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Football: Calling all captains

Ken Fowler and Lauren Holcomb | Thursday, April 13, 2006

There’s a new triumvirate in town.

Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn, strong safety Tom Zbikowski and running back Travis Thomas will be tri-captains for the 2006 season, Irish coach Charlie Weis announced Wednesday.

Quinn said the captains bring different attitudes to the team but all have at least one leadership quality in common.

“Between the three of us, we’re pretty different personalities,” he said. “I think the biggest thing that [Zbikowski and Thomas] bring is to lead by example, and that’s kind of my philosophy as well.”

Quinn will be the offensive captain for the second straight season, and Zbikowski will take over for graduating senior linebacker Brandon Hoyte on defense.

Thomas was selected for the special teams role, which was a week-by-week honor awarded by coaches in 2005 and based on play from the previous game. Thomas is a member of the kickoff coverage and return team and has played on punts and extra points as well. As Notre Dame’s No. 2 running back last season, the rising senior rushed for 266 yards on 63 carries behind Irish starting running back Darius Walker.

“[Thomas] is not selfish, and he’s not looking for any individual credit,” Walker said. “Travis works so hard not only on the offensive side of the ball, but also on special teams. I think he’s out there on every special teams [play].”

While offensive and defensive players each voted for the captain on their side of the ball, the entire team voted for the special teams’ captainship. Quinn won the offensive selection in a “runaway vote,” Weis said.

“I think he did a great job as the offensive captain, especially being picked as an underclassman,” Weis said. “I was really proud of the way he handled himself on and off the field, and I think that the team really looks to Brady for leadership, which he provides.”

On defense, Weis said he thought the players made the right selection because of the way Zbikowski plays.

“I don’t know if I’m going to be able to take this – a whole year of having to listen to some guy from the South Side of Chicago,” Weis quipped. “But I think he definitely exemplifies the toughness in players that I look for.”

In 2005, players voted on the “Irish football House of Representatives,” a leadership committee with one member from each position group, at the same time as voting for captains. Weis said the team will choose the leadership committee at the end of fall camp in August.

Notes:

u Weis said he prepared a scouting report for the team’s opening game Sept. 2 in Atlanta, Ga.

“I was torn between giving you the scouting report on Georgia Tech, which I have right here in this folder, which would have been real impressive, by the way [and announcing the captains],” he said. “I have [Georgia Tech’s] injuries in spring ball; I’m pretty happy with myself.”

u Weis will announce rosters Wednesday for the Blue-Gold Game April 22.

He said he formulated a style of scrimmage that will accommodate for the team’s current lack of depth, especially on the offensive line.