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Irish Insider: Weis says Te’o to play more vs. Huskies

Sam Werner | Friday, October 2, 2009

While it’s always exciting to see what freshman will make an impact every fall, there was one first year player this year that received more attention than any freshman since Jimmy Clausen himself.

Tuesday, Irish coach Charlie Weis said in a press conference that freshman linebacker Manti Te’o would see more time on the field against Washington than he had in any of the first four games.

“I think you’re going start seeing him a whole bunch more here this week,” Weis said.

In the first game against Nevada, Te’o made his presence felt with a pair of tackles as well as a few other vicious hits.

In the next three games, though, Te’o received little playing time, notching only four more tackles. One of those tackles, though, was a game-clinching sack against Purdue Saturday.

After the close win over the Boilermakers, Weis talked about possibly changing his strategy regarding the super-frosh.

“Yeah, I think one thing we need to do both in practice and in games is just play him more,” Weis said. “The only thing, when you have a young linebacker you’ll go through some growing pains, but I think that you’ll see him just playing more. We talked about that today. I think as the year goes on, you’ll see his playing time just increase more and more.”

Weis has said one of the things preventing Te’o from seeing the playing field is the steep learning curve for linebackers coming into the college game.

“We knew coming in the door that Manti was going to be one of the more athletic guys that we brought on to this team with his size and speed,” Weis said. “And I think that as he’s gone through this learning process. I think he’s getting close to really getting the trust of the defensive coaches to able to put him on the field more.”

Another roadblock to increasing Te’o’s playing time has been positional logistics. The current starting lineup has Toryan Smith starting at middle linebacker with Brian Smith at weakside linebacker. When Te’o comes in, he plays weakside with Brian Smith moving over to middle. But, according to Weis, he’s found a way around it.

“He’ll play more this week, that’s all I’ll tell you,” Weis said. “I’m not going to go over the game plan to tell you how we’re going play him more, but he’ll play more.”

No matter how he gets on the field, though, Weis says the future is bright for the young Hawaiian.

“I have high expectations for Manti,” Weis said. “I think you will see Manti playing his best ball in October and November.”