Billboard prankster revealed


Our good friend John Taylor over at CFT has got the scoop on the billboard prankster who spent a few grand to rankle Irish fans and head coach Charlie Weis.

Per CFT:

Former Notre Dame linebacker Tom Reynolds stepped forward today and explained his decision — made with the support of 50 other former Irish players — to the South Bend Tribune via email.  And, in the process, lobbed more verbal potshots at the coach.

“By definition, a good football coach does not lose games when he has superior talent on the field, and at least splits the games where the talent is approximately equal,” Reynolds wrote according to the Tribune.

“Considering the W-L record of Coach Weis at Notre Dame, one would have to conclude he is serving an internship as a head coach of a college football team, which is defined as “any formal program to provide practical experience for beginners in an occupation or profession. (Random House Unabridged Dictionary)

“Thus, the supportive internship-development sign of his efforts accurately summarizes his easily documentable learning situation.”

Reynolds went on to say that he still cares about “my university”, but also takes another shot at Weis when he writes that “[w]e support his learning curve.”

Reynolds lettered for the Irish in 1967, and the former players who joined in the billboard effort all came from around the same era.  None of the others involved were named.

Nothing like a guy taking his shot at the coach, and then flexing his mental muscles and showing us how smart and clever he is. Thanks for the sourcing on the definition of “internship,” Tom. If Random House Unabridged Dictionary didn’t let me know that’s what that obscure word meant, I’d have had no idea.

I don’t know Tom Reynolds, but if I were a fan of an opposing team or natural rival of the Irish, I’d probably like Tom Reynolds. But if I’m someone who follows and supports the Irish, I’m struggling to find any good that comes out of this whole fiasco, other than to promote Tom Reynolds’ agenda.

But I suppose that was the point. 

Irish add commitment from CB Donte Vaughn

Donte Vaughn

Notre Dame’s recruiting class grew on Monday. And in adding 6-foot-3 Memphis cornerback Donte Vaughn, it grew considerably.

The Irish added another jumbo-sized skill player in Vaughn, beating out a slew of SEC offers for the intriguing cover man. Vaughn picked Notre Dame over offers from Auburn, LSU, Miami, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Tennessee and Texas A&M among others.

He made the announcement on Monday, his 18th birthday:

It remains to be seen if Vaughn can run like a true cornerback. But his length certainly gives him a skill-set that doesn’t currently exist on the Notre Dame roster.

Interestingly enough, Vaughn’s commitment comes a cycle after Brian VanGorder made news by going after out-of-profile coverman Shaun Crawford, immediately offering the 5-foot-9 cornerback after taking over for Bob Diaco, who passed because of Crawford’s size. An ACL injury cut short Crawford’s freshman season before it got started, but not before Crawford already proved he’ll be a valuable piece of the Irish secondary for years to come.

Vaughn is another freaky athlete in a class that already features British Columbia’s Chase Claypool. With a safety depth chart that’s likely turning over quite a bit in the next two seasons, Vaughn can clearly shift over if that’s needed, though Notre Dame adding length like Vaughn clearly points to some of the shifting trends after Richard Sherman went from an average wide receiver to one of the best cornerbacks in football, and Vaughn will be asked to play on the outside.

Vaughn is the 15th member of Notre Dame’s 2016 signing class. He is the fifth defensive back, joining safeties D.J. Morgan, Jalen Elliott and Spencer Perry along with cornerback Julian Love. The Irish project to take one more.

With Notre Dame expecting another huge recruiting weekend with USC coming to town, it’ll be very interesting to see how the Irish staff close out this recruiting class.




Days before facing Notre Dame, USC coach Steve Sarkisian to take leave of absence


When Notre Dame takes on rival USC on Saturday, they’ll be facing a Trojans team without a head coach. USC athletic director Pat Haden announced today that effective immediately, head coach Steve Sarkisian will be taking an indefinite leave of absence. Offensive coordinator Clay Helton will be interim head coach.

While the details are still coming into focus, multiple reports point to another incident with alcohol. Haden himself said that he made the decision after speaking with Sarkisian.

“I called Steve and talked to him. It was very clear to me that he is not healthy. I asked him to take an indefinite leave of absence,” Haden said, according to multiple Los Angeles media reports.

Sarkisian’s decision-making and alcohol use came into the spotlight this August when the head coach made inappropriate statements at a large booster event. Sarkisian addressed the media after the incident, acknowledged mixing medication with alcohol, and vowed to seek help and not to make the same mistake again.

Today’s incident appears to be a relapse, and one that requires immediate attention. Helton ran the team’s practice today and steps back into an interim head coaching role, a job he handled after the Trojans fired Lane Kiffin and Ed Orgeron left after not being awarded the permanent job.

“Fortunately or unfortunately, I have been in this situation before,” Helton said. “Once again, I’m very fortunate to have a group of first-class kids that are extremely talented and want to do something special here.”

This is the second major sports persona to leave his season to seek treatment in recent weeks. New York Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia left the team to seek treatment for alcohol issues. The Trojans are coming off an upset loss to Washington on Thursday night, losing 17-12 as a 17-point favorite.