Notebook: Joseph doubtful for ND, and catching up on the Jurkovec saga


SOUTH BEND, Ind. – On every depth chart Boston College has issued since the Eagles started as quarterback Phil Jurkovec was sidelined indefinitely on October 29, the former Notre Dame QB is listed as the starter.

Again, that’s the third time this week as Jurkovec fights back from a concussion, a knee injury and a back injury. On Wednesday BC coach Jeff Haley suggested there is a chance the fifth-year senior could face his former team in some capacity, at Notre Dame Stadium on Saturday, which is Senior Day for the 18th-ranked Irish (7-3).

Kickoff is 2:30 PM EST (NBC) as the Irish look to extend their November and ACC regular season win streaks to 19 and 28 games, respectively.



Those close to the program believe redshirt freshmen Emmet Moreheadwho caused a 21-20 upset of then 16th ranked NC State on the road last Saturday and a near upset of Duke the week before as a starter, would and will be the QB leading BC (3-7) against the Irish.

Boston College was 0-25 in last 25 ranked team matchups heading toward the Wolfpack turnaround in Raleigh, NC

Closer to a certainty is who won’t defend whoever plays QB for the Eagles on Saturday – and a prolific wide receiver Zay flowersthe latter 10th nationally in receipts per game (6.7) and tied for fifth in WL catches (10).

Notre Dame carriage Marcus Freemanduring his Thursday weekly Zoom with the media, indicated that the start is safe Brandon Joseph has been demoted to questionable for the regular season home finals.

Joseph, a former All-American at Northwestern, also missed Navy’s 35-32 survival last Saturday after suffering a high ankle sprain on Nov. 5 against Clemson. Linebacker Jack Kiser (only) is listed as probable and linebacker and leading tackler JD Bertrand (groin), who missed the Navy game, is back to 100%, according to Freeman.

For those who like to play the what-if game with Jurkovec, here’s a very unscientific comparison that doesn’t take into account supporting casts, strength of schedules, etc.: Jurkovec’s 2020-22 cumulative pass rate at BC is 132.71.

The cumulative pass efficiency ratings for Notre Dame’s quarterbacks in their starts in the same timeline (Ian book, Jack Koan, Tyler Buchner and Drew Paine) is 155.18.

Jurkovec is ND’s highest rated QB recruit (Rivals No. 87 in 2018) since BRandon Wimbush (No. 60) in the 2015 cycle. It is the third highest since Jimmy Clausen was No. 1 in 2007 (Shooter Kiel in 2012 was No. 20).

Jurkovec has a sixth-year option to play at BC or elsewhere. due to the COVID waiver if he chooses to exercise it before 2023.

Former Notre Dame offensive coordinator Chip long is generally seen as one of the main reasons Jurkovec left after the 2019 season, his sophomore year, even though Long was fired in early December.

The BC QB apparently wasn’t too enamored with the then-Irish head coach Brian Kellyor when he decided to switch.

“I was disappointed by some things when I was there,” Jurkovec told the Boston Globe’s Trevor Hass in August. “The football team and the culture is not what people think it is. I’ve met a lot of great people. They do a lot of good in the world. It’s a mixed bag. I’m glad I went there and I’m glad I went left.

Jurkovec said Kelly met his parents, who told the coach their son was struggling.

“Kelly basically lied to their face about what he would do, how he would talk to me and explain things about the future,” Jurkovec said. “He actually lied to my parents, so they were done with him after that.”

Jurkovec and Boston College faced the Irish the following fall in an empty stadium in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, during the height of COVID-19, with Notre Dame emerging victorious, 45-31.

Tommy Rees was ND’s quarterbacks coach when Jurkovec was with ND, adding the title of offensive coordinator shortly after the QB left.

“I was bummed when he left, to be honest,” said Rees, who has kept in touch since Jurkovec was transferred. “We wanted to try and keep him around. I thought we’d keep him around.

“I was happy to see him succeed there early on. It’s been a tough road with some injuries and things going on, but there are no bad feelings on our part.”

Boston College quarterback Phil Jurkovec (5) faced his former Notre Dame teammates in 2020. (Brian Fluharty, USA TODAY Sports Network)

More staff updates

• Quarter back Tyler Buchner, has resumed practicing on a limited basis. The sophomore started the season as Irish QB1 before losing to Marshall on September 10 ND.

“Tyler Buchner does some individual stuff, he doesn’t wear pads and stuff like that,” Freeman said, “but he participates in parts of the training.” And then he does some rehab in other parts of the practice as well.

• Junior nose guard Aidan Keanaaina is back practicing with the team, mostly on the scout team, as he gets back into shape after an ACL tear he suffered in mid-March.

“Do I think Aidan is 100%?” said Freeman. “Probably not yet, but he helped us to get a good idea of ​​the scout team. … He’s a man I could see trying to help us during the bowl game.

• Sophomore year tight end Reed Berrong has not played a game since October 9, 2021, but he started practicing again 13 months ago after a long rehabilitation for a torn cruciate ligament.

“He’s gotten reps with the offense and some special teams reps,” Freeman said, “and he’s doing really well. He’s pretty much back.”

• Sophomore linebacker Will Schweitzer has not played a game yet this season and will not play the rest of the game. Freeman said the 6-4, 225-pounder underwent an undisclosed medical procedure last month.

“We’ll see, maybe after this season, if he’s free and where he stands,” Freeman said.

• Freshman cornerback Jayden Bellamywho has yet to play this season has not practiced lately because he is on concussion protocol, according to Freeman.

Embrace chaos

Sixth year offensive guard Josh Lugg is the answer to a trivia question: who is the only active player on the Notre Dame football roster to ever suffer an Irish football loss in November?

In fact, Lugg has been through it twice — a 41-8 blowout at Miami in 2017 and a 38-20 loss on the road to Stanford two weeks later.

Since then it has been 18 consecutive wins in November for the Irish, five of them against ranked teams.

“It’s a huge tribute to everyone in the program, from players to our off-season strength staff, the kind of training they put us through,” Lugg said earlier this week. “We literally have a ‘win in November’ training theme.”

This year’s theme? Chaos.

“(Football Performance Director Matt) Balis and the crew comes up with something that’s meant to be challenging. Lugg said. “It’s when guys get bumped and bruised. They may not be feeling their best, but they understand the importance of being their best on command.”

ND senior receiver Braden Lenzy takes the ball off the back of Navy cornerback Mbiti Williams Jr.  for a TD reception of 38 meters.

ND senior receiver Braden Lenzy takes the ball off the back of Navy cornerback Mbiti Williams Jr. for a TD reception of 38 meters. (Terrance Williams, Associated Press)

Get a grip

Grad senior wide receiver Brad Lenzy said Balis masterminded his spectacular 38-yard TD reception, pinning the ball on a Navy defender’s back and then grabbing it to complete the catch.

“When it landed I didn’t have a good grip on it,” he said. “I had more grip with my right than with my left. All I really tried to do was readjust my grip. Once I felt my right hand had a decent grip, I basically pulled it away with my right hand.

A reporter joked that it probably wasn’t something he worked on much with Balis, ND’s director of football performance.

“We actually do a lot of grip strength,” he said.

To Tobias Merriweather

Growing pains early in the year and a concussion more recently have a limited wide receiver for freshmen Tobias Merriweather odds and his production (one catch for 41 yards and a TD in six games), but apparently it hasn’t tarnished his potential, according to grad senior Brad Lenzy.

“I love Tobias,” he said. “Young puppy. He’s been really good. Wise beyond his age. Great intellect. You can see his background, where he comes from, his family is smart and raised him well.

“Specifically for football, extremely hardworking, very long built. Everyone in the country would want a man like that. He’s probably the prototypical kind of deep threat. I have high expectations of him. He has shown everyone here that he is ready to play at this level.

“It sucks to watch him go through the concussion protocol because I’ve been there before. I give him that advice. ‘Be smart. Do it right. When you’re ready, we’ll be there and stop it.”

“It’s one of those things where you don’t want to be that soft dude, but it’s nothing to joke about. He is aware of that. He knows. This culture is not a rush culture. They want to make sure he is healthy. He will come back. When he comes back, you will see a monster.”

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The Valley Voice
The Valley Voice
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.


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