Notre Dame's Clausen hopes watching will help him improve Print
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Tuesday, 23 October 2007 12:28
NCAAF Headline News

 SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) -Jimmy Clausen is learning how much he doesn't know.
When coach Charlie Weis allowed Clausen to be interviewed by reporters for the first time in August, the freshman quarterback said it took him only a practice or two in the spring to adjust to the speed of the college game. Meeting with reporters Tuesday, Clausen acknowledged the biggest challenge for him now is adjusting to the speed.
It is one of the reasons why the highly touted freshman from Westlake, Calif., went from starting six straight games for the Irish (1-7) to watching from the sidelines Saturday as Notre Dame was beaten 38-0 by ninth-ranked USC. Weis said adjusting to game speed is one of the hardest things for freshmen to grasp.
``That is an abstract people don't understand. But when things start slowing down, when the players can start seeing things happening, that is usually when good things start to happen,'' Weis said.
Watching from the sideline often helps, Weis said. Instead of having to watch everything, a player can watch for specifics, such as what coverage the defense is using, how it is blitzing or what its tendencies are. It should help once Clausen gets back on the field, Weis said.
Weis talked with Clausen about that as they walked off the field Saturday.
``What I said to him is, 'If you ever want to be a good quarterback, how much it slows down when you're on the sideline, that's how slow it's got to be when you're playing because that's what the great quarterbacks do,'' Weis said. ``They see everything happening before it happens.''
Clausen believes watching was helpful. But Clausen, who led his high school team to 42 straight wins as a three-year starter, wasn't ready to say that being on the sideline was a good thing.
``It's hard because every guy on the team wants to play, especially if you're the quarterback of the team and lead the team and stuff like that,'' Clausen said. ``But whatever role the coaches want me to play, I'm going to play that role and be happy with it.''
Clausen has been receiving advice regularly from his two older brothers, Casey and Rick, who both played quarterback at Tennessee. He said they tell him: ``Everything is going to work out like it's supposed to, just take the experience in and everything will get better.''
Clausen struggled his last start, completing 7-of-20 passes for 60 yards against Boston College. He was pulled after his first pass of the second half was intercepted and set up the Eagles' third touchdown en route to a 27-14 victory. For the season, Clausen is 81-of-141 passing for 618 yards with one touchdown and five interceptions.
Weis said Evan Sharpley, who started last week against USC, would likely start again when Notre Dame plays Navy on Nov. 3 following a bye week. Weis said he didn't think it would be fair if Sharpley only got one chance to start.
Another reason Weis cited for not starting Clausen against USC, who has been sacked 23 times this season, was because he was banged up. Clausen said Tuesday he's still ``a little sore all over.''
He plans to head home after practice Wednesday and relax for a few days while Notre Dame is on fall break.
The Irish are 1-7 for just the second time in school history and the poor start has been hard on everybody. But Clausen said the team has stuck together and is working to improve.
``It's not the way everyone wanted it to be. But this is how it is,'' he said. ``We have to move forward and win these next four games.''
 

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