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NATE SCHICCATANO: Schiccatano endures handful of position changes

Chris Khorey | Friday, November 18, 2005

One requirement to be a successful head coach is to be familiar with all facets of the game of football. Notre Dame senior Nate Schiccatano, who dreams of following his father into coaching one day, has already passed that requirement.

While at Southern Columbia High School in Catawissa, Penn, Schiccatano played quarterback, wide receiver and running back. Since arriving in South Bend, he’s moved to fullback, linebacker and finally defensive end.

Schiccatano said many of his moves have been his own idea.

“Most of the time I went to the coach and I asked, and the coach thought it was a good idea, the best way for me to help the team,” he said.

Growing up in Catawissa, Schiccatano dreamed of playing for the Irish.

“Ever since I was little, I always liked Notre Dame,” Schiccatano said. “Everyone else was Penn State fans. When I was in sixth grade, my Dad came out here for a coaches clinic. I got to meet Coach [Lou Holtz]. Ron Powlus was the quarterback and he’s from twenty minutes from where I live.

“That day I made a promise that I would do whatever it takes to get a college scholarship and come to Notre Dame.”

Schiccatano worked hard and was good enough in high school to be a four-star recruit at running back. While his heart was set on playing for the Irish, other schools had their hearts set on getting him.

“You hear about the recruiting process and people say its bad, but you still have no idea,” he said. “It’s so hectic, the late nights talking to coaches, schools coming around every few days offering you a scholarship.”

Once in South Bend, Schiccatano was a rookie tailback on Tyrone Willingham’s 10-3 Gator Bowl team.

After that season he was asked to bulk up and provide depth at fullback, where freshman Ashley McConnell was the only scholarship player.

Schiccatano ended up behind fellow converted tailback Rashon Powers-Neal and interhall-legend-turned-varsity-contributor Josh Schmidt.

When Charlie Weis was hired after the 2004 season, Shiccatano was moved to defense to better utilize his combination of speed and size.

He played linebacker in the spring, but was moved to defensive end in the fall.

“Talking to [Weis] and [defensive coordinator Rick Minter] and all, they were impressed with my ability to blitz as a linebacker so he thought I’d do a good job as a rush end on the defensive line,” Shiccatano said.

Schiccatano said he brings a unique skill set to defensive end.

Despite weighing only 230 pounds, he said his quickness gives him an advantage.

“Being as big as I am and as fast as I am, although I may have lost a step here and there, fast guys are always fast,” he said. “I think it’s an advantage for me on the line. I’m not the biggest defensive lineman, but I’m the quickest and the fastest.”

Despite his experience at several different positions, most of Schiccatano’s playing time has come on special teams.

“One of the highlights of my career was against Boston College [in 2003] when were down,” he said. “I beat my guy to the inside and I blocked the punt and we scored a touchdown to take the lead.”

Schiccatano has no concrete plans for immediately after graduation, but he did say that he would like to coach.

“My dad’s a coach, so I’d like to take after him,” he said. “Someday I’d like to do that as a future career.”