While perusing some spring football articles, I came across one courtesy of the AP talking about how Jimmy Clausen is trying to bulk up for this Fall. You remember Jimmy right? The hype machine of a quarterback from California who went to Notre Dame and promptly was buried under a mountain of defenders? Here, this should jog your memory:
After a soap opera surrounding the quarterback position for the first game of the season, we saw Jimmy start every game for the Irish. Well, those games he was healthy for. What you see above is the main reason he missed a couple games last season. I’m no Notre Dame scholar, but that 2007 offensive line had to be one of, if not the worst in school history.
Thanks to backup Evan Sharpley, the only other scholarship quarterback on the roster until Fall, playing baseball right now, Clausen is getting all the reps and attention he can get. There were some reports recently that Brady Quinn got 19 of Charlie Weis’s 20 allowed coaching hours a week, so all that attention could help him improve greatly if he can improve to the degree that Quinn did. He’ll need some extra help to break through his familial ceiling, given that his brothers Casey and Rick (to a lesser extent) had nice college careers at Tennessee, but no pro success.
The report is that he’s gained 18 pounds in the off season, putting him at 212 pounds on his 6’3″ frame. He’s a believer, saying the added bulk with help him with, “speed, getting out of the pocket, breaking tackles and stuff like that.” If you notice, none of that has to do with being a pocket passer, the thing that Notre Dame recruited him to be. It amounts to an admission that he expects to spend a good deal of time under duress this season.
I don’t expect Notre Dame to go 3-9 again next season, since the extra year of experience for all of the young players will give them a boost. Just glancing at the schedule, the games against San Diego State, Stanford, Navy, and Syracuse all look like wins even if the team isn’t any better. I don’t know if enough other problems will be solved it hit 6 wins and earn a trip to the 1st Annual Nowhere Bowl in Lubbock, Texas, but with North Carolina, Washington, Michigan State, and Purdue on the schedule anything is possible.
The reports so far from Notre Dame’s spring game is that Clausen performed very well, and could be ready for a breakout season. We’ll see, but if that happens you can expect to hear something again about how it had to do with the time he spent eating cheeseburgers, err, bulking up this spring.