During yesterday’s player press conferences, Jimmy Clausen made the pretty obvious revelation that he’s not 100 percent. Then, he made a little bit of news by revealing that he might not be 100 percent for the rest of the season.
“It’s just a nagging injury,” Clausen said. “I don’t think I’ll be healthy until the end of the season or after the season. Next week is going to be big for me just getting my rest and resting my toe as much as I can.”
The statement itself made news. It was featured at all the mainstream sports websites around the net, and surely sounds as if it’s a injury situation that could affect the Irish as the season rolls along. But in all reality, will it?
I’m no doctor (and I haven’t stayed at a Holiday Inn Express for almost a year), but knowing Clausen’s roll in the Irish offense, and knowing the effect turf toe can have on an athlete, I’m not really all that worried about the situation. The biggest thing I wish people would’ve asked yesterday was if Clausen would be able to play under center. Somebody hinted at the question, asking if the Irish will operate more out of the shotgun now, and Clausen was pretty noncommittal.
“It really doesn’t matter,” Clausen responded. “When you’re out there playing you’ve got to run around, throw the ball. Obviously for me I’ve got to plant off my back foot when I’m throwing the ball, which I had a little difficulty last week and Saturday doing, but it’s getting better day by day, and that’s just how it is right now.”
Last week, Clausen’s foot injury took away the under-center game for the Irish, and forced Charlie Weis to keep Clausen back in the shotgun to ease the pain that happened when Clausen dropped back. But it also made running the ball harder, and created an awkward power running option when ND had to gain a tough yard. With Washington getting carved up last week for over 200 yards rushing from Stanford’s Toby Gerhart, you can bet the Irish will line up Clausen under center and a running back deep in the backfield and try to pound the rock. This will also open up some play-action passing chances, where Clausen might be at his best.
So while Clausen’s long-term injury prognosis might be something media members and Irish fans fret about, I’ll let Jimmy himself have the last word on his injured foot dilemma.
“To be honest,” Clausen said. “I’m not very mobile as it is, whether I’m healthy or not.”