April 19, 2008
Head Coach Charlie Weis
Q. What are your overall impressions, things that you can tangibly take out of this game and into the off season?
COACH WEIS: There were a lot of good things that came out of the game. Obviously, we’ve been running the ball better. The offensive line is more physical. Jimmy’s got good zip on the ball. Wish he would have caught a few more of them.
A couple of those sacks really were not really fair to the offense, because a couple of the sacks were guys that were being cut, imaginary. But they went ahead and brought it on anyway. So that’s why you saw Jimmy getting mad. Because the lineman would say, Cut, and the defensive lineman was supposed to pull off, and they decided they weren’t going to pull off.
So we had a couple of tough starts out there today. Okay, but obviously, he can sling it. What I’m disappointed about was some of the drops of the day, but I like the physicality on offense. What I liked the most on defense is in the first half things didn’t go as well for them, and they came out at halftime. See, there’s both sides of the fence here. You know you come out in the second half, and the offense is flat, and the defense, you know, regains the momentum. Then they make the charge, and Harrison makes a game changing play.
I think probably the only real disappointment out of this game right here was you’re trying to coach emotion, and you saw a lack of composure at the same time, and it was a few times. You know, one you didn’t notice as much in the first half, but they would have called an unsportsmanlike on Robert Hughes on that touchdown when he flipped the ball in the air. So now when you score a touchdown, you’re kicking from the 15, because they would have called an unsportsmanlike conduct. They didn’t call it at the time, but they would have called it in the game.
I went over to the official, and said, Would you have called an unsportsmanlike? And he said, Yeah, I would have called it there. Early in the third quarter, you have three guys involved. As usual, the first guy involved, his name isn’t even involved in the penalty, so you’ve got three guys involved.
So the first guy pushes one guy. Okay, he doesn’t get anything. The next guy throws a punch, and another guy defends him, and both of those guys would have gotten thrown out of the game.
So let’s go over that sequence for a second. The offensive guy starts it, he doesn’t get caught. The defensive guy throws the punch, so now, you’ve just scored a touchdown, which is a game changing momentum play, but now you’re kicking off on the 15 yard line.
Okay, let’s flip it again. Now the offensive guys even things out. So now you’re going to get the ball with good field position, now you’re letting them kick the ball back off the 30 yard line again.
So I think in the game, probably, the things that annoyed me a little bit were probably the most were little slow start to the second half offensively, obviously. But just as importantly, you know, you’re trying to play with emotion, but you also have to have composure.
Q. After the Harrison Smith
COACH WEIS: Let me finish right here, and I’ll come to you.
Q. Just a quick follow up. Parris and Wade nicked?
COACH WEIS: Yeah, they were both nicked earlier in the week. So, it was one of those ones where game time they could have gone out there and run around. But I just felt at this time that the guys running around at the end of the week, it was better for both of those guys just to hold them both.
I think that if we were playing the last game of the year and it was, you know, it was a significant game, I think both of them would have ended up going out there and trying to go. Okay, go ahead.
Q. I was going to ask you, what would you call that after the Harrison Smith touchdown? A skirmish, a dust up?
COACH WEIS: I call it a happy moment watching one of my defensive players scoring a touchdown on an interception. And a sad moment watching my quarterback throw an interception for a touchdown.
As far as everything else, what would I call it? A perfect example to teach. That’s what I would call it. That’s probably five minutes of what I talked about in there. That was a perfect example to teach the team about composure. I couldn’t have scripted the practice things that I couldn’t have scripted any better was that example and the score at the end of the game. You couldn’t have scripted those two things. You’ve got the game to be competitive right to the end of the game.
Q. As far as that mentality, you don’t want it to manifest in penalties or anybody getting kicked out of the game. Isn’t that what you’re building to though, kind of a nasty edge?
COACH WEIS: Absolutely. But I’m saying there is a fine line there. You’re trying to push them so they’re playing with emotion. You can play with emotion by parting with your own players. You don’t have to be talking trash to somebody else.
You do it in good fun, but still, the bottom line, is 15 yard penalties are 15 yard penalties. And ultimately, that responsibility, once again, comes back to me about making sure you’re teaching that fine line. You know, living on the edge can be dangerous sometimes.
Q. You have 15 consecutive rushing plays; was that scripted before the game?
COACH WEIS: No, it wasn’t scripted. They had some plays scripted before the start of the game. But I think that they want to come up and try to score a big one early. One of the things going into the game, we wanted to make sure all three of those running backs got at least ten carries. I think James might have come up with eight carries. Hold on a second. Well, he had six. Armando had 11, and Robert had 22.
What we wanted to do is make sure we ran the ball about 40 times. That’s how it turned out. So I didn’t care how they did it. They just wanted to do it where we got a heavy dose. I wanted to let the offensive line tee off. You can’t build physicality if you don’t let them tee off. That is one of the things we wanted to do today.
Q. Can you talk about the play of Robert Hughes?
COACH WEIS: I think Robert, good and bad. I mean, obviously, he’s a big, physical guy. Can read holes, knows how to cut, takes care of the football pretty well. I think the one thing we’ll have to work on is making sure he’s not running too high for me in this game.
I think when you’re 240 pounds, whatever, the higher you run, the more you’re giving the defense equalizers. You’re letting them get shots at you. I think you have to run with a little more forward leaning, get your pads down more. I think that’s what we’ll work on.
I think all three of these running backs can play. I don’t think there’s any question that you can put any of those three guys out there and you’d have a chance of winning in the game.
Q. Do they go into the fall season?
COACH WEIS: We intend to play those three guys. I don’t know how it’s going to play out. I don’t know if one guy’s getting half and the other guys are getting quarters. I don’t know how it’s going to play out.
But the best part about it is you’re not worrying about who is first. You’re really not worrying about it, because you’re going to play all three of them. They’re all going to end up playing, and they all know it. That’s a good thing. It isn’t like you’re really worrying about it. I think they all bring something different to the table, but they’re all really good football players.
Q. The hit Terrail Lambert on Armando Allen, can you talk about that and what a big defensive play?
COACH WEIS: I would have liked for Golden Tate to continue that block on that play, that would have lifted my spirits, too, because I thought it was a walking touchdown. But that’s what you have to do when you’re down close. That’s what you need to do.
You’re talking the one going in, right? Okay. That ball could have come out. I mean, that was a big time hit, a big, physical play. That’s the type of play you like to see from your corners and run fours and players like that.
Q. You talked about Jimmy and the zip on his ball. How about his managing the game and his being out there, more control?
COACH WEIS: Except for earlier in the third quarter when he had to call two timeouts and about the first six plays. You know, you could say whatever you want, but there is another example of teaching. You know, you’ve already burned two timeouts. We’ve played about 30 seconds. You know, we’ve already burned two timeouts in the second half.
So I like to save timeouts for critical situations. You know, you’d hate to think through clock management early in the second half that you had already put yourself in a bind.
Q. Your overall assessment coming out of the spring of the kicking game, and in particular, Brandon Walker?
COACH WEIS: Well, obviously you can see he’s a lot more confident. You know, even just probably his best kick of the day was probably the one he missed. You know, that’s the one he actually hit the best. I mean, it was a 46 yarder, and probably good from 56 yards.
He’s been more confident. And I’m glad that he did that with a crowd there. It’s a little different when you’re doing it in practice. But he’s shown he’s got plenty of leg. He’s just got to keep on putting them through the up rights.
Q. How do your level of expectations for Jimmy change from this point last year to now at the end of the spring?
COACH WEIS: At this point last year I knew that in a couple of days he was going to go get his elbow scoped. And it was going to be a recovery time, and it was going to be a while before he could get his arm strength up to be able to throw the ball.
It was really that whole quarterback situation was a little bit of a chaotic at the time, I’d have to say. You know, because nothing was really going as I scripted it. Whether it was Jimmy or any of the rest of the guys, because they’re all, a whole bunch of guys involved.
The one thing I’m walking out of spring right now because of how this all played out, you know, Evan’s hitting home runs. You know, Dane, he’s in high school, and Jimmy’s getting all the reps. That’s allowed him to start forming a chemistry and bonding with the receivers and allowed him to get more of a leadership role with the offensive linemen. Where you say come on, fellas, let’s get going. Making sure they’re not just moping around out there.
I’ve been very, very pleased with his progress, as well as his throwing. Just about his leadership skills at the quarterback position.
Q. Did Kamara have a foot inbound on the last play?
COACH WEIS: I was on the other sideline to tell you the truth. The ref called it in, so it was in. But was there a replay official there? I really don’t I couldn’t tell you whether it was in or not.
But I thought it was, you know, once again, you look for teaching lessons when we get to it. The game’s over. Defense has the game won. Now they give up a home run ball on 4th and 100 to Golden, and they get down there. Now it’s fourth down again, and throw a fade ball to the big guy. Whether he’s in or not, they called him in, so you end up losing.
I couldn’t tell you. But the offense will say yes. The defense will say no.
Q. How about the whole line, overall, do you like what you see there after 15 practices?
COACH WEIS: Well, they’re a lot bigger, and they’re a lot more physical. Both of those things are obviously true, you know, to anyone, you know, out there observing. The most important thing is now when you start going against other guys that are moving around and running different defensive schemes.
You know, hey, they’ve been tested this spring because there is a lot of stuff on defense that’s gotten thrown at them. But they’ve weathered that pretty well, and I think we talked about confidence when we first started the spring. I think the one position group whose confidence seems to be growing probably at a rapid pace is the offensive line.
Q. The captain’s vote was I’m sure a slam dunk for Crum. But can you talk about the voting for Bruton and Grimes?
COACH WEIS: There was a few other con tenders that got some votes in there. But in all three cases, these guys were clear winners. You know, they were clear winners. Like if it came down to it a guy was a vote difference, I would have seen that the offense or defense or special teams saw two guys as the guy. But in all three cases, you know, it was a clear winner.
Q. The composure element, is that still a sign of youth in some ways with Robert and Jimmy, or do you not look at it so much as a youth thing?
COACH WEIS: Well
Q. Just the composure.
COACH WEIS: It’s the whole team though. You’re saying one of the things we’ve been trying to work on all spring was I was not satisfied. There are games we played last year where our team came out and other teams are partying, having a good time, getting ready to go. Our team’s going out there like tin soldiers. For that, several times, I’m the first guy to sit there and take the blame.
So if you’re trying to change the mentality and trying to get them to have some fun out there and trying for them to be that way, there’s got to be some give and take. They have to know where the limits of that are. They have to know what your expectations of that are so they don’t do something foolish because you’re working on something, and it ends up biting you.
You have to be able to, you know, make sure you know the difference between enjoying yourself and partying out there, and having some fun and doing something that’s not very smart.
Q. So fun was stressed more throughout the spring? Have you guys stressed that?
COACH WEIS: Oh, no, we’re always trying to be miserable (laughing). There’s a fine line there, too. I think that the only way you’re having fun is when you’re making plays. Football’s only fun it’s not fun when you’re out there getting your butts kicked. That’s not fun, in case you’re wondering. You only have fun when you’re making plays. Making plays was the emphasis, and fun was a residual, positive effect that came with making plays.
Q. When you went out after the fight, was that kind of to sort things out?
COACH WEIS: No, I wanted to one by one make sure I got them all. As you guys haven’t seen me get both of the offensive guys, probably. The offensive guys have already gotten theirs. I saw what happened, so I watched the thing even though I was on the other sideline. So long before I walked over to the other side to speak to our young man on defense, I had already had nice conversations with our guys on offense.
Q. We saw it was Olsen, are you naming names on the other two?
COACH WEIS: I was just saying hello to Eric. I really was just asking him how things were. His dad and mom had brought me some bagels from Staten Island, I appreciated it. But, no. We’ll let it go.
Q. Jimmy’s pass late in the game, you talked about his zip. But is that a pass he can make a lot last year, the deep throw?
COACH WEIS: He could never make the throw last year. Not a lot of last year, he could never throw. Even at the end of the year he couldn’t make that throw. He couldn’t have thrown it that far.
Q. As far as David Bruton goes, has he made even more progress this spring?
COACH WEIS: Well, it really started back, I remember we had the conversation like the opening day. We talked about it like how guys in the off season had here’s a guy that his changes have already been significant. They weren’t weight, but they were always measurables. I don’t remember exactly what the measurables were I threw out. It was like a 41 inch vertical, and his body fat had dropped a couple of percent.
David Bruton is a really good football player. That’s why everyone when they talk about prospects to play past here, he’s the number one guy that they all talk about.
Q. As far as his mentality goes to be a gunner like in the past couple of years, is there a special type of mental thing that has to go on with that?
COACH WEIS: I think the play of gunner helped him develop on defense. He started making plays. He was a skinny little kid, and then as he started to grow and started making some plays there that started giving him some confidence. He started playing some safety, and next thing you know, they kind of meshed.
By the way, he’ll continue to be a gunner. Even though he’s our starting safety. You can write it. Pencil it down over on the right side, 27. He’ll be there. I’m giving away a secret. I don’t do that very often.
Q. Just to follow up on Hughes. You talked about pad level, has that been an issue with him?
COACH WEIS: Because he’s so big and physical, you can get away with that a lot of times. But all I’m saying is when you start going for real, the difference between maybe getting five yards and getting seven yards, you know, that subtle hidden yardage could just be the difference between running like this and running like that.
It might be a yard or two. But those yard or two add up as the game goes on. It might not be the difference between rushing for another 50 yards, but it might be another 20 yards. And instead of it 2nd and 5, it’s 2nd and 3. It’s something that we’ll continue to work on.
Q. And the burning of the timeouts by Clausen, there are times when it’s good and appropriate to use a timeout. Did he have a legitimate reason for making those two calls?
COACH WEIS: Well, one time the operation the second one, the operation was going late. And the first time it was a signal miscommunication. One signal was given, he thought it was something else. He thought one personnel group was supposed to be out there. It was the other personnel group out there. The play he thought was going to be run, could not be run with the personnel that was on the field. So there were two totally different situations that had happened.
Q. Can you just talk about the play of Harrison Smith today? How he’s adjusted to playing linebacker?
COACH WEIS: He’s not playing linebacker, actually. He’s playing a safety that we’re dropping down. That’s, as I said the other day, we have a couple of different packages. But one package, you saw Scott Smith playing a lot of the same position. We’re trying to get interchangeable parts so that we can play the same defense with what we call “base people” with linebackers with a big body like Scott Smith. Then play it with a smaller body that is more of a safety type like a Harrison Smith.
The reason why you do that is so when you’re matched up with all these teams that use multiple wide receivers, if you have a three safety defense out there, and they go ahead and spread you out, you’re already in position to play them. But all of a sudden, if you put a three wide receiver and they pack it in, now you don’t have to give up a lot of one back runs which we gave up last year.
There were a number of times last year where people were putting in multiple wide receivers and didn’t run the ball. Okay, so we got mismatched a little bit and Harrison Smith seems to be the guy that can answer a lot of those questions for you.
Q. Can you talk just a little about how you feel like spring is over now compared to a year ago?
Jimmy Clausen: I feel great. Just coming out of this spring, you just want to come in and get better each and every day. I think that’s what we did, and, you know, we accomplished our goal.
Q. What about your confidence level?
Jimmy Clausen: My confidence level, you know, it’s great right now. I’m just trying to get the timing down with the receivers, and, you know, get the offense ready to go for this year.
Q. How do you think you played?
Jimmy Clausen: I played all right. I could have done a lot of things better than I did. But we just wanted to come out and work hard and try to get better like we did all spring.
Q. What was going through your mind? It’s just a scrimmage, just a practice game. It’s kind of cool, you had an opportunity to win the game with a drive?
Jimmy Clausen: Oh, it was great. It was pretty much just like a game situation. In the fourth quarter, you know, we have to score to win. And, you know, Duval made a great catch, just threw it up there. That’s the kind of confidence we need to have on this team. You know, when we need a big play, Duval just said throw it up. I lit it up to him, and he went up and got it for me.
Q. How much better do you like to go through this as the starter, instead of one of three guys to be the starter. Not just today, but the whole week?
Jimmy Clausen: I wouldn’t say like it. But it feels good just going out there every day with the team and the guys and just trying to get better each day.
Q. Do you feel like this is your team, Jimmy, as far as from the quarterback position?
Jimmy Clausen: Yeah, I think so. When you’re a quarterback, and I think guys are looking up to you especially on the offense. I’m trying to help those guys in whatever way I can. I think I’m trying to do that right now.
Q. Coach said that the 57 yard pass on the last drive that you physically couldn’t have made that last season. Can you talk about your arm strength this time last year?
Jimmy Clausen: You know, I think you guys can see it out there for yourselves. You know, last year I wasn’t real healthy coming off the elbow surgery and being hurt throughout the season. You know, I feel great right now. I feel 100% back to where I’m supposed to be. And it’s just great to throw it as far as I can.
Q. How much more confidence does that give you with the added arm strength?
Jimmy Clausen: It gives me a lot of confidence. Being at 100% is a lot different than being hurt. I just feel great right now. I’m happy that we came out of spring this way, and everyone’s pretty much healthy.
Q. Is it a relief to be able to uncork one like that?
Jimmy Clausen: It was a little frustrating last year, but that’s just what happened. You know, I had the surgery and I was feeling banged up. Obviously, I wasn’t 212 pounds like I am now. I was like 195 all last year, and real skinny and stuff like that. But I feel great right now. It just feels good to be healthy.
Q. When you hit that pass and you hit golden, was there a feeling you had at that point? Or did you realize that you did something that, like Charlie said, you couldn’t have possibly done last year?
Jimmy Clausen: Yeah, I think I was just into the game. Looking back right now, like coach said, I couldn’t have done that last year with being unhealthy and stuff like that.
Q. Do you think Kamara had his foot in on that?
Jimmy Clausen: Oh, yeah. He definitely had a foot in. He probably had two feet in. The defensive guys were saying he wasn’t in, but I know he was in.
Q. How does the offensive line, how do they compare now to last year?
Jimmy Clausen: You know, I think they’re just a lot closer. You know, they came together after last season. A lot of people were being critics of them, stuff like that. You know, they just came together and said, you know, we need to do this. And they came together as a unit. Not just the five of them, but all the offensive line. I think they’re making really big strides now.
Q. I realize it’s only spring. But how much pressure is there on this team do you feel as well, so the 3 and 9 doesn’t happen again?
Jimmy Clausen: Well, when you come to a school like Notre Dame, there’s always going to be pressure. It’s a big time school, and you know there’s going to be pressure each and every year whether you win a National Championship or you’ve got to come back and win another National Championship or like the season last year, going 3 and 9.
There’s always going to be high expectations, because this is Notre Dame, this is as big as it gets. We’re just happy trying to get better each and every day.
Q. Everybody says that you’re swinging the ball with zip on it. Is there like a guy that you’ve watched growing up that had a great release or great zip? Who is your guy?
Jimmy Clausen: There wasn’t really anyone in particular. But my quarterback coach, Steve Clarkson, you know, he worked with guys like John Elway who had a real quick release. And guys like Dan Marino. I watched tape on both of those guys. They probably had the quickest release in the NFL and stuff like that. So I just try to mimic what they do, and try to get the ball as quick as I can.
Q. Do you have a list of things that you want to accomplish personally going through the summer?
Jimmy Clausen: Not really. I just think the biggest thing is, you know, to get this team ready to go for September 6 or whenever we play San Diego State. You know, we have to do a lot of things from right now to September 6th to get ready. And you know, I’m just going to work as hard as I can, and the team as hard as I can to get ready.
Q. Can you talk about the touchdown to Duval. The pressure situation, is it pretty cool to end with a touchdown in fourth down?
Jimmy Clausen: It really was. When we were on the sidelines, we were going to run a fade to one of our receivers. And Coach is like we’re going to 18. And I looked at Duval and said, Are you going to catch it or not? And he was like, Yeah, I’m going to catch it. And I was like, You better go up and get it because I’m throwing it up. So I just threw it up to him, and you guys saw what happened.
Q. Was that a nice memory to take into the fall, something positive like that? To have a winning drive to go up there to make that pressure throw?
Jimmy Clausen: I think so. For the offense, it was a great job for us. We were down six points. And if you get a drive like that and go down and score and win the game, it’s big for the offense.
Q. Did you get any grief from the defense for taking a knee there and not giving them a chance to score a couple of points?
Jimmy Clausen: No, they were getting mad, because they said if you take a knee that the defense gets one point. They were trying to get that extra point to make it go into overtime.
Q. Are you eating steak on Monday?
Jimmy Clausen: We’re eating steak on Monday, not hot dogs.
Q. How has your chemistry developed?
Jimmy Clausen: It’s developed a lot. Not with just Duval, but the whole receiving corps. We’ve worked hard in the off season throwing individual routes, seven on seven, trying to get the chemistry down and getting better.
Jimmy Clausen: Yeah, yeah it was.
Q. Is that the kind of relationship you guys have at this point?
Jimmy Clausen: With?
Q. With Duval?
Jimmy Clausen: Yeah, we have a great relationship. We came in at the same time. We were getting recruited together. We’ve had a great relationship since being recruited.
Q. That helps out on the field, I’m guessing?
Jimmy Clausen: Yeah, you’ve got to practice a lot. I think that is the biggest thing that’s helped us is our practicing on the offense.
Q. For folks that got in a little late, you had so many people around you. Can you just sum up how you think of today in terms of what you wanted to accomplish out there in front of a big crowd for the first time this spring?
Jimmy Clausen: I just wanted to go out there. Have a good day. Obviously, the offense wins, so we’re eating steak. But I think we did all right today. We’re just trying to get out of the spring with all the guys healthy. You know, Richard Jackson got banged up a little bit, but, you know, I thought it was a good day for us.
Q. Now Coach Weis said you threw it late to set up the final touchdown, that there was no way you could have made that throw last season. How much stronger and how much better do you think you are in terms of your ability to throw a deep pattern this year?
Jimmy Clausen: I’m a lot healthier. Someone asked the question earlier, I’m a lot healthier right now. I’m 100%. Last year coming off the elbow surgery, and being banged up, I really wasn’t able to be 100% like I am now. So I’m just happy to be 100%.
Q. You’ve talked about how Coach wants you to be a leader this year, looking to you. Do you sense the team now looking to you?
Jimmy Clausen: You know, I think you’ve got to ask those guys for that question. But I feel I get the sense that that’s starting to happen right now. We’re just starting to move forward as an offense, and get this thing rolling.
Q. Now that you know that you’re the guy getting all the reps, how much more control do you feel like you have out there?
Jimmy Clausen: I don’t know about control, but like in the huddle when guys are talking, they know when the quarterback gets in the huddle that it’s time to be quiet and listen to the play.
I think every quarterback has that ability to when they step in the huddle, it’s quiet, and they get ready for the play.
Q. And Coach is always talking about coaching emotion, coaching emotion. Obviously, there is a different kind of emotion out there on the field today when you guys started to get into a fight. What goes through your mind when that happens and do you feel it’s your responsibility and do you take control of that as a quarterback?
Jimmy Clausen: I think it’s good for the team to get a little rowdy and hands up. We had a few of those in spring practice. I think it just gets the juices flowing. You know, like you saw at the end right there it just picks up a little bit.
Q. You guys had a slow start at the beginning of the second half, did you do anything to motivate the guys to pick it back up?
Jimmy Clausen: No, we came out a little flat in the second half, but, you know, we got it going, and we came up with it in the end.
Q. So you’re overall happy with the way that you played today?
Jimmy Clausen: Yeah, there’s good and bad things. We’ll watch the tape and see how it went.
Q. You felt a little frustrated with seemed like with the sacks. Were those sacks that you wouldn’t have gotten away with in a real game?
Jimmy Clausen: Yeah, it kind of goes both ways. They can’t hit me, so they’ve just got to tag off. You know, I’m not really watching and seeing where they’re coming from and things like that. But, you’re obviously frustrated when you get a sack. But they can’t hit me, so I gave it to them.
Q. As you spin into summertime, what is going to be your focus in terms of improvement?
Jimmy Clausen: I think every aspect of being a quarterback and the game, we’ve got to get ready to go for September 6th. We’ll look at the tape, and look and see how we played in this spring game, and get things going right away and get ready to go.
Jimmy Clausen: I don’t know. That’s kind of a hard question. There are a lot of great guys in that locker room. You know, Coach Weis wants us to be a little loose. But when it comes down to it, we get down to business, so.
Q. Did you see the younger guys needing less praise to show emotion? Coach said last year you were almost like tin soldiers out there.
Jimmy Clausen: Yeah, that’s how you got to play. You’ve got to be yourself and play like you played in high school and just be yourself. You can’t change for anyone. You know, you’ve just got to be yourself, and I think a lot of guys are doing that now.
A lot of guys were freshmen last year, and they were kind of scared to be themselves and playing like they’re capable of playing. And now I think everybody’s just laying it out on the field.
Q. Is that the next step in the balance. A couple times today your emotions went a little overboard?
Jimmy Clausen: Yeah, we have to find that balance, and I think we will.
Q. Can you talk about the rhythm you had as a passer today? Did you feel like the drives were adequate to what you need?
Jimmy Clausen: We really didn’t get it started in the beginning of the game. You know, in the passing game we didn’t. In the running game we really did. You know, we really didn’t have that much of a flow going in the passing game. But as you saw in the running game, we were just running it down the throat. If all it takes is running, we’re just going to take the ball to get in the end zone. But it went all right.
Q. The touchdown pass in a normal game, is that something where you may have tucked it and ran, or have you always fixated on throwing that one?
Jimmy Clausen: No, actually, I was going to run it, and then I saw Raeshon McNeil come running at me, so I just threw it over the top of him. That was pretty much the game situation right there.
Q. What is maybe the most important thing you’ve learned through the end of last season about yourself as a quarterback?
Jimmy Clausen: That’s a hard question, you know. I think the biggest thing is I can get in the playbook like I did this off season. I really didn’t know the offense like I needed to know last year.
It’s kind of hard coming in as a freshmen to, you know, expect to learn the whole entire playbook in just one spring. But I think I’ve done a good job of that and getting to know the offense.
Notre Dame Player Quotes
Robert Hughes- Sophomore -RB
On how he felt getting 22 carries…
“It felt good. It felt like I could have got more and keep pounding away.”
On the play of the offensive line…
“They did a good job. We were able to get positive yards out of everything, so I thought they did a wonderful job.”
On the competition between running backs…
“You see a guy out there doing well and you want to do well too. You know, it’s a friendly competition for all of us.”
Are you glad spring’s over?
“Yeah. You kind of need a break. We’ve been going hard for a couple of weeks now and it’ll be good to go home and finish up with exams and everything and get home to the family.”
On the positive aspect of today’s game as a springboard for the offseason…
“It definitely gives us something to shoot for when we get back. You know, we had a few guys coming in, the freshmen, and we tried to get them in so we can get it rolling for the season.”
On the offensive line making holes…
“They did a tremendous job opening the holes, congratulating me after the run, and picking me up and everything. They were there.”
On the pad level being high…
“We had talked about it and worked on it. It’s just something that I’ve got to focus more on and practice more on and just take a better approach about it.”
Maurice Crum, Jr. – Senior – LB
Impressions of the defense…
“Our intensity is better, not to say perfect or where we wanted to be, but again it’s only spring ball. I think we accomplished a lot of the goals that we set out with.”
On the difference with John Tenuta around…
“I don’t think it’s that much more different. I think what he brings is his knowledge, especially about college football and football in general. He just helps to make us a lot smarter and recognize things a lot better and just try to get us playing faster and aggressive.”
On the players’ response to Tenuta and accomplishing new goals…
“I think we’ve taken strides towards that. Guys are playing and getting what it is that he’s telling us.”
On what the defense needs…
“We’re this close; we just need to gel a little bit more. We need to start believing in the coaches, believing what they tell us and believing in each other. The more we believe, the better we’ll be.”
How is the new defense (3 safeties and then Harrison can drop down for a bigger run) working out…
“Not too bad. Harrison’s a great athlete and anytime you have a guy like him, you just kind of have to find a way to get him on the field.”
On implementing the new defense…
“It’s not that different. Since I’ve been here it’s just been about getting the guys on the field. The guys who make plays and the guys who show up to practice get on the field, and Harrison has been one of those guys.”
David Grimes – Senior – WR
On Weis’ comment that the team is trying to play with more emotion than last season…
“I think last year we were a young team and we played a little tight and were worried. Now this year we’re playing with a lot more confidence, we’re just out there making plays. Instead of thinking what we have to do, we just do it. I know for myself that last year I was just thinking about how deep my route has to be and when I’ve got to make my cut, and now I’m just out there reacting, so I think that’s good.”
On times when emotions can get too high such as the fight on the field…
“Those got out of hand a little bit, but we kept our composure and tried to make the best of it. Every family has brothers and sisters who fight, so it’s just a family thing and we’ll learn from it. “
On the things that he will take out of spring practices…
“Just doing it all on a high note. Each day we built it up and we improved every day, so just we just need to take that progress into the summer and in the fall camp. Some things that I need to work on are using my hands and being a lot more physical, and blocking and being out there.”
Harrison Smith – Sophomore — Safety
On his interception in the second half…
“(Mike) Ragone ran an out route, and I just waited on the ball. I got set up for it and just took advantage of it.”
On getting his first action as a member of the Irish…
“It’s a great feeling. Last year you obviously try and help your team with practice and doing show team and all that stuff. But getting out there with the big boys is a lot of fun.”
On the amount of plays he was involved in during the game…
“I didn’t think I would hear my name that much. I think a couple of times they (tackles) actually belonged to Kyle (McCarthy).”
On the on-field altercation between the teams…
“I didn’t even notice. I started running off of the field and I saw the coaches coming out, and I was wondering what happened because I thought they were mad at me or something. So then I looked back and saw the fight. But it’s just guys trying to get after it.”
David Bruton – Senior – Safety
On the coverage of the play where Golden Tate went for a 57-yard catch…
“It was him and Gary (Gray) and I had a feeling that Golden was going to hit the streak on the back side. I was just watching and covering Gary. It was a good play by Golden. “
On the additional responsibilities in being mentioned as the number one prospect on the team to play at the next level …
“I feel like I’ve always had a certain amount of responsibility and that’s to do my job whether it’s on special teams or lined up back there at safety. If I have to come in the box, I have to come in the box. It’s just what I have to do. I have to be disciplined. I have to be responsible. I have to take on a role as a leader now. I’m a senior and was voted captain by my teammates so I have a little more responsibility now.”
On what was taken away from the spring in terms of the accomplishments of the defense…
“Our different mentality because we’re a lot nastier than we were. We’ve brought the tenacity, that toughness. The discipline both mentally and physically to know to go out and do your job and do it in a tough way. Knowing to go out and kick the guy’s butt who’s across from you.”
On the special mentality required to play gunner…
“You’re going to go against fast guys. You’ve just got to think that you’re faster than them. You’ve already got the advantage. You’re going forward and they’re back peddling or they’ve got to flip their hips. You’ve just got to be tough and know that you can go out there and make the play.”