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Dick Harmon: BYU-ND Football — Timpview's Chris Badger may be Notre Dame's only LDS missionary

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 17 2012 9:26 p.m. MDT

Tate also knows from firsthand experience with Urban Meyer that coaches in Big Ten territory are not familiar with working with players returned from missions.

"I can only imagine what it's like at Notre Dame. You've got to be patient with guys off missions. You kind of feel like you are on an island, and as everyone knows at Utah and BYU, its difficult to get back in shape."

When Tate got back, Eric Weddle told him he looked out of shape. "Well," he replied, "I've been in a third-world country (Argentina) for two years." That Badger is redshirting this year will make a big difference, said Tate.

"It's been great; the ward here is really strong," Badger said. "I definitely get a lot of opportunities every day to answer questions about the church. It's a lot of fun; some people have come to church and one friend, who is 29, joined the church. I've had experiences here I couldn't have had at BYU, had I stayed close to home."

Troy said his brother has an uphill battle at Notre Dame. He was recruited by Charlie Weis, not Kelly. While Chris was in Ecuador, the Fighting Irish recruited over him because they had to.

"In an elite program, they don't juggle their recruiting or numbers around returned missionaries," Troy said. "Notre Dame and Kelly were great when Chris wanted to go on a mission."

At the time, Notre Dame had only three safeties on the roster. When Badger returned, Notre Dame recruited that position heavily and this fall had six freshman safeties — seven including Chris.

Said Troy, "When you look at it, there haven't been many (if any) successful returned missionaries at the big-time programs that recruit nationally. Most LDS athletes haven't interrupted their careers to do it. For Chris, his chances were better if he stayed. But he really felt like he needed to go and he had a great experience in Ecuador. Now he's back, it will take some work as well as luck to get that opportunity."

Chris says Notre Dame's defense is legitimate. "It is as good as the numbers show. They've been dominant and expect to dominate every game."

Cougars on the air

BYU (4-2) at No. 5 Notre Dame (6-0)

Saturday, 1:30 p.m. MDT

Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend, Ind.

TV: NBC Radio: 1160 AM, 102.7 FM

Email: dharmon@desnews.com Twitter: @Harmonwrites

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