Oct. 1, 2008
Q. Coach Weis, noted, or somebody brought up to Coach Weis, he said he noticed it too, that after the game you guys just went over in front of the students after the game; whereas the Michigan game guys are jumping up in the stands and stuff, and you seemed a lot more subdued; why is that?
David Grimes: To be honest, you know, I’m not sure. But, you know, Michigan is Michigan. It’s obviously a big rivalry. But, I don’t know, I think guys were just really excited.
Q. I guess the point I am trying to make, and it was also brought up in the past, you know, you guys were hoping to win as opposed to expecting to win; is that an accurate portrayal of where you are now?
David Grimes: Not at all. I think we were expecting to win all games. Not hoping at all. So, no.
Q. Okay. Jimmy?
Jimmy Clausen: We never hope to win, you know. I think we thought that last year a little bit and that might have showed. But this year we expect to win every single game that we go out and play on Saturday.
And, like David said, Michigan is just, it’s Michigan. You know, it’s big rivalry for us. And, you know, we were real excited to come out of there with a big victory.
Q. David, Sam Young made the comment yesterday that some point during the Purdue game you said that Jimmy was doing things along the same lines of what Brady Quinn would have done as a veteran quarterback; do you recall saying that? What did that pertain to?
David Grimes: Jimmy made a few checks at the line, you know, that, you know, he’d go over and he made them. It was the correct call to make, and he did it, you know. It was something that I remember my sophomore and freshman year Brady used to do as a senior, and Jimmy is doing it as sophomore.
Q. Jimmy, I want to ask you about when you guys ran a no huddle. We talked last week that you ran a lot of 4-5 wide receivers. Did you guys run that out of a no huddle situation in high school?
Jimmy Clausen: We did certain games. We’d have hand signals and stuff like that that we used to do.
Q. So the whole hand signals come from the sideline, you’re very comfortable with doing that and had that experience in high school?
Jimmy Clausen: I’m comfortable.
Q. The operation of that, is that very smooth for you guys now as far as the communication of, you know, the hand signals?
Jimmy Clausen: I think so. We’ve practiced it. That’s pretty much what we do in two minute situations. We’ve practiced that every since the springtime. We did it last year. We do it every Thursday before a game.
Q. What are the differences between no huddle situation where you’re going ahead and using most of the 40-second clock and then the two minute where the pace is faster? Besides the fast the timing of it, the mechanics of it, what are the differences between the two minute and the no huddle?
Jimmy Clausen: I don’t think it’s different at all. It’s pretty much the same exact thing except for, you know, the time management.
In no huddle we want to try to use as much time as we can, and however long it’s going to take is however long it’s going to take. In the two minute situation we want to get things going a lot faster.
Q. Jimmy, you have had a lot of success at quarterback. What are you looking for before you make that throw? What kind of match up are you looking for?
Jimmy Clausen: I’m looking for a match up, first off, against a line of scrimmage. You know, whether the corners press or he’s bailing or he’s inside leverage or outside leverage. So I’m looking at that first.
Then, you know, it’s easy for a quarterback to make a good throw to a receiver when the receiver gives you some space on the sideline. Because all you got to do is throw it to their outside shoulder and let them fade to the ball. So it’s not too tough to throw a ball to a receiver if they give you some space.
Q. Pretty much you need outside leverage in the press; that is the ideal combination you hope for a fade?
Jimmy Clausen: It really doesn’t matter what they’re in. But say there’s a guy press and there’s a guy off, obviously you go to the guy that’s pressed most of the time.
Q. David, as a receiver, what are the keys to running a good route?
David Grimes: First you got to give them the inception that you’re going a different way. When you are being pressed, you got to get off the line, use your hands well. Then besides route, you got to get the D thinking you’re going one way, and you’re going another, and then just find the ball and make the catch.
Q. What is it about the receivers that makes a good route for you guys?
David Grimes: Well we got a lot of guys with explosion, you know. They make plays on the ball. You know, Golden and Duval. And me and Golden are not the biggest guys, but we got some guys who like to the climb the ladder. Me and Golden may be about 5’10” but we like to play up high.
Q. Last week first time you guys got a good chunk of taking plays in the same game. What does that do for the offense overall? And is it a situation where you want to gain the yards, but it gives you extra energy and extra jolt aside from just the yardage?
David Grimes: Can you repeat that? (Laughter.)
Q. Big plays aside from getting 15, 20 yards at a time, is there a certain energy that comes with that and translates back to defense when you (inaudible)?
David Grimes: I definitely think you build momentum with big plays. Also backs the defense up you know when it’s big run or a big pass, and it’s a putting guys in the box or putting more guys on the secondary. But I think it’s just building momentum for the offense.
Q. (Question about defense catching their breath.)
Jimmy Clausen: It’s hard for a defense when the offense is making big plays and especially throwing the ball down the field. And, say they’re bringing pressure, you know they’re going to back off a little bit. And then it sets up the running game.
I think we did a real good job Saturday of complimenting each other the running game and the pass game. The running game set up the pass, and the pass set up the run. It’s real hard for a defense to be able to stop both.
Q. Jimmy, when Brady was a senior and living in a house with (Chinedum Ndukwe) he was very protective about his diet. Neighbors brought over cupcakes, he made (Chinedum) throw it away and stuff. Just wondering your own self as far as trying to put in extra. Do you really get that defined about your diet, and also extra work, you know? Do you bring DVD’s home to watch tape of other teams? What do you do on the extra work?
Jimmy Clausen: As far as my diet goes, I try to eat as healthy as I can. Stay away from fast food and stuff like that. And then other tape, I love watching tape. Whether it’s watching our offense or watching myself trying to get myself better or watching the defense that we’re going to be playing the upcoming week. I take DVD’s home. Come to the Gug on Sunday nights and before practices, during the week, and try to watch as much film as I can.
Q. Do you feel like Coach Weis pushes you? Do you push yourself? How do you keep trying to get to a higher level?
Jimmy Clausen: Yeah, it’s combination of both of those things you just said. Coach Weis and Coach Powlus and the rest of the offense coaching staff trying to not only just push me but push the whole offense and trying to just keep getting better each and every day, each and every week. And, you know, I’m definitely not going to be lax in my preparation in trying to make myself better. I’m going to work as hard as I can each and every day to try to get better.
Q. In the off season obviously you made big physical gains. You were healthy. You were able to lift. How about the mental side of the game; where did you focus on trying to get better mentally in the off season?
Jimmy Clausen: That was huge. I tried to get better mentally and was in the playbook a lot during the off season. Like I said many times, I really didn’t know the offense like I should. I feel great with the offense right now and I think I got a pretty good grasp of the playbook.
Q. Jimmy, did things change for you this week because you know Sean (Wiser) the safety and he probably knows you better than a lot of guys. Does that change things at all because he might know some of your mannerisms, some of your mechanics, so you think that other people might not even be able to pick up on tape?
Jimmy Clausen: He might know those things, but I don’t think it changes anything. He’s still got to go out there and play football on Saturday.
But it’s going to be fun playing against him for the first time. I’ve never played against him unless I was throwing for the scout team during high school.
Q. Were you guys really close in high school?
Jimmy Clausen: Yeah, we’re best friends and stuff like that. We’ve been best friends for a long time. I’ve known him pretty much my whole life. Went to elementary school, middle school, high school together so we’re real close.
Q. Do you guys talk at all this week?
Jimmy Clausen: I talked to him on Sunday. I was going to call him last night but I fell asleep so I’ll give him a call tonight and see how things are going down there.
Q. Do you trash talk him a little bit or is he trash talking you?
Jimmy Clausen: We trash talk back and forth. He said they’re going to get after us this Saturday. So, you know, I’ll see what’s going on tonight with him.
Q. So you going to try to pick on him a little bit?
Jimmy Clausen: Whatever we have to do to win the game that is what I am going to do.
Q. Getting to what you were saying about watching tape, how much extra time do you actually put in watching tape a week?
Jimmy Clausen: I don’t know like hours. Probably a few hours. But my big night is Sundays I come in and watch about an hour, and then Tuesday night I watch probably an hour. Then Wednesday night’s my big night. I watch probably two or three games after practice at my house.
Q. So on Wednesday that would be fairly a long time, three, four hours then?
Jimmy Clausen: Not that long. Probably like two hours, two and a half.
Q. What do you like to do — sounds like you have a lot of football going on. What do the you like to do when you are not immersed in football?
Jimmy Clausen: I like to sleep. We got school and football and we don’t have a lot of down time, but when we do I like to lay down and take a nap.
Q. David, I talked to Coach Ianello yesterday just about what it takes to run good routes, and you guys talked a little bit about fade routes. He talked about leverage: Corner outside leverage, inside leverage. Can you explain that concept a little bit; what’s that mean?
David Grimes: Yeah. The big thing in route running is that you want to protect the corner leverage. You want to get down the middle so you can have the ability to go left and right. Because you stay on the left side he can prevent your from going to his right. So I think the biggest thing is get down the middle. Give them the deception you are going left or right or going by them. If you play to a side that’s advantage to the cornerback.
Q. How much is of that is watching tape during the week to try to understand a guy’s tendencies, their coverage tendencies?
David Grimes: Much is attributed to watching tape because you can see where they’re lined up. When they’re pressing you they’re lined outside of you or inside of you, or when they’re playing off and when they like to bail inside of you as well. So, I mean, much of that is attributed to watching tape.
Q. Why is it tough for guys? And the best example is in Golden Tate is one example of a guy who came to college and it took him awhile to understand how to select his route based on coverage and also just how to run precise routes. What is difficult about route running? From an outsider looking in you think well you run ten yards then you turn left; what’s so hard about that? Why is it harder than it looks?
David Grimes: Well you know just like, you know, receivers have issues they like to do to get the advantage on the corner, you know. Corners, you know, in college step their game up as well. So they like to, you know, play possum I guess and try to think that they’re going to give you a certain, you know, route. But they really don’t.
It’s definitely the harder than what it looks like. You can’t just run straight and go left because, you know, most corners are more adept at this level.
Q. And, Jimmy, these guys, each one your receivers has usually two routes to choose from when they see what kind of coverage they’re in. What’s it like for you as a quarterback when you go to the line and you have to look and see, basically calculate what all three or four receivers are doing in the 30 seconds before the snap?
Jimmy Clausen: Yeah, it’s not all based on what the person over them is doing. For instance, say David’s in the slot, you know, it’s not really what the linebacker’s doing or, you know, the star or the weak safety is doing. It’s most of what he is looking at is depending upon what the safetys are doing. But say David’s outside at Z, and it’s going to be depending on what the corners doing or what the safety’s doing.
Q. So how tough is it for you then — is that something that — let me ask it this way. Is that something that the took a long time when you got to college to be able to make those calculations and keep them straight in your head? You’ve got to know where three or four guys are going to be and you don’t that five seconds before?
Jimmy Clausen: It just takes practice. You just got to get use to it. It comes with learning, you know, the playbook, the route tree that we have, and, you know, just more repetition gets you more familiar and better at that.
Q. And a lot of times when there is an interception or under throw or overthrow is it because a lot of times either as a quarterback thought it was another route coming or the receiver ran the wrong route? Is there a disconnect between the quarterback and the receiver and what route they think was supposed to happen? How often is an incompletion a result of that?
Jimmy Clausen: It happens sometimes. That might be the case. Or, you know, the receiver might fall down or the quarterback makes a bad throw. It just depends on what the situation was.
Q. And those pre snap reads where your receivers are headed, how much more complex is it at this level than it was at the high school level?
Jimmy Clausen: It’s a lot more complex because the defense is not trying to show what they’re doing before the snap of the ball. Most defenses are going to be in the two high shell in the corners or they’re going to be off or pressed and at the snap of the ball they’re either going to be pressed and bailing or off and come up and press. So just depends what their defense is doing.
Q. As compared to high school why was the defense simpler to read then in high school?
Jimmy Clausen: It was simpler in high school because they just show what they’re going to do it’s not as complex in high school.
Q. They didn’t disguise it?
Jimmy Clausen: No.
Q. Jimmy, it seems to me just watching on TV and watching film from high school it seems like you have a lot more on the ball maybe in the last month or so. I mean, was your arm strength that great in high school, or has it even gotten greater since you’ve had the procedure on your elbow?
Jimmy Clausen: My arm strength was pretty good in high school. Last year it wasn’t. I really didn’t have anything on the ball because I had the surgery. But, you know, once I got back in the weight room after the season, you know, I started getting that zip back on the ball and I feel good right now.
Q. David, you guys developed some chemistry in the spring. I think we all saw that. Did that play a part in the first play of the second half and that touchdown in on the fourth and seventh you guys seem to be on the same page obviously?
David Grimes: Most definitely. Jimmy made a heck of a read on those routes. Our chemistry has developed over the off season; that definitely played a part it in.
Q. Just a quick follow up on Golden Tate and the receiver routes that you have to run. Is it that he doesn’t maybe — or a player coming out of high school doesn’t run the route very well? Or it that they don’t know always which route to run based on the defense and all that? Is that as much as when someone says he is having trouble with route running? Are we talking a specific route, are we talking maybe he not running the right route?
David Grimes: It could be that the receiver doesn’t know what route to run, and he’s just got to stay more in tune with his playbook. Or it could be just a specific route and how to run it. Because when you run a slant you want to get the corners inside leverage to run a slant.
Q. David, I think 12 of the 14 touchdowns the team has scored have been by freshmen and sophomores, you had the other two. And I think Coach Weis said the other day you made a point to remind him that you had the other two. Just kind of in passing or whatever.
David Grimes: Could you repeat that?
Q. You guys scored 14 touchdowns on the team 12 by freshmen and sophomores. I think you had the other two. Charlie said you made sure to remind him you had the other two that weren’t freshmen or sophomores. Is that something you just did in passing or felt the need to make sure the upperclassmen were getting their due or whatever?
David Grimes: To be honest, I don’t remember that. That hasn’t crossed my mind. I didn’t keep that stat with me. I’m glad you pointed that out. (Laughter.)
Q. I guess are you surprised at how far along some of these young guys have come in terms of making plays in the skilled positions, to be able to do that?
David Grimes: Not at all. We got some talent, some good young talent on this team and it’s not surprising at all. I’ve been working with these guys, playing with these guys for more than a year now, and I’m not surprised at all. I see what they can do and what they’re capable of day in and day out. So I’m not surprised at all.
Q. What goes into that? I mean, when you see these guys, why are they able to do? Is it the talent? Is there a certain amount of belief that goes with that what goes into it?
David Grimes: Well they’re out there first, you know. They’re out there playing. So, you know, obviously we have confidence in them and the coaches have confidence in them. But I’m not sure exactly what it is, but, at the end of the day it’s still football. It doesn’t matter what age you are. If you are play, you can play.
Q. Jimmy, your part of that, throwing the touchdown and scoring, is there something about the sophomores and maybe some of the freshmen out there that is sort of confidence there? What would you say goes into your guys ability to be making these guy supplies early in this conference?
Jimmy Clausen: I think coming in to Notre Dame as a young player you want to prove yourself. And throughout the off season we’ve worked real hard getting that chemistry, whether it was the receivers and the quarterbacks, running backs, tight ends, whatever it was, we worked real hard on that.
Mondays and Wednesdays we’d be out there throwing the ball for an hour. I think that has helped tremendously throughout the season of me knowing where a guy like David is going to be on a certain route and him knowing where I’m going to throw the ball on a certain route. I think that’s helped tremendously throughout the season.
Q. David, with respect to your being the senior what has impressed you about Jimmy’s development especially this season?
David Grimes: Just how quick he catches on. I’m not surprised that he’s doing as well as he is, but he’s only a sophomore. The sky’s the limit for this kid. And I’m just happy to have the opportunity to play with him.
Q. It’s important to have chemistry between the quarterback and the receiver clearly Saturday you guys proved that you have it. How long has that taken to develop and how have you developed it?
David Grimes: I think it started ever since Jimmy got here in the off season. And it’s taken that long and it’s still got a ways to go. We’re not where we need to be. We still can improve. But it’s just a matter of practicing day in and day out, getting to know each other, getting to know where he likes the ball, what routes we like against certain coverages. Just a matter of keep practicing and getting out there and doing it.
Q. Jimmy your thoughts on you guys having developed that chemistry?
Jimmy Clausen: It’s been a long process but a fun one as well. Seeing what routes the receivers like and what routes I like to throw and versus difference coverages. Each receiver is different, you know, whether it’s a shifty guy or a big tall fast guy it really doesn’t matter. But you just have to get to know whatever single receiver does. What they can do and what they can’t do and where you need to put the ball for the guys to make plays.
Q. Jimmy, can you talk about the difference in your relationship with Coach Weis this year from last year?
Jimmy Clausen: I think it’s the same. Ever since I first met him, you know, in the recruiting he’s been the same exact guy. Real truthful guy, a funny guy. And just a good guy to be around.
Q. He was saying yesterday that your relationship is getting closer to the relationship he had about Brady. Did you have any insight when you were being recruited as to the relationship between Coach Weis and Brady?
Jimmy Clausen: No, I didn’t at all.
Q. Jimmy, when we were talking last week we were talking about your confidence and sometimes how you are maybe too confident that you are forcing it in. Talk about taking that next step this past Saturday how maybe things you saw out there where you didn’t do that to make sure you didn’t have an interception or a turnover?
Jimmy Clausen: I just felt comfortable out there, you know. We had a good feeling of what Purdue was going to be doing and the receivers did a great job of making plays my throwing the ball. And the offensive line did a good job of pass protection with the running backs and the tight ends. It’s just easy to get the ball to these guys when everything’s clicking like it was on Saturday.
Q. And is that the next progression for you to make sure that is a consistent thing that you don’t, you know, someday have the multi turnover games and that you are able to consistently keep productive?
Jimmy Clausen: That’s what we’re working on this week. We know what we can do and how good we can be, as you guys saw in the second half of the Purdue game. We have to start playing like that on a consistent basis, and that starts out in practice. Once we start practicing like that on a consistent basis I think it will translate to Saturdays.
Q. And going back to the arm strength thing. How rewarding is it that you are able to air it out. Looking at the frustration of what last year was like to only be able to throw the ball ten yards now to be able to down field what’s that like?
Jimmy Clausen: It’s great. You got to have a healthy arm to be able to play quarterback on a college level. And last year it definitely wasn’t 100 percent. I’m just glad it is right now.
Q. And, David, can you talk about progression of that arm and how nice it is to have his arm throwing the ball down field to be able to make those plays?
David Grimes: It’s good that he’s healthy and can throw the ball far. It takes a lot of pressure off the offense and puts a lot of pressure on the defense to know that we can go intermediate, short and deep now so I think it’s good for our whole team.
Q. David, just to see the running game progress last weekend, how pumped does that make you guys just to know that when they’re doing their thing —
David Grimes: Hey I’m smiling right now. You know, when the running game gets going, defenses have to put a lot of guys in the box, and that just creates one on one opportunities for receivers, and big-play opportunities. So, you know, when the running game is going I’m all for it. I know eventually we’ll call a pass play and it will be a home run.
Q. Jimmy, did I hear it right, you are speaking at the pep rally Friday? Any prep work going in on that?
Jimmy Clausen: David is helping me out a little bit. (Laughter.) I’ll be speaking Friday.
Q. A couple minutes or is it just going to come from the heart?
Jimmy Clausen: I don’t know. Me and David are putting something together. (Laughter.)
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