|Ryan flying high with No. 4 Eagles while Clausen learning with Irish|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 11 October 2007 12:15|
While Boston College (6-0) has depended on Ryan to lead them to their best start in 65 years, the Irish (1-5) have tried to avoid depending too heavily on Clausen while he learns, but have still matched the worst start in school history.
Ryan, a fifth-year senior, has the fourth-ranked Eagles at their highest since Doug Flutie won the Heisman Trophy in 1984. Boston College is 11th in the country in passing offense, averaging 314 yards a game, and Ryan could possibly follow Flutie to a Heisman win.
Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis sees a little of Tom Brady and Brady Quinn, two quarterbacks he's coached, in the way Ryan reads coverages and finds open receivers.
``They don't have like one star in their pass game because he involves everybody,'' Weis said.
Ryan is 160-of-255 passing for 1,857 yards with 15 touchdowns and five interceptions.
``For me it's just trying to get the ball out of my hands and into their hands and allow them to make plays,'' Ryan said.
Ryan is 20-4 as a starter and has passed for 400 yards three times, including against Wake Forest and Georgia Tech this season.
``He's one of those guys who elevates everybody's play around him,'' BC coach Jeff Jagodzinski said.
Although Ryan didn't arrive at BC with a lot of accolades, he always had confidence in himself.
``I always thought I was capable of playing at a high level,'' he said.
He has grown into his position. He didn't play as a freshman. In 2004, he started the season finale against Syracuse because Paul Peterson had a broken hand. Ryan claimed the starter's job late in the 2005 season and has steadily improved since.
``I think the more experience you have and the more times you're on the field the better off you are as a quarterback,'' he said.
Clausen is gaining that experience now - and some of it is coming the hard way. He has not been eased into the position, starting his second game. He's been hit often - something he didn't face in high school - and has struggled at times.
``Any quarterback at this level on up gets banged around,'' Weis said. ``Being able to hang in there physically as well mentally, there's a definite change from when you can stand back there and just pick people apart.''
Clausen is 74-of-121 passing for 558 yards and his 97.66 efficiency rating doesn't put him among the top 100 quarterbacks.
``I think anytime that you play that position, regardless of what level you're playing on, as a true freshman, there's things he has not seen, there's things that are happening fast, the adjustments you have to make. But I'm sure he's going to be a really good quarterback at Notre Dame,'' Jagodzinski said.
Last week Clausen passed for just 84 yards in Notre Dame's 20-6 win over UCLA. His longest was for 15 yards.
``I think that is part of a development of a quarterback when they realize it's not about your stats, it's about the team winning,'' he said.
At the same time, Weis knows the Irish can't afford to play conservatively against BC, which is third in the nation against the run at 50 yards a game.
``This isn't like I'm giving away any big secret. It's not like we're going to go in with three tight ends and run the ball inside the whole game,'' he said. ``We're going to have to score some points to win.''
When it comes to a Notre Dame quarterback who has one career TD pass vs. a BC quarterback who has 40, that may not be good for the Irish.