Dec. 8, 2005
The University of Notre Dame football team will be fully represented at the Home Depot College Football Awards Show on ESPN this evening. Head coach Charlie Weis will be in attendance along with team MVPs Brady Quinn and Jeff Samardzija.
Quinn will be in the running for the Davey O'Brien Award, given to the nation's top quarterback. Samardzija is one of three finalists for the Biletnikoff Award for the nation's top wide receiver. Weis is one of three in consideration for the Munger Award, given to the nation's best coach (the Munger Awardwinner will not be announced this evening).
Quinn and Samardzija played a key role in the team's outstanding 2005 season. After the team finished with a 6-6 record in 2004, Weis installed a new offensive system and the Irish responded, compiling a 9-2 record, scoring over 38 points per game, averaging better than 450 yards per contest, rising to No. 5 in the country and earning a spot in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl against Ohio State.
Samardzija is tied with fellow Biletnikoff finalist Dwayne Jarrett for the national lead in touchdown receptions with 15. He is fourth in the nation in receiving yards per game (108.2) and 23rd in receptions per game (6.55). Samardzija caught at least one touchdown pass in Notre Dame's first eight games this season (becoming the first Irish player to accomplish that feat) and owns the school record for single-season touchdown receptions (15) and yardage (1,190).
Quinn's stellar 2005 campaign has pushed the three-year starter to ownership of all of Notre Dame's significant passing records, including career/single-season yardage, career/single-season touchdown passes, career/single-season attempts and completions. In '05 Quinn has thrown for 3,633 yards with 32 touchdowns and just seven interceptions while completing 65 percent of his passes.
Weis took over the reins of his alma mater in December of 2004 while still offensive coordinator of the New England Patriots. He helped the Patriots win the Super Bowl, returned to campus to finish recruiting and installed an offensive that is ranked 10th in the country overall (489.9 yards per game), fourth in passing yards per game (334.3) and fourth in passing efficiency (162.2). The 2005 edition of the Fighting Irish is the first Notre Dame team to have a 3,000-yard passer (Quinn), 1,000-yard rusher (Darius Walker) and two 1,000-yard receivers (Samardzija, Maurice Stovall).
Recent accolades earned by the 2005 team -
Brady Quinn -
Sammy Baugh Award (top passer)
Sports Illustrated Honorable Mention All-American
ESPN.com Independents Most Valuable Player
Jeff Samardzija -
Sports Illustrated First-Team All-American
CBS Sportsline.com All-American
ESPN.com Independents Top Newcomer
Tom Zbikowski -
Sports Illustrated Honorable Mention All-American (punt returner)
Charlie Weis -
ESPN.com Independents Coach of the Year