posted 8 years ago
Jimmy Clausen is starting to get it.
At first it came in flashes - a well-thrown ball here, a perfectly-timed pass there - and then it was gone. Now, those flashes have become quarters, halves, and soon, if the progression continues, Notre Dame's starting quarterback will start to put together complete games.
Slowly, Clausen is becoming the quarterback that graced the cover of every recruiting magazine in 2007. He feels defensive pressure before he's sees it and he's avoiding the sacks. He's anticipating his receiver's routes, and he's putting the ball where only they can catch it. He's moving around the pocket, calling audibles, doing all the things a good quarterback should and he's leading his team to wins.
"I feel comfortable in what we're doing right now, confident, and I think the rest of the offense does," Clausen said. "You know, when the rest of the offense is confident, you know, I think things are going to go well. We've just got to keep practicing hard and keep getting that confidence up and keep doing what we're doing."
That confidence has been a long time coming for Clausen, who struggled mightily last season as a freshman and the team suffered right along with him. He was criticized, scrutinized and, as the team went into a losing spiral, he was even ostracized. He grew up in the huddle and it was that disastrous experience last season that coach Charlie Weis now credits for Notre Dame's success this year.
"I'm glad I'm not going through the growing experience right now," Weis said. "There's no way, there's not a chance in the world that we would be 4-1 if he wouldn't have played last year."