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Football: Weis says Clausen, Allen, Aldridge to be healthy for USC

Matt Gamber | Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The fact that Irish coach Charlie Weis can joke about injuries to two of his most important players is a good sign he isn’t too worried about quarterback Jimmy Clausen or running back Armando Allen missing any time.

Asked Tuesday if there was anything that could be done to aid Clausen and Allen, who are battling toe and ankle injuries, respectively, in getting around campus on a daily basis, Weis’ response indicated that all signs point to a healthy, uninhibited backfield when the Trojans come to town Oct. 17.

“We’ve had guys [in the past] that have ridden those little carts that you ride around in the grocery store,” Weis said. “But I think right now those two guys would just be [using] them to race, not because they needed them.”

Weis did note Clausen’s preference to wear a walking boot around campus – but he inserted a wisecrack on that point as well.

“It’s like a security blanket,” Weis said of the boot. “It takes complete pressure off of his toe, and it gets all the people to say ‘oh Jimmy.’ So he kind of likes that.”

Weis’ initial plan for Clausen this week was to rest him as much as possible to take advantage of Saturday’s open date in preparation for the matchup with USC. But Weis said his signal-caller told him he wanted to practice Wednesday after sitting out Tuesday’s drills.

“He’s actually requested to practice because he doesn’t want to hold off until Monday without going,” Weis said. “He asked to go tomorrow, so he’ll end up practicing for at least the first half of practice [Wednesday].”

While the bye week affords Notre Dame’s regular starters opportunities for light practices and extended recovery time, it also gives the Irish a chance to get back to hard-hitting drills in an effort to improve basic skills.

“[We’re] stressing not only fundamentals but also physicality, tackling, blocking, cutting – all those things,” Weis said. “I’ll be interested when I watch this tape because there’s a lot of banging going on there for the last 45 minutes.”

As for other injury updates, fullback James Aldridge should also be ready for the USC game, Weis said. The senior has been out since the season-opening victory over Nevada with a shoulder injury.

“He actually practiced full-go here for the first time [Tuesday],” Weis said. “It was the first time he’s been exposed to using those shoulders and everything. It didn’t look like there were any side effects of what he just went through in practice.”

Junior backup kicker Brandon Walker and freshman reserve tight end Tyler Eifert are both battling back injuries and aren’t close to returning, Weis said. Walker “wouldn’t be able to kick good enough to even consider putting him on the field at this time,” Weis said, and Eifert is likely done for the year in a move that will both protect his health and preserve a year of eligibility.

Weis also said sophomore backup linebackers Anthony McDonald and David Posluszny were “groggy” and would not return to the practice field until passing a standard cognitive test.

Note:

-Freshmen who have seen game action will be available to the media Wednesday for the first time since the regular season began. Check out The Observer’s Thursday and Friday editions for stories on several of Notre Dame’s top newcomers.