- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 11, 2004

The Washington Redskins were bracing last night for the possible departure of defensive line coach Greg Blache, who is among the apparent finalists to coach Notre Dame, two sources with knowledge of the situation said yesterday.

Blache interviewed with school officials in recent days and, based on Notre Dame’s subsequent inquiries around Redskin Park, seemed to make a solid impression, sources said.

A decision among Blache, Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Tom Clements and New England Patriots offensive coordinator Charlie Weis could come as soon as today.

Meanwhile, Redskins linebacker LaVar Arrington essentially was ruled out for tomorrow’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles. Although his surgically repaired knee reacted well to this week’s return to practice, club officials determined they didn’t want to rush the three-time Pro Bowl pick back from a 10-game absence.

Clements and Weis are the Notre Dame candidates getting the most national attention, but sources at Redskin Park said Blache appears to be getting strong consideration. In fact, the Redskins were beginning to consider who might replace Blache, who has done a phenomenal job with the club’s injury-riddled defensive line.

Despite the lengthy absence of starting right end Phillip Daniels and other injuries, the Redskins’ line has been outstanding. No-names such as Ron Warner, Demetric Evans and Ryan Boschetti are contributing, one reason the group has begun calling itself the Coal Miners. Washington is yielding just 3.1 yards per rush, by far the best clip in the NFL.

Blache, Clements and Weis all fulfill Notre Dame’s wish to stay within the Irish family for the school’s next coach. Blache played for Notre Dame in the late 1960s and joined the staff after a leg injury ended his playing career. He was an Irish assistant coach from 1972 to 1975 and again from 1981 to 1983.

It was unclear how much weight Blache’s minority status carries. Tyrone Willingham’s firing from Notre Dame left just two black head coaches in Division I-A. Blache, at times in recent years a high-profile minority candidate, is the only black among the Irish’s known finalists.

Blache declined comment when asked about Notre Dame. He smiled broadly and replied, “Where did you hear that? You know more information than I do.”

Arrington didn’t participate in yesterday’s light practice even though his knee responded well to Thursday’s full-pads practice. He seemed irritated that he would have to wait at least one more week to play, offering only brief answers as he exited the practice field.

Asked whether he wouldn’t play, he replied, “That’s what it looks like.”

As to whether coaches had held him out of practice, he said, “You have to ask them.”

Club officials explained that it simply didn’t make sense to risk further injury with Arrington already having missed so much time.

“We’re trying to do what’s best for the team, and we’re trying to do what’s best for LaVar,” director of sports medicine Bubba Tyer said. “There was a concern that having him only practice [two] days and then having him play in a game, maybe that’s not quite fair to him — as bad as he wants to play, and as mad as he may be.”

The plan is to have Arrington practice more intensely and extensively next week and then see whether he’s ready for a game. Linebackers coach Dale Lindsey said it was unrealistic for Arrington to see any action against the Eagles after such a long layoff.

“I told him, ‘Not only do you have to get into conditioning shape, but you have to get into hitting shape,’” Lindsey said. “You only do that by hitting somebody. And he’s not ready for that now either.”

Notes — Running back Clinton Portis and safety Sean Taylor were fined $5,000 apiece for wearing red socks instead of the required white socks last weekend against the New York Giants. Taylor also received a $7,500 fine for his late hit on quarterback Eli Manning, marking his first fine for a personal foul despite penalties in the past three games. …

Wide receiver Laveranues Coles (toe) returned to practice and will play against the Eagles. Offensive lineman Jim Molinaro returned from an illness but H-back Mike Sellers sat out with one. However, Sellers also is expected to play. …

Defensive tackle Brandon Noble, who has played in all 12 games this year after suffering a devastating knee injury in the 2003 preseason, was the Redskins’ winner of the Ed Block Courage Award. Winners from all 32 teams will be honored at a banquet in the Baltimore area next spring.

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