Thursday updates from CW

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Coach Weis met with the media and gave a few updates as the team prepares for Navy. Here are some highlights:

* Eric Maust is back at starting punter. Even if Maust shanked balls all week at practice, he still should be giving the shot out there, as Ben Turk has to be close to going Ray Finkle on someone, and he doesn’t even have a holder to blame.

* John Goodman has some work to do before he’s ready to play quarterback.

“Rusty. By next Thursday at the end of practice, I want him to be able to go into the huddle and call the play and at least be able to take the snap and hand it off. He was a little rusty. He thinks he can sling it all over the yard, of course, but my number one thing would be for him to run the operation. We took baby steps this week and, after the first day, we had to start getting him more prepared to play receiver than quarterback. The goal for next week will be for him to go in and finish a game, if we needed to put him in there.”

As they say in What About Bob, Baby steps, John. Baby steps.

* Michael Floyd is good to go and as many of us suspected not made of glass.

“We put him in a couple of blocking situations just to see if he would put his hands in there, and he did. He hit the ground multiple times in the week. We weren’t being stupid, but enough that he got those initial shocks out of the way. He’s got fresh legs. He’s had a month and a half where he hasn’t taken the beat down that everyone else has. So he looks very spry.”

I expect the Irish to roll out some wide and/or empty sets with Clausen back in the shotgun just to remind everyone how explosive the Irish offense will be with Floyd back opposite Tate.

* As for injuries, expect another week without Armando Allen. It also sounds like Trevor Robinson will probably dress, but Weis will do whatever he can to not play Trevor, and Dan Wegner will probably get the snaps in his place. As for Jimmy’s turf toe, Weis got a chuckle at the expense of his star quarterback.

“Jimmy’s fine,” Weis said with a laugh. “What day of the week did you talk with Jimmy? What I’m saying is, whatever day it was will tell you what pain level he had that day. He’s fine and moved around well today. He’s not going to run a 4.5 forty on Saturday either, but he’ll be just fine to run the operation.”

Weis punted later on a question regarding Jimmy’s potential move to the NFL, reiterating again that he and the Clausen family will meet in December to talk about it.

* Charlie also had time to watch the Yankees clinch the World Series in Game Six. When asked if he’s buddies with anyone wearing the pinstripes, Weis mentioned a few friendships.

“I probably know the general manager the best, Cashman. As a player, I would say Jeter. He’s always good with Charlie. He’s so much like Tommy. (As in Tom Brady…) That’s where the relationship started, when Tommy told Jeter to take care of me when I went down there, so he kind of goes out of his way to be nice. A-Rod does, too. These guys are all college football junkies. It’s kind of nice, and this was their moment. I was happy for them.”

That Tom Brady sounds like a good guy to be friends with… I’ve heard he runs in pretty good circles with the females, too.


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.