Notre Dame fans received some bad news on the injury front Tuesday when Charlie Weis announced that sophomore backup quarterback Dayne Crist tore his ACL in last weekend’s Washington State game and will miss the remainder of the season and likely beyond. Weis announced that Crist would be out for 4-6 months after he has surgery this Friday. The injury leaves Notre Dame with questions at the quarterback position this season and more so in 2010.
Here’s what Weis had to say about Crist’s injury.
Dayne does have a torn ACL. He’s going to get operated on Friday. Just talked to his mom about 11:00 o’clock beforehand to go over plans. He’ll be out about four to six months. That’s how long the recovery is. Fortunately there’s not a lot of other things wrong, but that needs to be done, and it’s going to be done and we’ll have it done this Friday.
And here’s what he said about their plans at the position for the rest of the season.
For depth chart purposes, Sharpley moves up to two, and John Goodman will be practicing as a slash guy. As of today he’ll be working at both quarterback and wide receiver. Not because you guys are at the first three individuals today, but the first three individuals today he will only be at quarterback to knock off some of the rust. He will be — it’s not just for your doing. Once you guys leave, he’s actually flipping back to wide receiver. But we’re starting training him as our fourth quarterback. He really won’t be getting any reps there, because Sharpley needs to get all the reps we can give him to have him ready to go.
As far as having Crist for spring ball, Weis said that he doesn’t expect to have him for the spring.
I don’t think he’ll be taking — I really don’t know the answer on the low end versus the back end. I know one thing that we will definitely be conservative, because the whole deal, you know, is having him full go for August. That is really the bottom line. Whatever we have to do to have him full go for August, that’s what we’ll do.
With an experienced #3 quarterback on the depth chart in Evan Sharpley this doesn’t put the Irish in a major bind in terms of the success of the team in 2009, but in terms of 2010 and the development of Crist, this is a major blow for the Irish. Weis had been hoping to get Crist more and more snaps down the stretch to get him ready to take over should Jimmy Clausen leave for the NFL after this season – a scenario that looks more and more likely with each good game for the junior quarterback.
Should Clausen decide to leave for the NFL after the end of this season, Notre Dame will head into Spring Football without a scholarship quarterback. That not only slows the development of Crist, it slows the development of the entire passing game since the young receivers won’t have the extra 15 practices to work on their timing with Crist. Of course this is all a moot point should Jimmy Clausen decide to return for his senior season, but with a lot of juniors expected to enter the draft this year before a rookie salary cap is able to be put in place combined with Clausen’s stellar season that is anything but a sure thing at this point.
Goodman was a high school quarterback and should be able to fill in as needed, but his future is at wide receiver and having to potentially spend the spring at quarterback would also slow down his development at wide receiver. Goodman has been flashing a lot of potential over the last few weeks and looks like he could be an impact player at receiver for the Irish in the near future.
For a point of reference, Carson Palmer tore his ACL in the playoffs a few years back and was ready for the start of the season. Donovan McNabb tore his ACL a few years back in the middle of November and was ready for the pre-season the following season. Both of these quarterbacks however are professional athletes who could focus all of their efforts on their rehabilitation. Crist will have to work his rehab around his studies. Both quarterbacks were also well established signal callers with excellent understanding of their offenses. Crist will just be adapting to the starting quarterback role if Clausen leaves for the NFL.
Assuming practice starts the first week of August for fall camp, Crist will have had about 8 1/2 months of rehab time. That should be enough time for him to be ready for fall camp, but most athletes say that they don’t fell fully back until the year following an ACL injury.
We’re only 3/4 of the way through the 2009 season and it looks like Notre Dame already suffered its first major injury for the 2010 season.