Jones' prep coach thinks sophomore in line to start ND opener

Who will be Notre Dame's starting quarterback in its 2007 opener? If you listen to Demetrius Jones' high school coach, it seems as if Charlie Weis has decided that the sophomore will be the one behind center against Georgia Tech on Saturday.

Lexie Spurlock told the Chicago Tribune on Thursday that the sophomore was taking the most first-team practice snaps, hinting that there must be a reason for the extra preparation

"Let's just say Demetrius is going to make everyone in Chicago proud," Spurlock said. "I would think anyone who is taking most of the snaps in practice would be the guy who starts.

"Coach Weis knows with the new offensive linemen, he needs a quarterback with the most escapability. That would be Demetrius."

But Weis wasn't tipping his hand just yet.

"Whether it was Demetrius' coach or any of the others guys' coach, they want their guys to be on the field making plays," Weis told the Tribune. "I would want them to want their guys to be the guy. I have no disrespect for any of the high school coaches, but they don't decide who plays, and they don't decide how much. I'm the only one who does that."

After a three-way competition between Jones, Evan Sharpley and Jimmy Clausen to replace Brady Quinn, Weis finally settled on a starter two weeks ago. Weis doesn't want his choice to be looking over his shoulder when he makes a mistake while acknowledging that the competition was close.

"Is one guy going to be there forever? Maybe," Weis said. "You're asking could two guys play this week? The answer to that is also maybe. The thing is I don't know the answers to all the questions at this point."

There are plenty of questions for the Fighting Irish in the season opener Saturday: What will the Irish offense look like? Will the Notre Dame defense, which has struggled mightily the past two seasons, play any better after switching from a 4-3 scheme to a 3-4 under new coordinator Corwin Brown?

Georgia Tech coach Chan Gailey says his team prepared to face two different offensive styles.

"When Jones is in there, you may end up with the option/quarterback run sprint-out game, whereas when the other two are in there you will end up with the traditional Charlie Weis offense. So I think that's been difficult for our defense to try to prepare for both of those types of offenses they may face," Gailey said. "I can't tell you the percentage of what it's going to be of each one. Not even sure they know."

He's right. Weis isn't sure either. It all depends on how things go. But keeping Tech guessing wasn't the only reason Weis remained silent. He also was trying to keep the pressure off Quinn's successor.

"Why would you want to anoint someone a few weeks ago and have them be living under a microscope of being the Notre Dame quarterback before they've ever even played a down?" he said.

Instead all three were swarmed by the media each time they were made available. Jones seemed the most at ease but acknowledged the pressure the new quarterback will face.

"Everybody knows how prestigious the Notre Dame quarterback is. There's one thing everybody in the country is going to know, they're going to know who the president of the United States is and they're going to know who the quarterback of Notre Dame is," he said.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.