Notre Dame releases depth chart

September, 1, 2009
9/01/09
1:08
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett


Notre Dame has released its depth chart for this week's opener against Nevada, and perhaps the biggest news is that freshman Manti Te'o is not starting.

Te'o is listed as the backup to Brian Smith at will linebacker. Smith is also listed as the No. 2 at mike linebacker to Toryan Smith.

Coach Charlie Weis said this afternoon that Te'o will be on the field a lot, but that he didn't want him rotating in with other young players.

Another notable item on the depth chart is on the left side of the offensive line. Paul Duncan and Matt Romine are listed as co-starters at left tackle, while Chris Stewart and Dan Wenger are neck and neck at left guard.

Weis said Duncan and Stewart will start, but that Romine and Wenger would play in the first half.

"Usually you put offensive linemen in and they stay in the whole time," Weis said. "But with these two, we want to make sure we get them involved in the first half."

Jonas Gray is the No. 2 running back behind Armando Allen. Weis said Gray earned that job in camp, and Robert Hughes will be suspended for the first half against Nevada for a fight in last year's USC game.

Besides Te'o, no other true freshmen are in the two-deep on offense or defense. Wideout Shaquelle Evans has been impressive and is among the top seven receivers, Weis said. But starters Golden Tate and Michael Floyd and top backups Duval Kumara and Robby Parris are the clear top four that the Irish will use the most early on, he said.

Evans and true freshman Theo Riddick are listed among the top four kick returners, and Weis said he wants to get the ball in Riddick's hands on returns. But he will not put both freshmen out there for the first kickoff because of their youth and inexperience. James Aldridge is listed as the top kick returner.

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