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Notre Dame LB Te’Von Coney pleads guilty to marijuana possession

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Notre Dame linebacker Te’Von Coney on Tuesday pleaded guilty to marijuana possession as part of a case stemming back to 2016. Coney was one of five Irish players arrested on Aug. 19, 2016, when an Indiana State Police trooper made a traffic stop for speeding and discovered marijuana and an unregistered handgun in the car. Notre Dame safety Max Redfield, wideout Kevin Stepherson, cornerback Ashton White and running back Dexter Williams were also arrested.

Through a plea deal, Coney was sentenced to 363 days of probation and had a 180-day jail sentenced suspended down to time served.

White, Redfield and Stepherson were either booted from the team or transferred, while Coney and Williams have gone on to shine in South Bend. Williams rushed 39 times for 360 yards and four touchdowns last season and is expected to split starting duties this fall, while Coney was Notre Dame’s leading tackler a year ago, collecting 116 stops and 12.5 TFLs.

A Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., native, Coney’s plea is not expected to impact his status on the team. Irish head coach Brian Kelly said earlier this month he expected Coney, who is taking summer classes at Notre Dame right now, to play this fall “if he takes care of it (the court case) in the manner I expect him to.”

Brian Kelly calls out, lashes out at Irish players lacking ‘fire and grit’

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If you thought the Notre Dame coaching staff, specifically the defensive side of the ball, would be publicly held accountable by the head coach, you’d be dead wrong.

Following a 38-35 home loss to Duke that featured a blown 14-0 lead and fourth-quarter defensive shrinking, Brian Kelly decided instead to lash out against those players listed as first-teamers on his depth chart.  Most notably, starting quarterback DeShone Kizer was singled out after a performance that included 381 yards passing and 60 yards rushing was labeled by Kelly as “below standard” and “not acceptable” thanks to a pair of turnovers.

Aside from the longsnapper, though, Kizer wasn’t alone in feeling his head coach’s postgame wrath.

Every position, all 22 of them, will be evaluated. Each and every position. There is no position that is untouchable on this football team. And that’s the quarterback, all the way down to — maybe the long snapper’s OK. We’re not going to touch him. But everybody else is vulnerable. …

“Guys that have fire and grit [will be on the field] — we had one guy in the entire football team that had emotion and fire. That is [running back] Dexter Williams. He’s the only one. He’s the only one that I saw. One guy.

“So, if you want to play for me moving forward, you better — I don’t care what your résumé says, I don’t care if you were a five-star [recruit], if you had 100 tackles or 80 receptions or 30 touchdown passes — you better have some damn fire and energy in you. We lack it. We lack it. Severely.

I’ve never coached above the high school level so I could be wrong here, but isn’t it the responsibility of the coaching staff to get their players ready to play, to show “some damn fire and energy?”  And, if that doesn’t happen and if they “lack it” — “severely” — shouldn’t the coaching staff, the head coach specifically, shoulder that failure instead of publicly throwing their players under the bus?

Unlike the players, though, one person who won’t see the undercarriage of said bus, apparently, is defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder.

In falling to 1-3 on the year, the Irish’s defense has been a significant part of the problem.  In each of the three losses, the Domers gave up at least 36 points, leading Kelly to give what could’ve been a dreaded vote of confidence earlier in the week.

Even after the 94th-ranked scoring offense in the country hung 38 on the Irish, and that same lacking offense marched down the field on a back-breaking 10-play drive that resulted in what turned out to be a game-winning field goal with 1:24 remaining, Kelly steadfastly stood by his defensive man.  In fact, Kelly was decidedly pleased with that side of the ball — the coaching side, that is.

“Actually, that’s probably the one area that I feel better about today,” Kelly said of his defensive coaches’ efforts. “We did what I wanted today in terms of coaching. And coaching had nothing to do with the outcome today. I was pleased from that perspective.”

UPDATED 12:04 a.m. ET: I would be remiss if I didn’t include the following note from the Notre Dame sports information department.

Asked the reason for the lack of energy, Kelly said, “I must be doing a poor job. I’ve got to do a better job of finding out what those things are that are putting our football team in that position.

Notre Dame dismisses one arrested player, suspends another

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The fallout from a pair of incidents earlier in the weekend has slammed headfirst into a pair of Notre Dame football players, one in particular.

In as strongly a worded statement as you’ll ever see from a head coach, Brian Kelly announced that senior safety Max Redfield has been dismissed from the Irish football program.  Additionally, cornerback Devin Butler has been indefinitely suspended.

Butler was arrested on charges of battery to law enforcement and resisting law enforcement after an incident outside of a drinking establishment just off the South Bend school’s campus.  A probable cause affidavit stated that “a police officer said the player punched and slammed him to the ground outside a bar.”

Redfield was one of five Irish players arrested and charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana in an incident Friday night.  Additionally, he was charged with one count each of possession of a handgun without a license.

The other four players involved in the Redfield incident, sophomore linebacker Te’von Coney, sophomore running back Dexter Williams, redshirt freshman cornerback Ashton White and freshman receiver Kevin Stepherson, “will be subject to disciplinary measures internal to the football program,” Kelly stated. In addition to the weed charges, Stepherson and Williams were also charged with one count each of possession of a handgun without a license.

Below is Kelly’s statement, in its entirety.

During the past 24 hours, I have met with each of the members of our team involved in the two incidents that occurred over the weekend, reviewed the evidence available to me, and consulted with others involved in the leadership of our team and the University. That process has only served to deepen my disappointment in the poor decisions made by these young men. Their conduct fell far short of what we expect from those who represent our football team and this great university.

On the basis of my review, I have decided to dismiss Max Redfield from our football team and place Devin Butler on indefinite suspension. The other individuals, while not being separated from the team, will be subject to disciplinary measures internal to the football program.

In making this announcement it is important to stress that all of the players involved in these two incidents remain subject to justice system and University discipline, and those processes could yet impact their standing with the University and the team. At Notre Dame, where we place so much importance on the integration of students who are athletes into the broader university, the primary responsibility for discipline lies, as it should, with the University’s Office of Community Standards. But even within that system, there are times when a player’s conduct so clearly fails to meet the standards I have set for our football team that it is appropriate to take action independent of any decision that might be made by the Office of Community Standards. This is such an instance. The expectations we set for the members of our team are high, but they are especially so for the upperclassmen who are expected to provide leadership and a positive example to the other members of the team. Max and, at least at this stage in the review of his case, Devin, have failed in that regard and so have lost the privilege of continuing to be part of our team.

A two-year starter for the Irish, Redfield was fourth on the team in tackles last season.  He was expected to start again in 2016.

Butler has played in 37 games his first three seasons with the Irish. He started two games in 2014 and the regular-season finale in 2015. He was projected as a starting corner exiting the spring before a foot injury in mid-June was expected to sideline him for up to four months.

Six Notre Dame football players arrested overnight

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Suffice to say, Friday night was not a good night for the Notre Dame football program.  Or Saturday morning, for that matter.

In two separate incidents overnight, six Notre Dame football players were arrested on various charges.  In one, five players, senior safety Max Redfield, sophomore linebacker Te’von Coney, sophomore running back Dexter Williams, redshirt freshman cornerback Ashton White and freshman receiver Kevin Stepherson, were arrested about an hour from South Bend and charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana.  Additionally, Redfield, Stepherson and Williams were charged with one count each of possession of a handgun without a license.

But wait, there’s more.

Senior cornerback Devin Butler was arrested early Saturday morning on charges of battery to law enforcement and resisting law enforcement. Those charges are felonies.

The incident, the details of which aren’t yet available, happened at a bar just off campus.

“Any student arrested on a felony charge also faces dismissal from the university,” an ND spokesperson said in a statement. “The university will determine if additional sanctions should apply to any or all of the students charged.”

Butler has played in 37 games his first three seasons with the Irish. He started two games in 2014 and the regular-season finale in 2015. He was projected as a starting corner exiting the spring before a foot injury in mid-June was expected to sideline him for up to four months.

The most noteworthy of the remaining arrested ones is Redfield (pictured).  A two-year starter for the Irish, Redfield was fourth on the team in tackles last season.

The status of all six players for the opener against Texas Sept. 3 and beyond is still to be determined.

Irish RB C.J. Prosise latest to leave early for NFL

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Notre Dame already knew it would need to replace an All-American offensive lineman who was leaving school early. Now, one of the players for which Ronnie Stanley cleared holes is moving on as well.

On Instagram Saturday, C.J. Prosise announced that he will be leaving the Irish a year early in order to make himself available for the April NFL draft. The running back’s decision, which has been expected given his talent and the position he plays, comes one day after Notre Dame closed out its season with a loss to Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl.

It also came a couple of days after he confirmed that he had received a grade from the NFL’s draft advisory committee, but declined to reveal the result.

After rushing for just 126 yards combined the previous two seasons, the converted wide receiver broke out as a redshirt junior in 2015 in leading the Irish with 1,031 yards and 11 touchdowns. Those totals were tied for 57th and 46th nationally, respectively, although those numbers are somewhat skewed by the fact that he recorded no statistics in two of the final three regular season games as well as essentially the entire bowl game because of ankle and concussion issues.

One area that will likely catch the eyes of NFL scouts, besides his speed, is his pass-catching ability as he was fifth on the Irish in receptions (26) and receiving yards (308).

Despite Prosise’s early departure, the Golden Domers should be more than fine in the backfield.

Tarean Folston, the team’s leading rusher in 2014, is expected to be fully healthy after sustaining a knee injury in the season opener and missing the remainder of the 2015 season.  Josh Adams, second on the team with a school freshman record 835 yards and a team-leading 7.1 yards per carry, returns, as does fellow freshman Dexter Williams (81 yards on 21 carries). The Irish also have commitments from a pair of touted 2016 running back prospects, Tony Jones. Jr. and Deon McIntosh.