The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Football: Schwapp’s season ends

Ken Fowler | Thursday, October 5, 2006

Notre Dame sophomore fullback Asaph Schwapp will have surgery on his left knee today and miss the rest of the season, Irish coach Charlie Weis said Wednesday.

“From watching him today, he’s not going to be able to play [this season],” Weis said. “The question isn’t if we’ll have to have him in to get fixed, the question is when. … By having [the surgery] now, you have a chance at having him back for spring [practices].”

Schwapp played in Notre Dame’s season-opening wins against Georgia Tech and Penn State. His left knee “locked up on him” once in practice early this season and then late in the Penn State contest, Weis said.

Schwapp will be eligible for a medical redshirt since he participated in just two games this season. Any player who suffers an injury in the first three games and sits out the rest of the season because of the injury can apply for an extra year of eligibility, according to NCAA rules.

Weis said the knee problem was a recurrence of an injury Schwapp suffered before he came to Notre Dame.

“I don’t know the extent of what it is because the injury is an old injury that just reoccurred,” Weis said. “I don’t know how old that is, but [it didn’t originate] while he was here.”

Weis said he is confident that backup fullback Ashley McConnell can continue to replace Schwapp without a drop in performance.

“We haven’t had [Schwapp] since Penn State, so there’s no impact,” Weis said. “We play the next guy.”

Weis said the number of two-back sets he called initially dropped after Schwapp’s injury but has returned to normal after three games with McConnell as the starter.

With McConnell solidified as the No. 1 fullback, that moves freshman Luke Schmidt into the mix as the backup. At 6-foot-3 and 252 pounds, Schmidt came to Notre Dame with the potential to be a between-the-tackles, pounding halfback or a hole-opening fullback.

“[Schmidt] has been steadily on the rise the whole season,” Weis said. “He’s fit in better at this point as a fullback, and he’s made steady progress.”

But Weis said the freshman wouldn’t be the only option for the Irish at the No. 2 fullback spot. Without elaborating, Weis said he had some ideas about what the team could do.


u Weis said the player he is least sure will return to the field this week is running back Travis Thomas, who suffered a rib injury on the last play of the game against Michigan State and did not play against Purdue. Weis called Thomas “iffy” to play against Stanford.

“When you have sore ribs, running around is not the issue, getting hit is the issue,” Weis said. “If [Thomas] doesn’t play this week, it’ll have nothing to do with anything but precautionary measures.”

u Weis said he is “encouraged” by the progress of Notre Dame’s No. 3 receiver, David Grimes. Weis said Grimes had a “95 percent” chance of avoiding missing prolonged time because of his injury.

u Weis also said that injured cornerback Ambrose Wooden, who has not played since Notre Dame lost to Michigan in Week 3, looks close to starting against Stanford.

u Kickoff specialist Bobby Renkes has taken all his usual kickoffs in practice this week after sitting out the Purdue game with a muscle strain.