Enjoying and Earning the Ride

Irish head coach Charlie Weis began Monday's press session with a personnel announcement – the consequences of which turned a garden-variety afternoon for two Notre Dame families into a cause for celebration.

Two Notre Dame seniors, tight end Bobby Burger and punter Eric Maust were awarded scholarships for the 2009-2010 school year.

Maust became Notre Dame's full-time punter last season, appearing in all 13 games while averaging 41.1 yards per punt. He dropped 16 punts inside the 20-yard line vs. just four touchbacks. The junior also pitches for Notre Dame's baseball team and finished with a 6-3 record this past spring.

"It's unbelievable," said Maust of the scholarship. "Just the relief that it provides for my mom and dad. For the first two years I was here we were paying (for Maust's tuition).

"It just makes you happy because its literally the fruit of the labor you've been putting in for this season and all of those before.

"It's a huge relief for them. Last year it was a huge joy. And this year it was more or less relief, because I knew I had to come back and earn that scholarship again, there are no guarantees. Just being able to get through camp and let them know ‘hey, mom and daddy…I got it.'

"I can't tell you – being a son – and telling your parents I got it, it was almost for them because they were the ones paying for it (in Maust's freshman and sophomore seasons). It's a real blessing."

Maust took time with the media to comment on the now-completed Irish training camp and his approach to winning the punting job once again.

"Camp was very competitive. (Freshman) Ben Turk is a good punter – and that's why we got him. I was doing my best not to focus on the situation. Whether its in the Stadium; on the practice field; or me alone with a bag of balls, I try to not let the situation dictate the process I go through when I punt.

"Though there (was) a scholarship potentially on the line as well as the starting punting job, I just trie to focus on what I needed to do to get a good kick, and then just repeat that for the next kick."

Burger sat out last fall after transferring from Dayton. He joined the Irish as a walk-on prior to the start of the 2008 season. After redshirting for the Flyers in 2006 season, Burger earned a monogram in 2007 as a defensive end, finishing with 22 tackles, a team-high eight sacks and 11 tackles for lost yardage. In ‘06, Burger was named Dayton's scout team defensive player of the year.

"Coach Weis told me in the meeting, ‘Burger you leave the meeting right now and go call your parents.' And that was an awesome phone call – my parents were really proud and my grandpa was there at the same time. You could almost hear them choking up a little – it was really neat."

The reaction of Burger's teammates was equally rewarding for the physical tight end.

"That was actually very heartwarming as well. A bunch of guys came up to me and said ‘hey Burger, you really deserve it; you earned it' and that meant a lot to me."

Previous conversations with Irish tight ends Mike Ragone and Tyler Eifert regarding Burger's approach to the game yielded identical responses: the former walk-on is all out on every play.

"It's ingrained at all times," Burger answered when told of his teammates' view of him as a player that gives 100 percent – 100 percent of the time. "I love the game; I'm really passionate about the game, and every play I'm just trying to sell out because you never know how good you're going to be until you give 110 percent on every play."

Burger has reportedly been cross-trained a bit in the Irish backfield (as a lead fullback) as well.

"I try to be versatile. My goal is to get on the field whenever I can and try to help the team. I know all the positions, so I'm just going to go out there and block somebody and help the team win."

His father, Bob Burger, was on the 1977 national championship team at Notre Dame and played offensive guard for the Irish from 1978-80.

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