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O'Brien Award snubs Clausen

Nov 23, 2009, 5:00 PM EST

The Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award announced its three finalists, and Jimmy Clausen was not one of them.

Houston’s Case Keenum, Texas’ Colt McCoy, and Florida’s Tim Tebow will attend the ESPNU College Football Awards Show December 10th, with the winner announced that evening.

Keenum leads the nation in passing yards, averaging 414 yards per game and leading the country with 36 touchdown passes against only 6 interceptions. He’s attempted 53 more passes than the next closest quarterback in the country, but even then he’s averaging 8.3 yards per attempt, good for 16th in the country.

Tebow’s invitation was practically a foregone conclusion, even if his numbers were fairly pedestrian compared to his Heisman winning sophomore season. The same could be said for Colt McCoy, who fared quite well last awards season, even if he did lose the Heisman to close friend and rival quarterback Sam Bradford.

Yet it’s tough to compare the three finalists’ numbers with Clausen’s and make the argument that Jimmy should be staying home. Jimmy has a better passer rating than Tebow and McCoy, averages more yards an attempt than Keenum and McCoy, and has thrown less interceptions than all of them.

Still, with Notre Dame’s late season swoon, it’s easy to understand why Clausen didn’t get the nod over Keenum, a quarterback that is putting up absolutely gaudy numbers in a pass-happy system.

  1. sharkey - Nov 23, 2009 at 7:26 PM

    He’ll get it next year. (I hope)

  2. Jan - Nov 23, 2009 at 9:22 PM

    Agreed Sharkey…..maybe the silver lining – one more “chip” to tip the balance in favor of Jimmy deciding to come back next year.

  3. sharkey - Nov 23, 2009 at 10:34 PM

    Thanks,Jan. Ultimately it will depend on if any NFL team really needs him. If you remember, his older brother, Casey, who played for Tennessee, was projected to go high, but saw his draft status tank.That will be the deciding factor, not Charlie’s firing.

  4. Jan - Nov 23, 2009 at 11:37 PM

    Good point….I also think it will depend upon which NFL team is most likely to draft him. I remember Rick Mirer going high in the draft to the Seattle Seahawks. That “placement” (Bledsoe went to the N.E. Patriots in the same draft) was not the only factor in Rick’s less than stellar pro career, but I contend if was a major factor.
    I’m glad that Jimmy will have the integrity (and personal networking contacts within the NFL) of ND’s coaching staff to help guide his decisions……as will all other ND players.

  5. brandon - Nov 23, 2009 at 11:58 PM

    Source: Clausen punched by irate fan
    source: espn.com
    What the hell is the matter with so many of our fans……..??????
    We beat down our coach so badly, and yet still expect him to be perfect. And now, literally, we beat down our super star QB……
    I am a die hard ND fan, if u cut me, i will bleed blue and gold. I live and breath notre dame football. But i am ashamed at how much we disgrace ourselves. The words spoken and actions taken by people that call themselves my peers and comrades are disgusting to me. Where is our integrity? our honor? our tradition? all things that made me fall in love with ND as a kid because other football programs didnt have that. or if they did, they couldnt compete on the level of a program as powerful as the great and mighty Notre Dame…..now what are we? are we the Catholics? or the freakin Convicts? You tell me??????/
    Im so sick of it. Look at yourself in the mirror, and ask yourself, are you part of the solution? or the problem?

  6. StephenOfTroy - Nov 24, 2009 at 2:02 AM

    How is it a snub, unless you contend that four QB’s should have been invited instead of three?
    Keenum averages 414 yards a game. He has more TD’s than anyone. Those are two of the three most critical stats for a QB. The other stat is wins vs. losses.
    Which brings us to the other two QB’s who were invited. Tebow and McCoy are undefeated this year. Tebow is practically a football deity, and he plays well despite the enormous target on his back (and his team’s collective back) each and every game. McCoy is consistently outstanding, which pains me to say, given who he plays for.
    How, given that these three QB’s are obviously so deserving, can you argue that Clausen should have gone in one of their places? He got sacked twice in a row to end ND’s hopes against NAVY, for crying out loud. He’s about to go 6-6 against a weak schedule. He lost twice at home on Senior Day. I think the biggest negative factors he has to overcome are his sacks and his losses.
    Bottom line, a quarterback is supposed to lead his team to victory, and the best quarterback is probably not one who loses as often as he wins.
    My money is on McCoy to win it. I don’t see anything wrong with not inviting Clausen. You may as well have invited Terrell Pryor.

  7. mrrandolph - Nov 24, 2009 at 7:15 AM

    Stephenoftroy is right. This is not a snub. I don’t know that much about Keenum but McCoy and Tebow are very deserving of the award.
    McCoy has set the career record for wins by a starting QB. And, Tebow is one of the best leaders I have seen in college football and would be a great representative for this or any university along with McCoy.
    A QB is measured by wins has 16 wins as a starter. McCoy and Tebow will both have 13 or 14 this year.
    If you want to talk about award snubs, let us talk about the Rocket losing the Heisman to Ty Detmer. Since that night, I have never put much stock into awards.

  8. NDFAN401 - Nov 24, 2009 at 10:01 AM

    StephenofTroy and mrrandolph, Both of you gauys make good points about this award. Personally, If I was Jimmy Clausen I would have to take a good look at myself if I was nominated for any awards. Jimmy’s performance this year has been subtle at best, not in the same category as Tim Tebow or Colt McCoy. That being said however I do believe that this season can be one of Jimmy’s biggest springboards to next year if he returns to South Bend. In all likelihood he will have a new head coach and coaching staff and it will be largely his job to put the football team and program on his shoulders and carry them forward. The 2010 season will most likely define Jimmy Clausen.

  9. 1988CHAMPS - Nov 24, 2009 at 10:51 AM

    I agree with the notion that Clausen’s stock is dropping rather quickly given the team’s recent self-implosion. If Clausen leaves for the NFL it will not be in a stretched Hummer and all the fanfare. If you leave early you better be riding one hell of a wave (like a championship or a Heisman). Sam Bradford’s decision is understandable given the risk of his stock dropping if he returns to OU and sustains another injury (plus he’s still riding the Heisman wave). My opinion is centered around the quarterback position since it is arguably the hardest position to adapt to in the NFL. Many players jump to the NFL early, but rookie quarterbacks tend to get eaten alive in the NFL (Matt Ryan being the exception last year, but Mark Sanchez is more typical). Clausen should stay one more year and hone his skills and more importantly WIN MORE GAMES!

  10. NDfan2000 - Nov 24, 2009 at 12:25 PM

    You guys have it all wrong. Wins and losses in college matter to Heismen voters, not to NFL scouts. How many BCS wins did Stafford have at Georgia before he was taken #1 in last year’s draft.
    Jimmy Clausen is the best quarterback in college football. You can blame him for being on a mediocre team with a terrible O-line and defense, but the guy is by far the best prepared to succeed in the NFL.
    Someone mentioned sacks, as if that is Jimmy’s fault and not the line’s. To me, taking all those sacks and finishing games is a sign of toughness. And what about all of those fourth quarter comebacks? How many times has McCoy or Tebow had to play nail biters and actually step up their game?
    And let’s not forget that Jimmy Claussen is completely trained in a pro-style offense. He is a drop back passer and throws with great accuracy. And everyone knows how tough Weis’s scheme is to master.
    If you don’t believe me on the draft, google some of the projections. Mel Kiper Jr. thinks he may be the number one quarterback taken and possibly #1 overall. Tebow will be lucky to go in the first round. How do you reconcile that to the Heismen and other college awards without admitting they are nothing more than popularity contests?

  11. NDFAN401 - Nov 24, 2009 at 1:33 PM

    NDfan2000, O.k., I agree with some of your observations about Jimmy Clausen, but be careful about quoting anyone from ESPN, especially Mel Kiper Jr. You want to talk about poor information and even crazier picks Mel Kiper Jr is definetly your man.

  12. mrrandolph - Nov 24, 2009 at 2:24 PM

    I am just curious and would appreciate your feedback. If Tim Tebow or Colt McCoy the QB of the Irish, how many victories would they have? Victories not stats?

  13. Grandpashyena - Nov 24, 2009 at 3:33 PM

    All these awards are about the players work in college. Not how well he will do in the pros. But again, the pros make mistakes in their accessments like Leaf. I think Clausen willhave a fine pro career and if he plays some more in college he will do well there. Though I went to UT, I think that this year Keenum has done more with less that McCoy or Tebow.

  14. TBoneND - Nov 24, 2009 at 3:40 PM

    The O’Brien Award is about the best QB not the best team.
    Tebow dosen’t deserve to be in contention. Not that he isn’t a good athlete, but he has not the arm of the other three.
    JC has the most accurate arm of the 4 and has the fewest Int’s.
    JC should be in and Tebow out, from a QB standpoint.

  15. NDfan2000 - Nov 24, 2009 at 3:55 PM

    Guys – I may have been a little over the top but only because JC deserves better than he is getting. I can’t guarantee he will be successful in the pros, but I don’t think you can define the talent of a QB by wins and losses in college. JC is simply a more accurate quarterback than Tebow and has a stronger arm than McCoy. From what I haven’t seen as much of Keenum but his schedule has been very weak. That’s not to take anything away from him, his stats are lights out and he deserves to be considered, I just don’t think he’s as proven as the others. (I feel the same way about Kellen Moore, btw.) But what I think really separates JC from the rest is how he plays the game. Watch him read a defense every time he steps to the line. Watch his progressions and check downs. And also watch the accuracy of his out-patterns, which everyone that has played QB knows is the all around the toughest throw in football.
    Any time I see Tim Tebow’s name come up for an award I can’t take it seriously. For being on the best team in college football, his stats and play are very mediocre. Emotionally, he is an incredible leader and I respect him a great deal. He probably is the MVP of his team. But let’s call a spade a spade. Like someone said I’d love to see him play at ND where he can’t rely on a #1 defense with linebackers that are poking people’s eyes out to win games.

  16. willmose - Nov 24, 2009 at 5:28 PM

    Sorry, I could not disagree more with idea that Jimmy “I can take a punch” Clausen is one of the top 3 QBs in college football. Good QBs find a way to win. Jimmy finds a way to lose. Take your pick with McCoy, Tebow or Keenum at QB the Irish are 9-2 instead of 6-5. Again, I find it interesting the ND fans keep saying wins and loses don’t count. I do agree that ND is the best five lost independent team in FBS football.

  17. kinganthony - Nov 24, 2009 at 8:45 PM

    If Jimmy is smart he will go pro…see Bradford. Why would Jimmy stay? There is only one reason Jimmy would stay in College and that’s to beat USC. But then he woke up….if you couldn’t beat SC while Barkley was a freshman and the Defense is down (8 of last years starters are in the NFL), forget about beating them next year in CAL. Don’t blow it. This year your hot, next year maybe not so much…see Leinart.

  18. kinganthony - Nov 24, 2009 at 8:47 PM

    If Jimmy is smart he will go pro…see Bradford. Why would Jimmy stay? There is only one reason Jimmy would stay in College and that’s to beat USC. But then he woke up….if you couldn’t beat SC while Barkley was a freshman and the Defense is down (8 of last years starters are in the NFL), forget about beating them next year in CAL. Don’t blow it. This year your hot, next year maybe not so much…see Matt Leinart.

  19. kinganthony - Nov 24, 2009 at 9:01 PM

    I have to agree that Tebow is not a great Quarterback. He is a great competitor but not a great QB and he will get exposed when he gets to the pros. At best he is a late 4th round draft pick and that will be a gamble.

  20. StephenOfTroy - Nov 25, 2009 at 3:15 AM

    NDfan2000: I’m not going to bother trying to tell you that Jimmy Clausen is not the Second Coming. I don’t think you’re objective enough to hear me, if I tried.
    But I WILL say that sacks are not entirely attributable to the O-line. Most of the time, a QB is supposed to avoid taking a sack if at all possible. Throw the ball away if you cannot scramble or dump it off to a back. But don’t take the sack. It is the QB’s job NOT to take sacks in certain situations. Top of the list in the Situations NOT To Take Sacks:
    1. Last drive of a game.
    2. When you are backed up against your own end zone.
    3. When you cannot afford to lose any yards or else you are out of field goal range.
    4. When it’s 4th down.
    Clausen has done all four of these things, some of them MULTIPLE times. Yes, ND’s line sucks. But that’s no excuse. Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers, by comparison, knows his line sucks. And the ball comes out of his hands quickly, since he knows that he won’t have much time. Clausen holds on to the ball instead of throwing it away. And his team loses. Hence, he’s not invited to the O’Brien Award ceremony.
    Spare me about the 4th quarter comebacks Clausen has been involved in. Others, including me, have pointed out that his stats are padded by playing a significant portion of most of his games against soft, “prevent” defenses. But the bigger point is that if the team (and Clausen) didn’t sleepwalk through the first 3 quarters, you wouldn’t need to come back (or, more often, ALMOST come back) in the 4th quarter. By your logic, poking yourself in the eye with a stick is great idea, since it feels so good when you stop doing it.
    Bottom line, Clausen plays in a system that almost NEVER runs the ball and is totally designed to maximize his stats. It is churlish to denigrate Tim Tebow for not having stats or an arm. He doesn’t play in a pass-happy, pro-style offense. And he’s not asked to throw the ball deep all that often. If he played at ND under Weis, you guys wouldn’t be 6-5. You’d be 8-3 or better. (NO WAY would you have lost to Navy or UConn.)
    Just like you can only play the games that are on your schedule, you can only run the system your coaches have put in place. Tebow does that to a T. He wins, and he RUNS the ball when his team needs yards. Whether he has a rocket for an arm isn’t the issue. He has the brains, the guts, the leadership, and the lower-body strength to get the job done. Clausen may have a good arm and may be able to throw the deep out, but he cannot throw very well while lying on his back.

  21. StephenOfTroy - Nov 25, 2009 at 3:25 AM

    Oh, and mrrandolph, I COMPLETELY agree with you about Rocket. He got shafted. Any fool could see that he was better than Detmer.

  22. mrrandolph - Nov 25, 2009 at 8:13 AM

    Here is the beauty of Tebow and I will paraphrase. After last year’s SEC Championship Game our own Lou Holtz had this exchange his Tim Tebow.
    Lou- Tim I just had a conversation with an NFL scout and they have projected you the fifth best pick in the draft.
    Tim- Really
    Lou – Yea, at linebacker
    Tim- That is ok I just want a chance to play.
    And, other QBs who don’t have rockets for arms – both Mannings, Kurt Warner, Rivers, Joe Montana just to name a few.

  23. Rex - Nov 25, 2009 at 8:25 AM

    Brandon,
    Two things with re: to your comment.
    1. First you superstar qb is not that good.
    2. Second – he’s a pompous @$$. I’m surprised more have punched him.

  24. sharkey - Nov 25, 2009 at 6:51 PM

    I totally agree. There’s no point in his or GT staying especially if their agents can work it out. i.e. Sanchez and Jets. I would be the first to encourage them to leave. I just dont want what happened to Casey or Brady Quinn to happen to him.
    The first comment was only a wish or daydream.

  25. Brad - Nov 26, 2009 at 11:47 PM

    Why would he be considered? He sucks!

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