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September 4, 2001
Davie Still Coy About QBs; Jones Ready, But Iffy
By The IrishEyes.Com NewsService
NOTRE DAME, Ind. (IE) – Tuesday is showdown day in more ways than one for some of Bob Davie's Irish.
Tailback Julius Jones, who has missed practice for several weeks, including both scrimmages, supposedly is ready to go full speed in pads on Tuesday. He worked out in light drills on Monday.
And Davie says he is still not ready to name a No. 2 quarterback. By taking the tack he is, is Davie preparing to play more than Matt LoVecchio against the Huskers on Saturday?. Or, is he just playing it coy, forcing the Huskers to prepare their defense for a Carlyle Holiday appearance as well as for LoVecchio?
That's one question only time—a short time—will tell.
As for Jones, he minimizes the lost time due to a sore groin. The only way to get information these days on Irish injuries is from Davie, and according to what Davie has been saying, Jones has been out at least a couple of weeks.
"It got a little tight on me. I didn't want to pull it so that set me back a little bit," Jones said after Monday's practice in shoulder pads and shorts. "I've done quite a bit of work, but not as much as I've wanted to. I'm ready."
Davie wants to see the rest of the week's performance before he pronounces Jones totally fit.
"Julius is just now getting back into it," Davie said. "He just didn't cut it loose. He didn't cut it loose and go full speed, yet. It's good having him back out there, but we'll know as the week goes on."
Even though the Irish are deep at tailback with Tony Fisher and Terrance Howard hopefully set for breakout years, Jones is key to the Irish plans. He was one of the nation's best kick returners last season and one of the reasons for the Irish stellar special teams play. In addition to the injury time lost during camp, Jones also lost all of spring practice for disciplinary reasons.
"It's really disappointing," Jones said of the lost time. "I've got to get past it. I'm fine now and I'll be ready."
In regard to his quarterbacks, Davie is coy. All along, he has said that LoVecchio is his starter going into Nebraska. Early in pre-season practice, he said he wanted to designate a No. 1 quarterback, but he changed his mind and never did.
Now, as the Irish prepare for taking on the 2-0 Huskers, Davie still isn't tipping his hand, and says game conditions may dictate whether he plays a second quarterback and who it will be—Holiday or Jared Clark.
"It's too early to say for sure," Davie responded when asked about the backups to LoVecchio. "I think the [game] situation could dictate some of that. We're not going to make any hard plans or any hard statements about what we're going to do.
"We're going to see how this week transpires and do what we have to do Saturday night. There's not going to be any big announcements about what we're going to do with the quarterbacks.
"LoVecchio gets a little more (reps) and the other two about the same."
Davie also hasn't made a decision yet about the starting cornerback opposite Shane Walton. Clifford Jefferson, Jason Beckstrom, who missed much of last season with a shoulder injury, and sophomore Vontez Duff, one of the fastest players on the team, are all vying for the starting role.
Earlier, Davie said Beckstrom appeared to have the nod for the starting role; but Davie hasn't been so certain in recent comments. "It's going to be a game-time decision," Davie said. "All three of those players are going to play in the game. It's too close to call. You're going to see four or five corners in this football game."
Meanwhile in the offensive line, it looks like Sean Milligan has beaten back the bid of converted tackle John Teasdale to open at guard. Teasdale missed spring drills to rehab from shoulder surgery, and those problems persisted in the pre-season camp.
Milligan has a chronic knee problem, but will start at guard with Sean Mahan. Teasdale will see playing time, however, Davie said.