Clausen injured, will it matter?

Leave a comment

During yesterday’s player press conferences, Jimmy Clausen made the pretty obvious revelation that he’s not 100 percent. Then, he made a little bit of news by revealing that he might not be 100 percent for the rest of the season.

“It’s just a nagging injury,” Clausen said. “I don’t think I’ll be healthy until the end of the season or after the season. Next week is going to be big for me just getting my rest and resting my toe as much as I can.”

The statement itself made news. It was featured at all the mainstream sports websites around the net, and surely sounds as if it’s a injury situation that could affect the Irish as the season rolls along. But in all reality, will it?

I’m no doctor (and I haven’t stayed at a Holiday Inn Express for almost a year), but knowing Clausen’s roll in the Irish offense, and knowing the effect turf toe can have on an athlete, I’m not really all that worried about the situation. The biggest thing I wish people would’ve asked yesterday was if Clausen would be able to play under center. Somebody hinted at the question, asking if the Irish will operate more out of the shotgun now, and Clausen was pretty noncommittal.

“It really doesn’t matter,” Clausen responded. “When you’re out there playing you’ve got to run around, throw the ball. Obviously for me I’ve got to plant off my back foot when I’m throwing the ball, which I had a little difficulty last week and Saturday doing, but it’s getting better day by day, and that’s just how it is right now.”

Last week, Clausen’s foot injury took away the under-center game for the Irish, and forced Charlie Weis to keep Clausen back in the shotgun to ease the pain that happened when Clausen dropped back. But it also made running the ball harder, and created an awkward power running option when ND had to gain a tough yard. With Washington getting carved up last week for over 200 yards rushing from Stanford’s Toby Gerhart, you can bet the Irish will line up Clausen under center and a running back deep in the backfield and try to pound the rock. This will also open up some play-action passing chances, where Clausen might be at his best.

So while Clausen’s long-term injury prognosis might be something media members and Irish fans fret about, I’ll let Jimmy himself have the last word on his injured foot dilemma.
“To be honest,” Clausen said. “I’m not very mobile as it is, whether I’m healthy or not.”

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.