By TOM COYNE
AP Sports Writer
SOUTH BEND -- Evan Sharpley or Jimmy Clausen? Coach Charlie Weis isn't sure who will start for Notre Dame against Air Force on Saturday.
"We haven't practiced yet, but they're both in the running," Weis said at his weekly news conference Tuesday.
Weis didn't specify when he would decide on a starter for Notre Dame (1-8), but hinted it would likely be Wednesday because he doesn't want to divide the first-team snaps evenly between the two all week.
Both could play against Air Force (7-3), although they won't play an equal amount of time.
"There will be one lead guy," he said.
Weis indicated immediately after Notre Dame's 46-44 loss in triple overtime to Navy on Saturday that he expected Sharpley to remain the starter. But after watching the game film Sunday he said he wasn't sure who would start.
Clausen, the first Notre Dame quarterback in at least 56 years to start his second game as a freshman, started the next six games before he was replaced for the past two by Sharpley. Demetrius Jones, who has since quit the team and transferred, started the opener.
Clausen has a better completion percentage than Sharpley, but Sharpley has been more productive. Clausen has completed 81-of-141 passes, a 57.4 completion rate, for 618 yards with five interceptions and one touchdown pass. Sharpley has completed 77-of-140 passes for 736 yards, a 55 percent completion rate, with three interceptions and five touchdowns.
Weis said he will start whoever looks better in practice.
"I think the No. 1 thing is: Who's going to play the best for you down the stretch?" Weis said. "I don't think what you want to be doing here is each week say, 'well, who's going to play the best for us against Air Force? Who's going to play the best for us against Duke? Who's going to play the best for us against Stanford?'
"I'm at the point right now where I want to win this game and simultaneously I want to start building some upward momentum. They go together," he said. "So the decision isn't as simple as, over the last half dozen weeks who's done what better. It's who gives you the best chance to win this week and the next two weeks and moving forward?"
Weis said at the time he made Sharpley the starter for the USC game he was doing so because Sharpley was steadily improving and because Clausen, who had been sacked 23 times, was banged up.
Clausen is getting healthier and Sharpley hasn't shown much improvement the past two games. Sharpley was 34-of-60 passing for 257 yards with one interception and two touchdown passes in his two starts. He was sacked nine times.
Weis has talked to them both.
"They know that when they've been in there things haven't gone great for either one of them," Weis said. "It isn't like either one of them is coming up there and saying, 'Hey, I've done a great job. It should be me.' They know that whatever we need to do to put the team in the best position to win, we'll do."
The possible change is just the latest in a series of moves Weis has made to try to shake the team up and turn the season around. He was asked Tuesday whether it was possible to run out of changes or make too many changes.
"It's funny because I asked that question myself of the staff this morning," he said. "But I think that you always have to keep on plugging along to try to help find a better answer. I might have been more dogmatic in the past, but I'm keeping on working toward finding a better answer. And I think that's what I'm going to keep on trying to do."