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Turk to get his shot as starting punter

Sep 29, 2009, 12:06 AM EST

While Charlie Weis has yet to announce anything, a depth chart released by Notre Dame indicates that Ben Turk will replace Eric Maust as the starting punter. Turk, a highly touted freshman specialist, will take over the punting duties for Maust, who is averaging less than forty yards per punt this year. Maust’s four punts against Purdue Saturday night averaged only 37.8 yards per kick on Saturday, and might have been the final evidence Weis needed to make the switch.

Turk arrived on campus rated the third best punter in the country by Scout.com and the 6th best by Rivals.com. It didn’t take long for Turk to make waves on the team, not for his prodigious leg, but for his brute strength. He tested as the strongest freshman on the team in the bench press and put up 26 reps of 225 pounds during testing, with a max press of 405 pounds.

“You don’t want to see Turk bench,”
linebacker Manti Te’o said back in August. “He benches a ridiculous amount of weight. He benches way more
than me, and he always teases me because I’m a linebacker and he’s a
punter.”

The decision to insert Turk must have been a difficult one for Weis and his staff, because the coach indicated back in the preseason that if the competition was close, he’d probably side with Maust.

If it’s too close to call, I’d probably go with
the veteran. Then you can potentially have him around for an extra
year. That would be a consideration.

“As far as leg strength, there’s no one here with the leg strength he has. He’s got big-time pop.”

Maust will keep his job as the holder.

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