NCF Nation: Eric Maust

Posted by's Brian Bennett

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Quick review of the first half at Notre Dame Stadium, where USC leads the Fighting Irish 13-7.

Best call: Notre Dame's fake field goal in the first quarter. USC never saw Robby Parris hiding on the sideline, and holder Eric Maust passed to him for a 25-yard gain. The Irish scored their only touchdown on the next play.

Stat of the half: The Irish have just 121 total yards, including only 47 passing yards by Jimmy Clausen.

What Notre Dame needs to do: Give Clausen more time. The Notre Dame offensive line has had trouble slowing down four- and even three-man rushes from USC. Clausen has little opportunity and even fewer open targets.

What USC needs to do: Other than being more alert for fake field goals, USC needs to run the ball more effectively. The Trojans have broken off some big runs with Joe McKnight and Allen Bradford, but they've gotten stretched out when they near the red zone. They need to keep pounding Notre Dame in those situations to set up the play-action pass for Matt Barkley.
Posted by's Brian Bennett

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- This may be the most telling moment of the game thus far: Jimmy Clausen just got sacked, even though USC rushed only three and dropped nine men into coverage.

It doesn't look like Notre Dame's offensive line has improved all that much right now. USC is overpowering the Irish front, and doing it without having to bring pressure. If the Trojans can keep doing that and are able to blanket the Notre Dame receivers, Clausen is going to have a long day.

Right now, Clausen has fewer passing yards (25) than holder Eric Maust (he got 25 on that fake field goal)
Posted by's Brian Bennett

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- I said before the game that Notre Dame would probably need a big special teams play.

Well, the Irish got one, on a great fake field goal call by Charlie Weis. Holder Eric Maust threw to a wide-open Robby Parris on the sideline, as USC never saw Parris. He got to the 2, and Robert Hughes punched it in to tie the score, 7-7.

Weis is emptying the playbook today, as well he should. The crowd is back into it, big time.

Posted by's Brian Bennett

Notre Dame star receiver Michael Floyd left Saturday's Michigan game with about six minutes left after suffering a cut on his leg. The cut required 15 stitches, and Floyd did not return.

Matt Cashore/US Presswire
Michael Floyd, who suffered a gash requiring 15 stitches against the Wolverines, should be ready to go against Michigan State.
Head coach Charlie Weis said Tuesday that there are no lingering issues with the injury, and he expects Floyd to be full go for this Saturday's important home game against Michigan State.

"We'll just try to keep the cut from opening up this week," Weis said. "He's from Minnesota, so we gave him the hockey analogy, that if you get 15 stitches in a hockey game, you're usually out about five minutes and you're back in there. But he's going around pretty good."

Fullback James Aldridge (shoulder) remains doubtful for the game against the Spartans, while tailback Armando Allen, who was dealing with a thigh injury, should "be just fine," Weis said.

As for putting the painful 38-34 loss to Michigan behind them, Weis said more players than usual showed up to the football complex on the team's off day to watch film and meet with their positions. That made him feel good that the players had decided "to quit feeling sorry for themselves and get to work," he said.

One area that needs work is the defensive line. Weis hinted at personnel changes after the Michigan loss, when the Wolverines often found big running lanes up the middle. He gave no specifics about those changes today.

"There's definitely a plan in place," he said. "But it's something I wouldn't want to elaborate too much on."

Weis was also asked about the punting situation after Eric Maust had a couple of shaky kicks against Michigan, including a 28-yarder that gave the Wolverines great field position for their winning drive. Weis said the punting competition is revisited each week, but that so far Maust has outperformed freshman Ben Turk in practice.