ND to sit Aldridge, start Hughes at FB

James Aldridge unselfishly made a move from halfback to fullback this offseason.

On Tuesday, the Notre Dame senior moved off the depth chart all together.

Irish coach Charlie Weis announced Tuesday at his weekly news conference that Aldridge will miss No. 18 Notre Dame's Saturday showdown with Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich., because of a sprained right shoulder.

The 6-foot, 225-pound Aldridge suffered the injury in Saturday's season opener, a 35-0 rout of Nevada. He had 13 yards on three carries when he came out of the game in the second half.

Junior Robert Hughes, a 5-11, 234-pound Chicago Hubbard High product, will slide over and take on the fullback duties this week -- and perhaps beyond. Weis said Aldridge is questionable at this point for the Sept. 19 matchup with Michigan State.

Aldridge was Notre Dame's leading rusher in 2007, as a halfback, and has 975 career rushing yards. The dramatic improvement of junior Armando Allen, depth at halfback and a hole at fullback prompted Weis to ask Aldridge to consider the move.
Weis said seldom-used senior Barry Gallup Jr. is the top candidate at the moment to replace Aldridge on kickoff returns.

Eric Hansen covers Notre Dame for ESPNChicago.com.