-line, but they didn’t get that winning season senior year.
“So I consider myself very fortunate to be in the spot where things are going right, and I expect them to continue the rest of the year.”
Notre Dame is 7-2 with two games to play and momentum on its side. Players Beidatsch’s age endured a difficult couple seasons and can recall in detail the emotions, lows and struggles of playing on a .500 team – or worse.
But Beidatsch believes his situation couldn’t have worked out any better as a member of Notre Dame’s team.
“There’s been highs and there’s been lows, kind of like life,” he said. “During Willingham’s first year, it was kind of a nice ride we had for a while, and then this year’s been a great time as well. But then again you’ve had those years when you’ve been .500, and through that you’ve learned it’s nothing but hard work and effort, and if you want it, you have to go out there and get it done.”
Beidatsch was not always a full-time defensive player. As a high school senior in 2000, he was a two-way, all-state selection from Marquette High School in Milwaukee, Wisc, lining up at both defensive end and offensive guard. He also blocked kicks and recovered fumbles.
Certain schools recruited Beidatsch as offensive lineman, as well. But he felt defense fit his personality better – his football personality, at least.
“I probably had just as many honors if not more for offense [in high school], but I always liked the defensive side of the ball,” he said. “You could just go out there, and it’s a little less thinking. There’s thinking, but you could play with emotion and really get into the game. You didn’t have to slow yourself down, and I always enjoyed laying a hit to someone, so that’s what fueled my defensive love or passion.”
That side of the ball is suiting him just fine in 2005. His 11 tackles are one more than his 10 combined tackles from 2002-2004.
Off the field, Beidatsch believes he has success waiting in the wings with a marketing degree. But that’s only his second option.
“I’d love to continue playing football if the good Lord wills that,” Beidatsch said. “But you never know.”
No one knows, just like no one knew Beidatsch would factor so much into Notre Dame’s defensive success, or that he is so quiet and reserved sometimes off the field.
“Really he’s just a funny guy, a goofy guy that we enjoy having around,” his roommate Mays said.
If only he’d tell the story.