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Football Notbook: Weis unsure of next week’s starting QB

Chris Doyen | Monday, October 15, 2007

Irish coach Charlie Weis said Sunday he hasn’t determined a starting quarterback for Notre Dame’s game against USC next Saturday.

Junior Evan Sharpley has guided the offense better than freshman Jimmy Clausen in limited opportunities since an all-around woeful performance against Georgia Tech. But, Weis said, Sharpley has not performed as well as Clausen in practices.

Clausen became the starter after Notre Dame’s 33-3 loss to the Yellow Jackets on Sept. 1. When he announced Clausen as the starter, Weis said the touted freshman gave the team the best chance to win. Now, he’s reevaluating the situation.

“I’ll let you know on Tuesday,” Weis said Sunday. “That’s the fairest answer I can give right now.

“At this point, I’ve watched the game a couple times, but I haven’t watched it with the offensive staff yet. So I don’t do those things before we’ve gotten together. I’ll certainly let you know where I am on Tuesday.”

Carufel leaves team

Irish sophomore guard Matt Carufel has left the program and withdrawn from the University, Weis announced in an e-mail to media late Sunday.

Carufel, a starting guard, had left the team for personal reasons last week. He traveled home to Forest Lake, Minn., where he mulled his future.

On Sunday afternoon, Weis said he was planning on speaking to Carufel Sunday night and would announce what Carufel intended to do whenever it became clear. That happened sooner, rather than later.

“I spoke via telephone with Matt Carufel Sunday evening and he informed me that he was going to leave the team and withdraw from the University of Notre Dame,” Weis said in a statement. “I appreciate all Matt has done for Notre Dame and wish him nothing but the best.”

Career highs

Notre Dame has completed nine passed for over 20 yards this season, and sophomore wide out Robby Parris has caught five of them. Parris finished the game with two catches of over 20 yards – a 26-yard reception in the second quarter and a 28-yard grab in the third.

Parris’s 94 receiving yards was a career high, narrowly eclipsing the 93 yards he racked up against Purdue on Sept. 29.

The sophomore also caught the first touchdown of his career on a 19-yard pass from Sharpley.

“[Parris is] a smooth receiver that runs good routes, not a burner, but he runs good routes and he has good hands, and you can see that he’ll be playing here for the next few years and just keeps on getting better and better,” Weis said. “But he’s a big target with good hand and runs good routes. He’s the type of player that will always find a role on this team.”

Fresh Faces

Guard Eric Olsen and wide receiver Duval Kamara each made their first career starts, becoming the 21st and 22nd players to make their first starts for the Irish in 2007.

Kamara started because wide receiver David Grimes was injured, and Olsen started in place of Carufel.

Injury bug

Sophomore tailback James Aldridge recorded the 100th carry of his career before leaving the game with an unspecified leg or foot injury.

Weis said Aldridge left the locker room on his own power, without the aid of crutches, but would be further evaluated by team doctors.

Aldridge carried five times for 17 yards. Freshmen Armando Allen and Robert Hughes received the bulk of carries after Aldridge was injured.

Senior middle linebacker Maurice Crum, Jr., played only in brief spurts for the first 10 minutes of the game. Crum was suffering from turf toe since Notre Dame’s win over UCLA a week ago and could not put sufficient pressure on his foot to operate at 100 percent. Weis said Sunday Crum is questionable for the USC game.

Pick 6

Irish linebacker Brian Smith became the fourth freshman to return an interception for a touchdown for Notre Dame and the first since Sept. 25, 1976, when Bobby Leopold returned an interception 57 yards for a touchdown during a 48-0 victory over Northwestern.

Close series

Boston College has now won five straight in the series, including three in a row at Notre Dame Stadium. The current record stands at 9-8 in favor of the Irish.