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.


Sheldon Day drafted in 4th round by Jaguars

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Former Notre Dame captain Sheldon Day didn’t have to wait long on Saturday to hear his name called. The Indianapolis native, All-American, and the Irish’s two-time defensive lineman of the year was pick number 103, the fourth pick of the fourth round on Saturday afternoon.

Day was the seventh Irish player drafted, following first rounders Ronnie Stanley and Will Fuller, second round selections Jaylon Smith and Nick Martin, and third rounders KeiVarae Russell and C.J. Prosise.

Day has a chance to contribute as he joins the 24th-ranked defense in the league. Joining a draft class heavy on defensive players—Jalen Ramsey, Myles Jack and Yannick Ngakoue already picked ahead of him—the front seven will also include last year’s No. 3 overall pick Dante Fowler, who missed the entire season with a knee injury.

Scouted by the Jaguars at the Senior Bowl, Day doesn’t necessarily have the size to be a traditional defensive tackle. But under Gus Bradley’s attacking system (Bradley coordinated the Seahawks defense for four seasons), Day will find a niche and a role in a young defense that’s seen a heavy investment the past two years.

Smith, Martin, Russell and Prosise all drafted Friday night

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - SEPTEMBER 13: William Fuller #7 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Nick Martin #72 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish celebrate a touchdown during the game against the Purdue Boilermakers at Lucas Oil Stadium on September 13, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

Jaylon Smith, Nick Martin, KeiVarae Russell and C.J. Prosise were all selected on Friday, with four Irish teammates taken on the second night of the NFL Draft. As mentioned, Smith came off the board at pick 34, with the Cowboys gambling on the injured knee of the Butkus Award winner. Nick Martin was selected at pick 50, joining former teammate Will Fuller in Houston.

The third round saw Russell and Prosise come off the board, with Kansas City jumping on the confident cornerback and the Seahawks taking Notre Dame’s breakout running back. It capped off a huge night for the Irish with Sheldon Day, one of the more productive football players in college football, still on the board for teams to pick.

Here’s a smattering of instant reactions from the immediate aftermath.



Jaylon Smith goes to Dallas with 34th pick

PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 07:  Jaylon Smith #9 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish celebrates by wearing the hat of team mascot, Lucky The Leprechaun, following their 42-30 win against the Pittsburgh Panthers at Heinz Field on November 7, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Jaylon Smith’s nightmare is over.

After watching his football life thrown into chaos with a career-altering knee injury, Smith came off the board after just two picks in the second round, selected by the Dallas Cowboys with the 34th pick. His selection ended the most challenging months of Smith’s young life, and come after cashing in a significant tax-free, loss-of-value insurance policy that’ll end up being just shy of a million dollars.

No, it’s not top-five money like Smith could’ve expected if he didn’t get hurt. But Smith isn’t expected to play in 2016.

And while there was a pre-draft fascination that focused on the doom and gloom more than the time-consuming recovery, it’s worth pointing out that Dallas’ medical evaluation comes from the source—literally. After all, it was the Cowboys team doctor, Dr. Dan Cooper, who performed the surgery to repair Smith’s knee.

Smith joins Ezekiel Elliott with the Cowboys, arguably the two best position players in the draft. While he might not be available in 2016, Smith will be under the supervision of the Cowboys’ medical staff, paid a seven-figure salary to get healthy with the hopes that he’ll be back to his All-American self sooner than later, especially as the nerve in his knee returns to full functionality.

Will Fuller brings his game-changing skills to the Texans offense

PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 07: Will Fuller #7 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish catches a pass before running into the endzone for a touchdown in the second quarter in front of Avonte Maddox #14 of the Pittsburgh Panthers during the game at Heinz Field on November 7, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

In all the weeks and months leading up to the NFL Draft, one key tidbit linking Will Fuller to the Houston Texans never seemed to come up. The relationship between Brian Kelly and Bill O’Brien.

The two coaches share a high school alma mater, a friendship that made the due diligence on Notre Dame’s prolific playmaker easy. And it was clear that after all their research, Houston was aggressive in their pursuit of Fuller, trading up to make Notre Dame’s All-American the second receiver off the board, triggered a run at the position.

“He was a guy that we felt strongly about,” Texans general manager Rick Smith told the team’s official website. “We didn’t want to take a chance on not getting him. We were aggressive. We went and made the move.”

That move made Fuller’s decision to leave Notre Dame after three seasons a good one. While it’ll require the Irish to rebuild at a position where Fuller served as one of college football’s best home run hitters, it gives Houston a vertical threat that can extend the top of a defense for a Texans offense that was serious about finding some solutions for a team already in the playoff mix.

Yes, Fuller has work to do. Completing the easy catch is one big area. But for all the pre-draft talk about his limitations, Brian Kelly took on some of the criticism head-on when talking with the Texans’ media reporter.

“Some people have compared him to Teddy Ginn, that’s not fair. He can catch the ball vertically like nobody I’ve coached in 25 years,” Kelly said (a sentiment some hack also laid out). Teddy Ginn is a very good player, but this is a different kind of player. If you throw the ball deep, he’s going to catch the football.”

Fuller is never going to be the biggest receiver on the field. But while most of the banter on his game focused on the negative or his deep ball skills, expect Fuller to find a role not just running deep but unleashed in the screen game as well. After the Texans spent huge on quarterback Brock Osweiler and have invested in fellow Philadelphia native and 2015 third-round pick Jaelen Strong, Fuller wasn’t selected for the future but rather expected to be a day-one piece of the puzzle.

“This will change the speed on offense immediately,” Kelly said. “It was not ‘Hey, let’s wait a couple of years’. It was ‘Let’s go get this right now’ and I think Will will do that for them.”