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April 19, 2008

Jimmy Clausen

Q. Can you talk just a little about how you feel like spring is over now compared to a year ago?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: I feel great. Just coming out of this spring, you just want to come in and get better each and every day. I think that's what we did, and, you know, we accomplished our goal.

Q. What about your confidence level?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: My confidence level, you know, it's great right now. I'm just trying to get the timing down with the receivers, and, you know, get the offense ready to go for this year.

Q. How do you think you played?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: I played all right. I could have done a lot of things better than I did. But we just wanted to come out and work hard and try to get better like we did all spring.

Q. What was going through your mind? It's just a scrimmage, just a practice game. It's kind of cool, you had an opportunity to win the game with a drive?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: Oh, it was great. It was pretty much just like a game situation. In the fourth quarter, you know, we have to score to win. And, you know, Duval made a great catch, just threw it up there. That's the kind of confidence we need to have on this team. You know, when we need a big play, Duval just said throw it up. I lit it up to him, and he went up and got it for me.

Q. How much better do you like to go through this as the starter, instead of one of three guys to be the starter. Not just today, but the whole week?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: I wouldn't say like it. But it feels good just going out there every day with the team and the guys and just trying to get better each day.

Q. Do you feel like this is your team, Jimmy, as far as from the quarterback position?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: Yeah, I think so. When you're a quarterback, and I think guys are looking up to you especially on the offense. I'm trying to help those guys in whatever way I can. I think I'm trying to do that right now.

Q. Coach said that the 57-yard pass on the last drive that you physically couldn't have made that last season. Can you talk about your arm strength this time last year?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: You know, I think you guys can see it out there for yourselves. You know, last year I wasn't real healthy coming off the elbow surgery and being hurt throughout the season. You know, I feel great right now. I feel 100% back to where I'm supposed to be. And it's just great to throw it as far as I can.

Q. How much more confidence does that give you with the added arm strength?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: It gives me a lot of confidence. Being at 100% is a lot different than being hurt. I just feel great right now. I'm happy that we came out of spring this way, and everyone's pretty much healthy.

Q. Is it a relief to be able to uncork one like that?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: It was a little frustrating last year, but that's just what happened. You know, I had the surgery and I was feeling banged up. Obviously, I wasn't 212 pounds like I am now. I was like 195 all last year, and real skinny and stuff like that. But I feel great right now. It just feels good to be healthy.

Q. When you hit that pass and you hit golden, was there a feeling you had at that point? Or did you realize that you did something that, like Charlie said, you couldn't have possibly done last year?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: Yeah, I think I was just into the game. Looking back right now, like coach said, I couldn't have done that last year with being unhealthy and stuff like that.

Q. Do you think Kamara had his foot in on that?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: Oh, yeah. He definitely had a foot in. He probably had two feet in. The defensive guys were saying he wasn't in, but I know he was in.

Q. How does the offensive line, how do they compare now to last year?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: You know, I think they're just a lot closer. You know, they came together after last season. A lot of people were being critics of them, stuff like that. You know, they just came together and said, you know, we need to do this. And they came together as a unit. Not just the five of them, but all the offensive line. I think they're making really big strides now.

Q. I realize it's only spring. But how much pressure is there on this team do you feel as well, so the 3 and 9 doesn't happen again?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: Well, when you come to a school like Notre Dame, there's always going to be pressure. It's a big time school, and you know there's going to be pressure each and every year whether you win a National Championship or you've got to come back and win another National Championship or like the season last year, going 3 and 9.
There's always going to be high expectations, because this is Notre Dame, this is as big as it gets. We're just happy trying to get better each and every day.

Q. Everybody says that you're swinging the ball with zip on it. Is there like a guy that you've watched growing up that had a great release or great zip? Who is your guy?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: There wasn't really anyone in particular. But my quarterback coach, Steve Clarkson, you know, he worked with guys like John Elway who had a real quick release. And guys like Dan Marino. I watched tape on both of those guys. They probably had the quickest release in the NFL and stuff like that. So I just try to mimic what they do, and try to get the ball as quick as I can.

Q. Do you have a list of things that you want to accomplish personally going through the summer?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: Not really. I just think the biggest thing is, you know, to get this team ready to go for September 6 or whenever we play San Diego State. You know, we have to do a lot of things from right now to September 6th to get ready. And you know, I'm just going to work as hard as I can, and the team as hard as I can to get ready.

Q. Can you talk about the touchdown to Duval. The pressure situation, is it pretty cool to end with a touchdown in fourth down?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: It really was. When we were on the sidelines, we were going to run a fade to one of our receivers. And Coach is like we're going to 18. And I looked at Duval and said, Are you going to catch it or not? And he was like, Yeah, I'm going to catch it. And I was like, You better go up and get it because I'm throwing it up. So I just threw it up to him, and you guys saw what happened.

Q. Was that a nice memory to take into the fall, something positive like that? To have a winning drive to go up there to make that pressure throw?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: I think so. For the offense, it was a great job for us. We were down six points. And if you get a drive like that and go down and score and win the game, it's big for the offense.

Q. Did you get any grief from the defense for taking a knee there and not giving them a chance to score a couple of points?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: No, they were getting mad, because they said if you take a knee that the defense gets one point. They were trying to get that extra point to make it go into overtime.

Q. Are you eating steak on Monday?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: We're eating steak on Monday, not hot dogs.

Q. How has your chemistry developed?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: It's developed a lot. Not with just Duval, but the whole receiving corps. We've worked hard in the off-season throwing individual routes, seven-on-seven, trying to get the chemistry down and getting better.

Q. (Indiscernible)?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: Yeah, yeah it was.

Q. Is that the kind of relationship you guys have at this point?

Q. With Duval?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: Yeah, we have a great relationship. We came in at the same time. We were getting recruited together. We've had a great relationship since being recruited.

Q. That helps out on the field, I'm guessing?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: Yeah, you've got to practice a lot. I think that is the biggest thing that's helped us is our practicing on the offense.

Q. For folks that got in a little late, you had so many people around you. Can you just sum up how you think of today in terms of what you wanted to accomplish out there in front of a big crowd for the first time this spring?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: I just wanted to go out there. Have a good day. Obviously, the offense wins, so we're eating steak. But I think we did all right today. We're just trying to get out of the spring with all the guys healthy. You know, Richard Jackson got banged up a little bit, but, you know, I thought it was a good day for us.

Q. Now Coach Weis said you threw it late to set up the final touchdown, that there was no way you could have made that throw last season. How much stronger and how much better do you think you are in terms of your ability to throw a deep pattern this year?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: I'm a lot healthier. Someone asked the question earlier, I'm a lot healthier right now. I'm 100%. Last year coming off the elbow surgery, and being banged up, I really wasn't able to be 100% like I am now. So I'm just happy to be 100%.

Q. You've talked about how Coach wants you to be a leader this year, looking to you. Do you sense the team now looking to you?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: You know, I think you've got to ask those guys for that question. But I feel I get the sense that that's starting to happen right now. We're just starting to move forward as an offense, and get this thing rolling.

Q. Now that you know that you're the guy getting all the reps, how much more control do you feel like you have out there?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: I don't know about control, but like in the huddle when guys are talking, they know when the quarterback gets in the huddle that it's time to be quiet and listen to the play.
I think every quarterback has that ability to when they step in the huddle, it's quiet, and they get ready for the play.

Q. And Coach is always talking about coaching emotion, coaching emotion. Obviously, there is a different kind of emotion out there on the field today when you guys started to get into a fight. What goes through your mind when that happens and do you feel it's your responsibility and do you take control of that as a quarterback?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: I think it's good for the team to get a little rowdy and hands up. We had a few of those in spring practice. I think it just gets the juices flowing. You know, like you saw at the end right there it just picks up a little bit.

Q. You guys had a slow start at the beginning of the second half, did you do anything to motivate the guys to pick it back up?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: No, we came out a little flat in the second half, but, you know, we got it going, and we came up with it in the end.

Q. So you're overall happy with the way that you played today?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: Yeah, there's good and bad things. We'll watch the tape and see how it went.

Q. You felt a little frustrated with seemed like with the sacks. Were those sacks that you wouldn't have gotten away with in a real game?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: Yeah, it kind of goes both ways. They can't hit me, so they've just got to tag off. You know, I'm not really watching and seeing where they're coming from and things like that. But, you're obviously frustrated when you get a sack. But they can't hit me, so I gave it to them.

Q. As you spin into summertime, what is going to be your focus in terms of improvement?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: I think every aspect of being a quarterback and the game, we've got to get ready to go for September 6th. We'll look at the tape, and look and see how we played in this spring game, and get things going right away and get ready to go.

Q. (Indiscernible)?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: I don't know. That's kind of a hard question. There are a lot of great guys in that locker room. You know, Coach Weis wants us to be a little loose. But when it comes down to it, we get down to business, so.

Q. Did you see the younger guys needing less praise to show emotion? Coach said last year you were almost like tin soldiers out there.
JIMMY CLAUSEN: Yeah, that's how you got to play. You've got to be yourself and play like you played in high school and just be yourself. You can't change for anyone. You know, you've just got to be yourself, and I think a lot of guys are doing that now.
A lot of guys were freshmen last year, and they were kind of scared to be themselves and playing like they're capable of playing. And now I think everybody's just laying it out on the field.

Q. Is that the next step in the balance. A couple times today your emotions went a little overboard?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: Yeah, we have to find that balance, and I think we will.

Q. Can you talk about the rhythm you had as a passer today? Did you feel like the drives were adequate to what you need?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: We really didn't get it started in the beginning of the game. You know, in the passing game we didn't. In the running game we really did. You know, we really didn't have that much of a flow going in the passing game. But as you saw in the running game, we were just running it down the throat. If all it takes is running, we're just going to take the ball to get in the end zone. But it went all right.

Q. The touchdown pass in a normal game, is that something where you may have tucked it and ran, or have you always fixated on throwing that one?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: No, actually, I was going to run it, and then I saw Raeshon McNeil come running at me, so I just threw it over the top of him. That was pretty much the game situation right there.

Q. What is maybe the most important thing you've learned through the end of last season about yourself as a quarterback?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: That's a hard question, you know. I think the biggest thing is I can get in the playbook like I did this off-season. I really didn't know the offense like I needed to know last year.
It's kind of hard coming in as a freshmen to, you know, expect to learn the whole entire playbook in just one spring. But I think I've done a good job of that and getting to know the offense.

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