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Quarterbacks preview: time to make the leap

Sep 4, 2009, 7:00 AM EST

As a sophomore, quarterback Brady Quinn showed signs of greatness. According to his official bio, Quinn “produced the finest statistical sophomore season of any quarterback in Notre Dame history.”

His numbers in 2004:

12 games: 191-353, 54% accuracy, 2,586 yards, 17 TDs, 10 INTs.

For all the talk of Jimmy Clausen and his uneven play, here are the numbers from his sophomore season:

13 games: 268-440, 61% accuracy, 3,172 yards, 25 TDs, 17 INTs.

If Quinn’s sophomore season was the best in Notre Dame’s history, than Jimmy Clausen’s isn’t that far behind.

Jimmy Clausen will never be your average starting quarterback. He decided that years ago, when he decided to show up to his signing day announcement at the College Football Hall of Fame in a stretch Hummer limo and flash his high school championship rings.

But Clausen still has the ceiling to be the top-flight quarterback many believed he was. He may never live up to master promoter and QB coach Steve Clarkson’s proclamation that Clausen was the “LeBron James of high school football,” but he still very well could be the #1 pick in the NFL Draft.

Before you laugh, consider the following statistics. Clausen’s sophomore season was more impressive than Matthew Stafford’s, who ended up getting his name called first after his junior season, a season where his numbers made a significant improvement.

Now Clausen is expected to become the quarterback that many believed him to be. He’s in a perfect situation, backup Dayne Crist knows his role as the heir apparent, and third stringer Evan Sharpley is complacent running the scout team and getting his masters in coaching as a player-apprentice this season.

But in the end, it comes down to Clausen. Will he make the strides in his junior year that turned Brady Quinn into a Heisman candidate? Will he show the leadership and resolve that Quinn did when he turned Notre Dame’s offense into one of the most prolific in the country? Will he become the man under center, the guy that Weis can trust to check down the offense, to open up the voluminous playbook?

Notre Dame’s season goes as Jimmy Clausen goes. And just like the theme of the season, it’s finally time for us to see Jimmy Clausen do it, instead of just hearing how he will. 

  1. Bryan - Sep 4, 2009 at 12:42 PM

    “Notre Dame’s season goes as Jimmy Clausen goes.”
    I obviously agree that Claussen’s development is essential for Notre Dame to have a successful season, but I think the season goes as the offensive line goes. Both the pass blocking and especially run blocking need to improve for this to really be a great year.

  2. robertg - Sep 4, 2009 at 3:31 PM

    1. having seen up close all of the dedicated preparation and the talent, depth of talent, and development of talent and experience, including jimmy clausen’s, talent and depth of talent and experince that notre dame has not had since 1993, we have no reason to believe that notre dame will not have an excellent season in 2009 and in future years.
    2. charlie weis and his staff have done an outstanding job of rebuilding notre dame’s recruiting network, which lazy bob davie had let die on the vine.
    3. charlie and his staff and notre dame’s dedicated real students who also play football have worked extremely hard to add the experience and player development to the great talent that charlie and his staff have brought to notre dame since charlie arrived.
    4. the answer to the question”can notre dame return to plsying football at the highest level without cheating and without lowering notre dame’s very high academic and character standards?” has been answered with a resounding YES!!
    5. we will enjoy 2009 and future seasons, not that we ever doubted that charlie and his staff and notre dame’s fine students who also play football would be able to turn things around with honesty and integrity or would ever allow any number of bad seasons on paper or vicious attacks in the press to affect our loyalty or devotion to notre dame.
    GO IRISH!!!let the games begin

  3. Larry - Sep 4, 2009 at 5:44 PM

    ND definitely needs a strong running game to complement it’s extraordinary passing offense. An improved O-line and running attack must mesh for this to happen. The D if not great should be good though a bit young and that will allow ND to outscore the opposition. I look forward with great anticipation to the coming season and a better product than the last couple of years.Last but not least, the recruitment of top notch talent and character cannot be overstated.

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