Camp of Champs notebook

McCarthy close to return: After suffering a season-ending knee injury with the Kansas City Chiefs last July, Cardinal Mooney/Notre Dame graduate Kyle McCarthy expects to be cleared to return in a little more than a week. “Once that happens, I look forward to letting teams know and hopefully get myself in a camp somewhere and turn some heads,” he said. Famed surgeon Dr. James Andrews performed the surgery — McCarthy’s third in the last two years — and he’s been rehabbing at Andrews’ facility in Florida. “I’ve had all the help in the world through the different teams I’ve been with and from people in this community and outside the community,” said McCarthy, who also suffered a season-ending knee injury as a rookie safety with the Broncos in 2010. “It’s really just up to me know. There’s no doubt I’ll get an opportunity somewhere. Through the years I’ve formed some pretty good relationships with different teams and coaches and that goes a long way. The drive is still there. I feel I can still play and I really just love the game.”

Positive about playoff: Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, a Mooney graduate, said he likes the new college football playoff but is taking a wait-and-see approach. “I like the idea of it and where it’s going, so I think it’s a good move overall,” he said. “We’ll just have to see how it plays out.” His brother Mike, the Sooners’ defensive coordinator, thinks strength of schedule should play a big role in choosing the four teams. “It’s not any one game, it’s playing tough teams week in and week out that [defines teams],” he said. “It’s difficult to win them all.” Mike Stoops said while Oklahoma is replacing a three-year starter at quarterback in Landry Jones, the expectations haven’t changed. “If we can get better in a couple areas, we’re going to have a really solid team,” he said. “We’re expected at Oklahoma to compete for championships.”

This and that: Former YSU standout Tim Johnson, who played linebacker for the Ravens, Bears and Raiders from 2001-06, is back living in Austintown and expects to complete his general studies/communications degree in December. “Then I can get Coach [Jim] Tressel off my back,” he said, laughing. ... The Camp of Champions continues from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. today at Mooney. ... After missing the playoffs in 2002 — the camp’s first year — Mooney made the playoffs every season from 2003-11.

Joe Scalzo

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