In an article by Bob Sakamoto of the Chicago Tribune, Demetrius Jones' old coach, Lexie Spurlock of Morgan Park High School, shared his insight into the three-man competition at Notre Dame. Jones played four years under Spurlock and by the time of his senior season was named, along with six other quarterbacks, to the Parade All-American team. The Chicago, IL native is in a race to start on Saturday with junior Evan Sharpley and freshman Jimmy Clausen.
According to the article by Sakamoto, Spurlock spoke to Jones on Thursday morning. The Morgan Park head coach wouldn't go into full details of what the conversation entailed but had some interesting quotes.
"Let's just say Demetrius is going to make everyone in Chicago proud," Spurlock to told the Chicago Tribune. "I would think anyone who is taking most of the snaps in practice would be the guy who starts."
For the record, Weis has not named a starting quarterback for Saturday. On Thursday after practice, the Notre Dame head coach brushed aside Spurlock's comments.
"I haven't spoken with Demetrius's high school coach," Weis said. "I have not talked to him. I'm the one who decides how many snaps a guy plays. Therefore, I have no comment. Tell him said hello when I talk to him."
Spurlock went on to say in the Chicago Tribune article that Jones's scrambling ability, coupled with a young offensive line, would help escape from oncoming defenders. Georgia Tech, under defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta, is known to blitz early and often. Jones is considered the most athletic of the three quarterbacks and can hurt teams with his arm and legs. Clausen is more the classic drop back signal caller while Sharpley is a blend of both. Weis made it clear that final decisions, especially at the quarterback position, are made by one person: him.
"Whether it's Demetrius's coach or somebody else's coach, they want their guys on the field making plays," Weis said. "I would want them to have their guy be the guy. I would want that. I have no disrespect for any of those high school coaches who coach those guys but they don't who plays and they don't decide how much. I'm the only one that does that."
Weis has been criticized by a few national columnists for being so secretive about the quarterback competition. The Notre Dame head coach made it clear in the first week of fall camp that he wouldn't name a starter before the Yellow Jackets contest. Georgia Tech has had to prepare for three quarterbacks, instead of just one if Weis had announced a decision earlier. The detractors of the move have said it's silly to keep it under wraps.
Weis, in addition to making the Yellow Jackets prepare for three different types of signal callers, also wanted to take the heat and pressure off the group. The three quarterbacks have big shoes to fill in replacing Brady Quinn. The expectations, whoever the starter is, will be high. Weis wanted the media spotlight on his decision, not the three in competition to start.
"Everyone sits there and says, 'Weis is an idiot,'" Weis said. "In the meantime, it's not on them. It's allowed them to be a lot looser in their preparation, which to me was very, very important."
***Weis confirmed that defensive coordinator Corwin Brown will be on the field on Saturday afternoon, as the media notes handed out on Tuesday indicated. This will be Brown's first time calling the defensive plays. Notre Dame will employ a 3-4 personnel scheme against Georgia Tech, a contrast from last season's base 4-3. Weis thinks Brown's energy level is too great to keep contained in the press box.
"I need his enthusiasm," Weis said. "I think our defensive players feed off of his enthusiasm. Although you can always see the game better in the press box, you never cut down the importance of the enthusiasm at that position, which definitely has."