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Sharpley opens up about Weis, Clausen, etc.

Jul 20, 2010, 1:36 PM EDT

Tim Prister over at has a pretty in-depth Q&A with former quarterback and current minor-league baseball player Evan Sharpley about his five years in the Notre Dame football program. Evan opened up about the former coaching staff, his fellow quarterback Jimmy Clausen, and what may have gone wrong during those five years.

This is one of the more revealing looks into the Weis regime, and Sharpley was there for just about all of it. While most of the article is behind a pay-wall, here are a few interesting tidbits.

* Sharpley was honest about his relationship with Charlie Weis:

“At the beginning when he came in, the attitude he was trying to instill was one in which he felt he needed
to assert himself with power. His style is well documented. At that
point, it wasn’t really possible to have a relationship with him per se.
But towards the end of my career, it was different. He was good at
helping me figure out my baseball-football schedule. As a team, we had respect for him, all of our coaches, and our game plan.”

* His relationship with fellow quarterback Jimmy Clausen was understandably complex:

“On the field and in the classroom, it was good. We were both there for
the same reason. Obviously, we wanted the program to win. But off the
field, it wasn’t like we were going out to lunch or spending a lot of
time together. That was one of the hard things my junior year… We are definitely two different people, and I think that’s one of the
reasons we didn’t communicate much off the field.”

On Clausen as a teammate and why he came to Notre Dame:

“At times, and definitely early in his career, he had a lot of growing up
to do. We gave him some kudos as a quarterback group as he matured a
little bit. At times I think he maybe came off as he wasn’t there for
the right reasons. That’s something obviously he can answer… You can see from this past year that he used it to catapult him into the

* One of the more interesting tidbits revealed was the game plan for the 2007 season offensively. From Sharpley’s description, it seems like the change to a spread attack similar to the one Rich Rodriguez employed at West Virginia was an offense the team planned on playing for much of the season, not simply for the opening game with Demetrius Jones.

“That three-win season, we definitely should have won more than that. We
came into that season with kind of a new offense, similar to West
Virginia’s. The only problem was that we didn’t have Pat White or Steve
Slaton running it. Once that didn’t work, we didn’t – at least in my
opinion – have a lot of options to go to. In a lot of those games, I
thought we had great game plans and personally, I wish I would have been
able to play more.”


Some very insightful stuff from Sharpley, who is a good reminder of the type of great student-athletes Notre Dame can develop, even if their playing career doesn’t go as planned. Sharpley expressed his wishes to come back and work with the program or pursue a Master’s degree, and the relationship he developed with Coach Kelly, who recruited him to Central Michigan might help make that a reality.

  1. piratey - Jul 20, 2010 at 3:16 PM

    Can Joe Theismann replace Hayden please? You work for NBC Keith…make it happen, no more alumni of rival schools or guys who torched us for 5+ TDs

  2. what what - Jul 20, 2010 at 3:38 PM

    the irish suk and are irrelevant…why even have this webpage???

  3. Mickey - Jul 20, 2010 at 4:07 PM

    If the Irish are irrelevant and there’s no reason for this webpage to exist what does the fact that you’re commenting on it say about your life?

  4. piratey - Jul 20, 2010 at 4:12 PM

    If they are so irrelevant then how come you are wasting your time posting here? Irrelevant is UCLA football

  5. DD - Jul 20, 2010 at 9:08 PM

    I have been waiting for years for this announcing team to be replaced. Now that Haden is gone, please, please bring in Tony Roberts to do the P/P. I have to think he would jump at the chance. What a way to usher in the Kelly era. Real broadcast talent that wouldn’t be so anti-ND.

  6. Terrence - Jul 20, 2010 at 10:55 PM

    I can’t understand some people. Well, at least those who are posting here. Pat Haden anti-ND? Sure, he torched us for the 5 passing TD’s. That’s cuz he was GOOD. But at no time during any ND games for which he was color analyst (either on CBS or NBC) did I hear anti-ND commentary. He was honest in his appraisals, which is better than most analysts. And, did anyone hear teh ESPN interview he did today? He mentioned the fact that ND is one of the schools that do things right in intercollegiate athletics (Stanford and Duke were others he mentioned). I don’t think that’s anti-ND. Just the opposite. I’m just saying…..

  7. FLOYD INMAN - Jul 21, 2010 at 8:26 AM

    I now believe one of the reasons to have this web page is to listen to our critics. Notre Dame is trying very hard to re-establish their football program the way it was for many years and it dosen’t help for their fans to give up and quit on them. You must believe hard enough and it will come true.

  8. jimbasil - Jul 21, 2010 at 10:52 AM

    ….It’s part of your therapy.
    We’re all hoping you have been taking your medication.

  9. Major Mike - Jul 21, 2010 at 3:41 PM

    I agree with you. While I was dubious of a former Trojan as a color commentator for ND football games, Pat earned my respect, even when ND played USC. He is fair, balanced in temprament, and gave credit on both sides of the field. So any demerits he gave ND were definitely deserved. And he didn’t shy away from praise for Brady Quinn and Jeff Samadjia, or Jimmy Clausen and Michael FLoyd or Golden Tate. He was sometimes effusive in his praise of ND talent. That’s just a great former ball player for you. A real student of the game. I will miss him.

  10. Major Mike - Jul 21, 2010 at 3:52 PM

    You know you should audition for that TV Show America’s Got Talent(Not). Then I could really laugh at you, or give you the buzzer. Or mybe you could be a sideshow at the San Diego Zoo. Where did you learn to spell? And did no one ever bother to teach you manners and proper speech? Not only is Notre Dame the richest tradition in College Football history, they are one of very few schools that get a dedicated NBC national airing of their home games during football season. Not even Florida, Ohio State, LSU, Texas, Oklahoma or USC can match that. So whether you like them or not is totally irrelevant. You have been trumped by milions of American TV viewers, and many more hundreds of thousands of TV viewers around the globe in foreign countries. Notre Dame is definitely doing something right. Don’t pout, but you are wrong.
    Major Mike

  11. irishfanintx - Jul 21, 2010 at 6:43 PM

    what what, never mind. I don’t have that much time.

  12. Chucket - Jul 21, 2010 at 6:45 PM

    Pat Haden (will people learn how to spell?) did not play favorites in his commentary for ND games. I know because I took in all those games on TV…without exception. Sure, the idea of favoritism for USC entered my mind, but I never heard any from his commentary.
    Now, would Conan O’Brien be a good substitute? Probably Joe Theismann! But Joe Montana would seem to get tongue-tied.

  13. KMAC HURLS - Jul 21, 2010 at 11:40 PM

    Let’s spread the love, people. Compassion is why Jesus was who he was. Now fast forward 2,000 years: Wouldn’t it be beautiful if BK would take CW’s talent and develop a juggernaut so dorks like whatwhat just shut-up?

  14. Jack - Jul 23, 2010 at 4:23 PM

    I agree that ND could have won more games than they did in their 3 -9 year. The problem was that Weis was a great QB coach without a QB and had no fall back plan when the blocking wasn’t adequate to protect Jones. Now whether Jones could have made it with great blocking is something we will never know.
    I went 2-7 in high school one year and 0-9 in community college both as a player – and one thing both teams had in common was the Senior people who were supposed to be the leaders weren’t and the coach didn’t push us hard enough in terms of conditioning.
    Now my high school coach made up for that in spades the new year – we were in better condition than every team we played (8-3) and my JC coach was fired at the end of the year.
    But coach Weis kept making the same mistake year after year – conditioning is job one. Kelly has figured that out – pick up the pace and teach at the same time – you only have so many hours and you can do both if you are clever. That’s why I think the never few years at ND are going to be very satisfying for the fans.

  15. Jack - Jul 23, 2010 at 4:28 PM

    By the way I was in LA at the game when Pat smoked us. And Pat was good – so was Anthony Davis. But the real star was the heat – it was at least 80 degrees that day – it was still in the 70’s at night when the game ended – the real star for USC was the weather.

  16. Ted - Jul 24, 2010 at 9:57 AM

    I agree with you completely…Haden was a very good analyst and called it like he saw it. Many times taking jabs at the ref-ing (especially the Big Ten & Big East officials) from last year for the horrible calls/missed calls. Wish him well and should allow for a new interesting crew!

  17. ObieKnobbe - Jul 26, 2010 at 10:25 PM

    I always thought pat did a great job announcing games and not being bias at all… I almost always felt like he was on ND’s side and after his interview with ESPN how can you hate on the guy… He had absolutely nothing negative to say about ND and he gave us the uttermost respect for our university and football program. Happy to hear he is going out there to clean up U$C and wish him the best of luck.

  18. van - Jul 27, 2010 at 7:39 PM

    hey fuck face if you dont like the irish then dont come to this web site you fuck

  19. DocHR - Jul 29, 2010 at 10:58 PM

    I’m adding my voice to the support of Pat Haden. I think he did a good job, and quite frankly, I would have expected worse from anyone from the School-I-Love-to-Hate. It turned out that I often forgot he was from the School-I-Love-to-Hate. Some fresh blood in the booth would be great, however; a way to really clean the slate for the new era.
    Side note: Keith, you’ve somehow really cleaned up this blog from some of last year’s contributors (you know who I mean). Keep up the great work. This is my go-to spot after every game, and it’s looking like it will be populated by real fans this year.

  20. terry - Aug 2, 2010 at 2:28 PM

    Jack – it was hot on both sides of the field. No excuses – and I am an Irish fan.
    van – go wash your mouth out with soap. naughty naughty
    what what – work on your spelling

  21. Dave Priester - Aug 2, 2010 at 4:40 PM

    Why are you wasting YOUR time reading it then?

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