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FOOTBALL: Linemen to pursue options

Bobby Griffin | Wednesday, March 16, 2005

In order for the Irish offense to be successful next year under new head coach Charlie Weis, the continued development of the young offensive line will be imperative.

Jamie Ryan and Zach Giles, however, will not be a part of this pro-cess.

The two offensive linemen will not suit up for the Irish next season, Ryan because of a serious back condition and Giles because he has elected to transfer to North-eastern – a Division I-AA school in Massa-chusetts.

Ryan’s back injury will effectively end his football career. Blueandgold.com rep-orted that doctors informed the Irish guard that he could undergo surgery, but it was unlikely that team physicians would clear him to play anyway.

Ryan was heading into his senior season and would likely have been the top reserve offensive lineman on the depth chart. The 6-foot-5 senior from Tamaqua, Pa. has had a productive but injury-filled career at Notre Dame.

As a sophomore, Ryan started three games, logging over 120 minutes of playing time.

However, knee injuries in 2004 mostly kept him off the field for all but 10 minutes, 24 seconds.

The back condition – a degenerative disk problem – will allow Ryan to pursue other interests in football.

He has said that he would like to stay involved in some way with the Irish and eventually go into coaching.

Giles’ case is much different.

The senior had only started one game in his career for the Irish, and the South Bend Tribune reported his departure is rooted in Giles’ desire to play, according to his former high school football coach Lou Silva.

“I haven’t talked to Zach, but according to some of his good friends it’s a done deal. “He just wants to play football,” Silva told the South Bend Tribune.

The center played in place of the injured Bob Morton at times in 2003, including the entire second half of the Boston College game and the fourth quarter against Florida State.

Giles will join a Northeastern team that finished 5-6 overall and 4-4 in the Atlantic 10 conference.

Giles is a native of Marshfield, Mass., 30 minutes away from the Northeastern campus.

Aside from the loss of Ryan and Giles, Notre Dame retains all five of its starting linemen this year – including tackle Ryan Harris, who won the team award for top offensive lineman as a sophomore in 2004.