Irish special teams hardly special

Originally Published: October 28, 2003
By Adam Rittenberg | Special to
Special teams mistakes wiped out a valiant Notre Dame comeback last Saturday at Boston College. The Irish allowed 102 yards on four kickoff returns (25.5 yards a runback), including a 42-yarder that set up Boston College's game-winning 26-yard field goal. With K/P Nicholas Setta out, D.J. Fitzpatrick averaged only 33 yards a punt. Boston College had only one possession start inside its 20-yard line and the Eagles started two drives in Notre Dame territory following punts. Fitzpatrick was consistently short on kickoffs and several times made touchdown-saving tackles.

"We don't want our kicker to make tackles," Notre Dame coach Tyrone Willingham said. "That's not an advantageous position because it usually means he's the last guy or second-to-last guy. They started on our kickoffs at the 38, 36, 35 and 50 (yard lines). That's far too good field position."

Willingham listed Setta as questionable for Saturday's game with Florida State.