Irish senior wide receiver/co-captain and Detroit native David Grimes returns to his home state for the final time as a collegian on Saturday when Notre Dame takes on Michigan State in East Lansing.

Jimmy Clausen/David Grimes Press Conference Transcript (Sept. 17)

Sept. 17, 2008

Q. Obviously there’s been a big push for you guys to be a little more emotional. I know you’re not an extremely emotional guy. But he talked about how when he first got here he didn’t promote being emotional, whereas, now he encourages it. Can you speak to how you’ve seen that change within the team?

David Grimes: I think when I first got here guys were more laid back, you know. Didn’t know what to expect. I guess guys were just getting more comfortable in our environment, letting their personalities show and things like that. Yeah, so that’s what it is. I think it’s just guys getting more comfortable.

Q. Couple of the guys said yesterday they didn’t feel comfortable being overly emotional, because they didn’t know whether Coach Weis really wanted them to be that way. Would that be accurate?

David Grimes: No, I wouldn’t say that. I mean, probably guys were more hesitant. But you know as the years go by and guys get to know Coach Weis better, they realize that, he wants people to show their personalities and be emotional and be passionate about things that they love and they like.

Q. How has it changed for you?

David Grimes: I’m an easygoing guy. I don’t ride the emotional roller coaster. I show emotion out on the field and things like that.

Q. Do you consider this weekend’s game a statement game for Notre Dame? One that puts you guys back on the map?

David Grimes: I think every game is a statement game for us. Coming out and we want to show everybody that we’re a viable team around here. So I think every game is a statement game.

Q. Jimmy, both Coach Weis and Coach Haywood yesterday were talking about coming up with something on third down that you’re comfortable with some go to plays on the third down. Have you felt like in third down situations you haven’t been as comfortable as you can be with a handful or a dozen of the plays that you feel better about?

Jimmy Clausen: Not really, I wouldn’t say that. I think it’s just we haven’t been converting on third down. Whether I like the plays, coaches like the plays or whatever the case is, we just haven’t been able to convert on third downs on offense.

I think that’s what they’re trying to do is trying to find a certain amount of plays that they know, and we know that we can go to to convert on third down.

We’ve been struggling a little bit, and that’s what we’ve been stressing these past two weeks. We need to be able to convert on third down situations.

Q. Everybody has a comfort zone. There has to be a certain set of plays that you feel better about or are more comfortable with?

Jimmy Clausen: There’s certain plays in the game plan that I feel real comfortable about. I don’t think it’s just the third down plays, first, second down, and you know, whatever presents itself, so.

Q. The touchdown pass to Golden, when I saw the replay of the game, it showed you running down field and looking at the sideline and pointing. Of course that play, you did the play action with Aldridge who was in the game for the first time. And Golden faked like he was going to block down on the safety. Was that a play that you guys felt okay, now’s a good time to call it and we’re going to fool them with this?

Jimmy Clausen: Yeah, well those two plays, the two shots that were back to back right there, we were going to come out of the gate and run those two shots right there.

That’s why you saw me point over to the coaches because they were going to call it the first play of the game, and the second play of the game. They were great calls. As you saw, we scored a touchdown.

Q. The gloves, you’ve never worn gloves before. Was that a last-second idea to get a better grip?

Jimmy Clausen: Yeah, it was. It was spur of the moment. I came out at halftime and it was pouring. I was trying to throw the ball and I really couldn’t. I couldn’t get a good grip on the ball.

So the first series we went out, I worked well with my left hand just for ball security, taking a snap and handoffs and stuff like that. Then there was the throw. I threw it to Golden, and I think he caught it but it was bad.

I threw really high, but he went up and got it. I went to the sideline, and I was like I’m going to try to wear a glove on my right hand to throw. So it helped out ask gave me a lot more grip.

Q. You never practiced with gloves on before?

Jimmy Clausen: I’ve messed around throwing with gloves during the off season and in high school messing around, but never in a game situation.

Q. Would you do it in cold weather? Is this something you’ll continue to practice just in case?

Jimmy Clausen: I don’t know. Maybe when it starts getting cold. I don’t know. I like to be able to feel the ball. When you can’t feel the ball, it’s really uncomfortable for me. The rain like it was, you know, I needed something to help me up with gripping the ball, so I went to the gloves.

Q. Is that your first experience in weather playing in California as much?

Jimmy Clausen: I played two games in high school in the rain. And last year against Duke it started raining towards the end, so this is my fourth game playing.

Q. Is that something you have to get kind of used to?

Jimmy Clausen: You do have to get used to it. The biggest thing is taking a snap from the center. The center’s hands are all wet. His pants are all wet, and your hands are wet as well. That is the biggest thing.

The coaches do a good job of using wet balls in certain situations during practice. To get comfortable, the series is comfortable, I’m just using a wet ball.

Q. What was your favorite Golden Tate story?

Jimmy Clausen: My favorite Golden Tate story? I’m not too sure about that. He’s got a lot of stories. You know, he’s a funny guy. One of the clowns in the locker room. To be honest, I really don’t have one.

Q. What’s he like in the huddle?

Jimmy Clausen: In the huddle, he’s quiet just like everyone else. When the quarterback gets in the huddle, everyone’s quiet, waiting for the play. So you can’t really show emotion or your personality in the huddle, unless it’s a timeout or something like that.

Q. This is your last time now going to Michigan. Just kind of your thoughts on that, your career, and you’ve played there every year now either in Ann Arbor or (East) Lansing.

David Grimes: Could you repeat that? I couldn’t hear you.

Q. This is your last time going back to play in Michigan…

David Grimes: Michigan State?

Q. Just in the state in general. Just kind of your thoughts on that. You’ve played up there every year.

David Grimes: You know, it’s my home state. I get to perform in front of some of my friends and against some of my friends. It’s definitely an opportunity that I’m going to remember. I’m just can’t wait for Saturday.

Q. How many people are you going to have show up?

David Grimes: Who knows. It could range from 10 to 30, so we’ll see.

Q. Jimmy, early happy birthday to you. I know it’s Sunday, right? I believe it’s Sunday. Have you ever played a game on your birthday, and what memories do you have of that?

Jimmy Clausen: I’m not too sure. I think I played in high school on my birthday or like on a Friday. But to be honest, I really don’t remember, so…

Q. Talk about the ways maybe coaches encourage you guys to show your emotions. How he’s gone about telling you or showing you that it’s okay to be more emotional?

David Grimes: Yeah, sometimes he actually tells us, you know. He tells us it’s okay to show emotion. Especially to guys like Pat Kuntz and Sergio Brown, you know who have extravagant personalities. But he just blatantly tells us.

Q. Coach Weis talked about Mike Anello saying that the players get a big kick out of seeing you make good plays. Does he have a status on the team that people enjoy him more, or is he just one of the guys?

David Grimes: He’s just one of the guys, you know. We all like to see him go out there and make plays. He’s been doing it in practice, and it’s transferring over to the games. But he’s just one of the guys. You know, we always like to see him succeed.

Q. Golden was saying that he thinks that some of the work you guys do this summer, the chemistry has, you know, you have to put chemistry. You talked about that actually at the first press conference that you need to create some chemistry. Talk about how you go about do that and how you and Golden have done that?

Jimmy Clausen: Yeah, during the summertime, like I said, last year I wasn’t able to throw or do anything during the summertime because of my elbow surgery. But this year it’s great to just get out there with the guys in the summertime. Hang out, go for an hour and throw the ball.

We threw the ball on Mondays and Wednesdays around 5:30 for about an hour. Just go out and see what the guys are going to do in different situations. You know, just let them know what I’m seeing in this situation and what they’re going to do in this situation.

So I think it helped us tremendously. Not just the receivers, but the tight ends and the running backs. It helped us out a lot this year being able to go out there and get our timing down, get our chemistry down, because each and every series is different.

You’ve got Grimes who is a fast, quick guy in the slot. You’ve got Duval (Kamara) who is a big guy on the outside playing X. So there’s like two different positions. You’ve got to know what they’re going to do in different situations and their body types and speed and stuff like that. So it was a big, big help for us this year during the summertime.

Q. How’s your back?

David Grimes: It’s doing good, actually. I’m making some progress the last few days.

Q. What happened? Was it something you’ve had happen in the past here and there?

David Grimes: No, last Tuesday in practice coming in for a block, I strained my back. It’s been spazzing up the last few days.

Q. Do you feel like you’ll go on Saturday and feeling better?

David Grimes: Yeah, I’m feeling a lot better. And if I’m able to go Saturday, I will.

Q. Charlie talked about having sort of a refresher course on how to handle success and not get too far ahead of yourselves. What is going to go into that this week in that department for you guys?

David Grimes: I would say just to be on an even keel. Not ride that emotional roller coaster. We can’t get too high because we still have things to accomplish. And just tell the guys, you know, be excited about our two wins, but know that we still have to take care of business.

Jimmy Clausen: The same thing David said. I think the biggest thing for this team is just to go day by day, week by week.

Going into this season, our first task was San Diego State. That’s the only thing we were focused on. After we got that win, come Monday, we were focused on Michigan. That is the same thing we’re doing right now. We’re focused on Michigan State, and that’s it.

We’ve got to go out each and every day and get better. That is one of the biggest things for this team is we can’t take any days off. We have to go out each and every day and get better as a team. Get better as individuals, you know, offensively, defensively, special teams. We have to get better each and every day, so.

Q. What is your thought about two years ago going up to East Lansing and the way that game unfolded?

David Grimes: It was really cold standing on the sideline. No, what I remember was we were down in the first half. You know, we rallied back in the second half, and it was one of the most memorable games, you know, that I’ve been a part of. Had a great ending, you know.

Q. Was that kind of a defining moment for that team that season, do you think?

David Grimes: Possibly. From then on we went on a couple of game winning streak, but it definitely had a spark on our energy and the way we took every game each week. But it definitely had an affect on us.

Q. How limited did you feel last week? That meant you were out there and got into it a little bit. How did it feel out there running around?

David Grimes: At times it tightens up. But when I’m able to go, you know, I’ll go. It’s just a matter of how I’m feeling. When I can go, I will.

Q. Is it an unpredictable injury? You don’t really know how it’s going to be day to day?

David Grimes: Yeah, it could lock up on me right now. I’m just day to day, pretty much.

Q. Talk about just going on the road and that mentality that you guys need to take. You’ve been comfortable here the first two games, but it’s got to be a little bit different going some place like that.

David Grimes: Definitely. I think what our team has to realize is when we play this weekend we won’t have 80,000 fans screaming and providing energy for us.

We also know when we go on the road we have to provide the energy for ourselves. It’s a different environment, and Michigan State is a hostile environment. So the biggest thing is we’ve got to come together and find our energy.

Q. Describe that hostility. I know it’s not a night game, but it seems like it does get a little crazy there.

David Grimes: Yeah, Michigan State fans, I don’t know. I think they allow alcohol in the stadium (laughing). Their fans are great. It’s the atmosphere that we love to be a part of.

Q. When you think about going on the road and that challenge, it’s got to be kind of fun just to know it’s you against the world. You guys have faced that before?

Jimmy Clausen: Yeah, I kind of like it. A bunch of the guys in the locker room are ready to go on the road. We love playing at home in front of our fans and our students and stuff like that.

At the same time, when you go on the road you’ve got people yelling and screaming at you when you’re coming out. I think that gets us fired up. From our own perspective, I kind of like it when people are yelling at me. It gets me fired up and ready for the game.

Q. Do you have to be a little careful not to point at people and not do some of the things, or just be yourself and who cares if the crowd just gets riled up at you?

Jimmy Clausen: No, you’ve just got to be yourself. Go out there. You know what you have to do. You can’t let your emotions take over. You’ve just got to stay calm and enjoy the environment. Just go out there and play hard.

Q. Saturday you were talking about the offensive line. I don’t know if you were joking about going out to eat. Have you guys done that yet?

Jimmy Clausen: No, we haven’t. I’ve had a few tests. I’ve had two this past week right now, and I’ve got another one coming up. So I’m hopefully going to take them out tomorrow night, but, if not, I’ll take them out next week.

David Grimes: I’ll be there, too (laughing).

Q. Honestly, is that the most hostile atmosphere you’ve ever played in on the road two years ago at Michigan State?

David Grimes: Yeah, I would say it’s a tie between Michigan State and Penn State last year. It was pretty hostile in that stadium.

Q. Did you see that game (two years ago) when it was happening on television or have you ever seen a clip of it?

Jimmy Clausen: Yeah, I caught the end of it. I caught the end of the game.

Q. Would it matter someone saying hey, you should watch this or turn on the game? Or you go out somewhere and just try to get home in time to watch it?

Jimmy Clausen: I don’t remember. But I think by then I had already committed to Notre Dame, and I was watching them play and stuff like that.

Q. When you talk about your offense this season, the fact they’re a great reflection of what the O line has done. But can you talk about what you’ve done to keep it a zero at this point, personally?

Jimmy Clausen: Just got to be a quarterback. Go out there and play. In certain situations if a guy’s coming free, you can’t just stand there and take a sack, like I did last year a lot of times.

I think that’s a good thing for me, because last year like I said, I didn’t really know the protection. So now I do.

So if a guy comes free, I know someone missed a block or the back didn’t pick him up. If that’s my guy that’s coming free, I’ve got to get the ball out. But when stuff like that happens, you’ve just got to throw the ball away. I think that is one of the biggest things that I’ve done that’s helped the team this year is throw the ball away.

Q. You said you like when fans yell at you and point on you and say things. Was there something last year that really stuck out? Was there one thing that somebody said, a sign that you saw that really kind of stuck with you or you were like wow, that’s actually pretty good?

Jimmy Clausen: No. I like to go and play in away games back in high school. Going into environments that, you know, people are yelling and screaming at you. That gets you fired up.

When you’re at home, you get fired up. When you go to other places, people are yelling at you, screaming at you, saying all of these things to you and the team and stuff like that that’s what gets us fired up going to away games.

Q. So there is nothing that’s really stood up of out as far as one person saying something?

Jimmy Clausen: No, I can’t really say right now.

Q. You’ve had a connection with Carl, but who are some of the other guys on the team that you know well?

David Grimes: Ross Weaver, corner, Otis Wiley, the safety. Javon Ringer, Trevor Anderson, Mike Bell. I know a few guys.

Q. Any of these guys you keep in touch with in the off season when you’re home?

David Grimes: Not really. Sometimes when I used to go up there to visit my brother we’d hang out. But it’s not like I call the guys on a regular basis.

Q. Did your brother ever explain why they defended the 50 yard line at the end of that game?

David Grimes: I guess they didn’t want us to plant the flag. But I have no idea. He never told me.

Q. Have you talked to Carl this week, and do you guys have a friendly rivalry going? How do you deal with having the two teams?

David Grimes: Actually, my brother just recently transferred this past summer, so he’s no longer at Michigan State.

Q. How about when he was there? Did you guys ever talk during the week?

David Grimes: Oh, yeah. We talked all the time. Last year he had bragging rights at the dinner table. But the year before that, as you know, I did because we won. But there’s always been a rivalry in anything we’ve done because we’re so close.

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