April 14, 2004
by Katie Stuhldreher
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Even though the weather in South Bend weather is still cool, Notre Dame football spring practice is just heating up. The Irish are continually looking for athletes to distinguish themselves. One such athlete is sophomore offensive tackle Scott Raridon, who is looking to make his mark on the field next season.
Ever since Raridon can remember, he’s wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps to Notre Dame Stadium, where he worked as a strength and conditioning coach for the Irish in the late 1980s and during the 1988 championship season.
“Ever since I was a little boy, I wanted to play for Notre Dame,” Raridon said. “My dad was always telling me how special this place is. When I realized I could play here in high school, I knew I had to come here.”
Raridon chose to attend Notre Dame, foregoing offers at numerous other schools including Wisconsin, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Iowa State, and Iowa.
“It came down to academics,” he said. “Notre Dame is equal if not greater than the others at football. But the combination of great athletics and great academics here really makes the difference.”
Raridon did not see any playing time in his freshman season, but used that experience to increase his strength and transition from tight end, which he played in high school, to offensive tackle.
“My dad prepped me for this transition,” he said. “He told me that I didn’t have the frame to play tight end in college. The hardest part was just learning to pass-block better.”
Last season, Raridon stepped up for the Irish as the snapper on placement kicks, contributing to the victory over Washington State in the season opener, a game that the Irish won on a 40-yard Nicholas Setta field goal in overtime.
“My freshman year was really just a learning year which let me understand where I was compared with where I needed to be” Raridon said. “Last year it was fun to be able to contribute and actually see the field. That experience will help a lot next season because I won’t be as nervous in front of that big crowd.”
Although Raridon considers his experiences with special teams to be invaluable, he admitted that it made him even hungrier to get out on the offensive line in the fall.
“My main goal for next season is to start,” he said. “I just have to keep working to be the best that I can be for Notre Dame football. And to have some fun, too.”
Raridon expressed that he feels his biggest contribution to the Irish is his versatility since he can play left or right tackle as well as long snapper. He hopes to use this skill to become a leader on the offensive line.
“Next season, the offense needs to be more efficient and we need to stop hurting ourselves,” Raridon said. “We just need to minimize mental errors. When we are going on all cylinders, though, I think we’re pretty hard to stop.”
As far as expectations for next season, Raridon expressed that the whole team is eager to get back out on the field to show people what Notre Dame football is all about.
“We are who we are – competitors,” he said. “We expect a lot of ourselves because that is why we’re here. Notre Dame plays well every year and that is what people expect of us.”
Raridon said that spring practice is going well thus far. He commented that the Irish are setting high standards for themselves and working towards them, thus continually improving and building.
Raridon and the rest of the Notre Dame offense will have their chance to exhibit this resolve at the 75th Blue-Gold Game, which is set for April 24 at 1:30 p.m. (EST) at Notre Dame Stadium.
— ND —