Pete DiPrimio, sports columnist and college beat writer for The News-Sentinel of Fort Wayne, Ind., takes his best shots on the world of Notre Dame football.

Thursday, September 20

For Notre Dame, Give Jones a Release, Beat Spartans

If Charlie Weis were smart, he’d do everything he could to ensure Demetrius Jones gets his release from Notre Dame so that the transfer to Northern Illinois won’t have any long-term negative recruiting implications, especially in the talent-rich Chicago area that produced Jones.

Yes, Jones could have handled it a lot better. But he’s young and admittedly immature and felt he was jerked around and treated unfairly. Which he probably was. So he decided to pay Weis back, and made himself look bad in the process.

It also didn't help Weis' suddenly vulnerable image. The guy could use all the friends he can get these days, especially if one of those friends develops into superstar offensively lineman in the years ahead.

For now, Weis says he’s not part of any official release decision. He did say he talked with Jones Monday night. Weis and an assistant coach finally tracked Jones down after Jones didn’t return his phone call.

“I said, let’s run him down and get this over with,” Weis said. “Am I supposed to chase him down? The right thing would be for him to call me.”

Weis described the conversation as “cordial.” “We cleared up what was going on. He said he’s moved on. I wished him well and that was about it.”

Weis said he would have considered moving Jones to another position if Jones was receptive. That never happened.

“I told him when we were recruiting him that we were recruiting him as a quarterback. If he wanted to play another position, that wasn’t a problem. I told him I’d never lie to him. I didn’t want to bring him here to make him a safety.

“He could have played another position, but that’s not what he wanted to do.”

The Irish, of course, have more pressing matters than a guy who’s no longer part of the program. Beating Michigan State Saturday is huge. It would finally be a reward after three weeks of misery, and show the return-to-training camp approach was a good idea.

But if Notre Dame gets smashed again, to make it six straight lopsided losses and the first 0-4 start in school history, well, who knows how much more misery awaits.


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