Sharpley opens up about Weis, Clausen, etc.

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Tim Prister over at IrishIllustrated.com 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
NFL.”

* 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.