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Football: Twists and Turns

Sam Werner | Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Injured quarterback Jimmy Clausen’s MRI Monday came back negative Irish coach Charlie Weis said Tuesday. Weis expects the junior to play against Purdue Saturday.

“I’ll probably hold him from practice today,” Weis said. “So what I’ll do today is I’ll give Dayne [Crist] the majority of the reps, and I’m going to give [Evan] Sharpley some reps too to knock off a little bit of the rust on him.”

Junior running back Armando Allen also suffered a foot injury Saturday, tweaking his right ankle.

“The [practice] pattern for him is going be very similar [to Clausen],” Weis said. “Hold him today. He’s got a little bit of an ankle. If he went out there today, he wouldn’t be full speed. (I’ll) give the other running backs the reps today and build him up to be full-go by game time.”

One injured running back who Weis did not expect to return Saturday, though, was senior fullback James Aldridge. Aldridge hurt his shoulder in the season opener against Nevada and has not played since.

“I think what I’m planning on doing, even though he wants to try to play this week and try to play next week, I’m leaning more toward holding him this week and next week so that I get a full three weeks,” Weis said. “With the bye week coming up after that and having him ready for whoever we play after the bye.”

Sophomore wide receiver Michael Floyd’s season-ending surgery Monday to repair a broken clavicle was the biggest injury news of the week. Tuesday, Weis said Floyd has been handling his situation with as much maturity as one could expect from a sophomore.

“He thinks he is a coach now,” Weis said with a laugh. “He’s accepted this role. He’s dealing with it [and] I think he’s going to be a great asset for us because he’s into the game. He’s just not one of those guys who is in the tank because he’s hurt.”

The new depth chart currently lists senior Robby Parris and junior Duval Kamara as co-starters at Floyd’s old “Z” wide receiver position. Junior Golden Tate is still listed the starter on the opposite side, but sophomore Deion Walker has moved up to second behind Tate, along with freshman Shaq Evans.

“Both those guys bring something different to the table,” Weis said. “Deion’s a little bit more experienced. Shaq is very explosive. They know that now is the time. It’s not practice squad, it’s not a show team any more.”

Weis also spoke Tuesday about his plans to improve the defense, which has given up a combined 64 points over the past two games since shutting out the Wolf Pack.

“I think that when you start giving up some yardage to some plays, like was happening in the last couple games in particular, you start losing some confidence,” Weis said. “Not necessarily in the scheme or your teammates, but just on your own play making ability. So I think the number one thing I’m going to work on today, and the coaches are going to follow my lead, is making sure we start getting back to playing with some confidence.”