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UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME MEDIA CONFERENCE
November 5, 2008
Q. (No microphone.)
DAVID GRIMES: Well, there's some truth to that. I mean, you do have to win the big games to earn the respect. But at the same time, I think there is respect to be earned in any opponent that you play against. So I mean, we're not taking any opponent lightly.
JIMMY CLAUSEN: I think the same thing. You know, each game you can earn respect. No team is less of an opponent than the other team. You've always got to come out and play hard and try to win in the end. So I think every game is just as important as another one.
Q. Talk a little bit about your health. Coach mentioned that it might be a little difficult. Do you feel like you've been beat up a little bit?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: Not really, I'm just sore a little bit from the game on Saturday, but I'm all right.
Q. What do you see from the BC defense?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: They're a real physical defense, starts up front. There are two inside tackles, pretty big guys, about 6'3", 6'4", about 325, both of them, real physical up front, and their linebackers are a real good corps, and they're secondary is real good and physical, as well. They're the No. 10 defense in the country, so it's going to be a big test for our offense.
Q. I believe Coach Haywood said yesterday that one of the things that makes them tough is they do a good job disguising the coverages. Is that one of the biggest challenges of BC?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: Yeah, I think that's one of the biggest challenges for myself and the receivers and tight ends. You know, they look the same every single time you go out there, and on the snap of the ball they're doing something different, so that will be a challenge for us.
Q. What are you guys' impressions of the rivalry with Boston College?
DAVID GRIMES: I know it's a big game. You know, it's two storied programs battling it out. That goes back. But you know, they got the best of us last year, and we're looking to go out there and put up a fight.
JIMMY CLAUSEN: It's pretty much two of the same exact schools, two Catholic schools that have got similar tradition, similar academics. They're just both real similar to each other, and I think that's why there's such a big rivalry.
Q. Coach Haywood said that he talked to the players. Can you guys talk about what he said?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: He just said that they're going to be ready to go come Saturday. His dad is AD there and he's real familiar with Boston College and the Boston area and stuff like that, being from there. He just told us that we've got to be ready. The fans are going to be ready to go. It's going to be a tough environment, and we've just got to be ready.
Q. David, your impressions?
DAVID GRIMES: Just pretty much the same thing, a lot of Irish Catholics up there at Boston College. They're two similar programs. The decision came down to Notre Dame or Boston College, and they're going to be ready to go for this game.
Q. For both you guys, Coach Haywood and Coach Ianello were talking about BC runs a lot of zone; they're basically zone coverage defense in the secondary. David, as a receiver, what are the things that you can exploit against the zone, and what are the things that cause problems by that type of coverage?
DAVID GRIMES: Well, I think the thing we exploit against the zone is that -- that's why as receivers we can find those holes, to get open so Jimmy can find us. But at the same time we know it could work against us because they drop people in their coverage team, and sometimes those holes are not as big.
But all in all, it can work for us, but it also can work against us.
Q. Do they try to lead you into seeking openings that really aren't going to be there, or how do they go about disguising?
DAVID GRIMES: Well, they line up pretty much in the secondary four across the board, and they rotate on the snap, and it disguises it for the receivers and the quarterbacks to make, I will say, quick adjustments, on-the-fly adjustments. You just have to be aware of what they're doing and adjust accordingly.
Q. Jimmy, what is your perspective about that type of defense? Is it disguised better?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: You know, things are disguised better. Like David said, they line up four across, corners and safeties all line up around eight to ten yards, and on the snap of the ball they're moving around. So you've just got to watch a lot of tape, study their tendencies, what they do in different situations and just be prepared for what they do.
Q. Speaking of injuries, just talking in general terms, David, I know you've battled with a back injury. Is there a fine line between or do you have to make a determination between being banged up or actually being injured? I know you've missed a couple games so you've had to make the determination you couldn't go. How do you differentiate between playing through pain and being too injured to play?
DAVID GRIMES: Well, there is a fine line between being hurt and injured. You know, when you're hurt, you can play hurt. Guys all across the country have aches and pains. When you're injured, you know, you pretty much can't practice and it's obvious to the coaches and to the rest of the team. You have to be truthful with yourself.
Q. Was it your decision not to play, or was it Coach Weis'?
DAVID GRIMES: You know, as a player, I was ready to go. But Coach Weis was looking out for the benefit of my health and told me to take this game off and get better for the next one.
Q. Jimmy, I would imagine you've probably taken more of a pounding in your short college career than in your entire high school career. You played every game in high school; is that correct? Did you miss any games?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: No, I didn't miss any games.
Q. Was there ever a time in high school where it was really up in the air whether you were physically capable of going that week?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: There was one week where I got my shoulder banged up pretty bad, my AC joint, but I still played.
Q. I know you went through some of that last year where you sat out a couple games. Did you feel like you could play in those games, or was that a coach's decision, that you needed the time off?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: You know, being a football player, it's a physical sport. You always think that you can go. You always want to try to go. But it's in the best interest of the team and Coach Weis to decide if you're good enough to be able to play and help the team win or if you're not healthy enough to help the team win, then they're going to play someone else.
Q. Did you feel you could have played in those games last year?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: To be honest, no, I didn't think so.
Q. Will you be playing Saturday?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: Yes, I will.
Q. Jimmy, what's different playing on the road for you this year maybe as opposed to last year?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: I don't think really anything. You know, I like playing on the road, going into hostile environments, and I don't think anything is really different.
Q. Did you learn things -- what did you learn last year that you were able to apply to playing on the road this year? Snap count louder, small things like that, anything you learned last year?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: Just when you're going on the road, you've got to get your rest, adjust to the time difference if it's different, the snap count. It's obviously going to be loud. You're not playing at home. But you've just got to get used to that. I think once you do it once, it's the same thing over and over again.
Q. Specific to Boston College, do you know anything about what that place is like? Are you hearing things like fans are right on top of you? Have you heard anything like that or scouted out basically what it's like to play there?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: No, I just know Coach Weis said the crowds are on top of you, and I know it's the play turf stuff that we have out on the practice field. That's about it?
Q. Do you change anything playing on crowned grass?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: No.
Q. Was this week harder to regroup from than the North Carolina game because you had more time to regroup after that game?
DAVID GRIMES: Well, I think having a bye week was probably even more difficult because it was two weeks until we played, until we can get that sour taste out of our mouths.
But right now, we're looking forward to this game, and we don't have a bye week, and this feeling could potentially go away this Saturday. But yeah, I think coming off the loss against North Carolina was a lot harder.
JIMMY CLAUSEN: I think both of them were pretty tough losses for the team. I think it lasted a little longer against North Carolina because we had that bye week and we didn't have to get over it as fast as we did this week. You know, we only had one day to sulk, which was Sunday, and after that it was get ready for Boston College.
Q. So it doesn't linger, I guess, because you guys have to move on, but can you guys turn it into motivation to try to get the taste out of your mouths, I guess?
DAVID GRIMES: Yeah, most definitely. A loss is with you until you win your next game. It's not like any other sport, especially basketball, where they play games all throughout the week and they can go play tomorrow and forget about the loss in two days or so. A loss in football stays with you throughout the week until you win again.
JIMMY CLAUSEN: Yeah, just exactly what David said. I think the good analogy he said was basketball. Basketball plays a bunch of games in a week and it's a lot easier just to lose a game and go to the next game and feel good about that win you got that night.
Q. I don't know if you know much about BC's field, but they have a pretty steep crown to it. Have you played on a field that has a crown? Does that affect you at all?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: I don't think so. I think a field is a field, whether it's a crown or a straight, flat field. But I think most fields in college are crowned fields, just like for the rain and all that kind of stuff.
Q. Does it affect the way you run out, maybe more into it?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: I don't know. You can ask David. I don't know.
DAVID GRIMES: I don't think so. No, I really don't.
Q. How do you feel like your season has gone? You've had the injury, kind of the ups and downs. Is it frustrating?
DAVID GRIMES: Yeah, it's definitely been frustrating having to miss out on some games and not being on the field as much as I would like.
Q. How do you deal with that mentally?
DAVID GRIMES: I think the best way to deal with it is to stay positive. I'm still a leader of this team and I can still have the impact on guys in the locker room, on the sidelines, things like that.
Q. Has that been difficult at any point this year?
DAVID GRIMES: Not at all.
Q. Is this the best defense you've faced this year, and does that make it even more of a personal challenge for you being the leader of the offense?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: I think statistically they're probably the best defense, No. 10 in the country, and North Carolina was the best pass defense, I think, in the country leading in interceptions. But I think we have to do what we have to do offensively and be prepared for what Boston College is going to do defensively.
DAVID GRIMES: Yeah, this is a pretty good defense. You know, they're No. 10 in the country, and to say that they're the best defense that we have faced so far, I'm not sure about that, but I know our guys will be up for the challenge this week.
Q. Coach Weis said he was going to play pretty tough bad cop this week with you. How did that go?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: Are you talking about with the team?
Q. He said with you personally, he was going to sit down with you and be pretty critical.
JIMMY CLAUSEN: Yeah, he was. He was the bad cop. You know, he expects a lot out of his players and he expects a lot out of me. We went through the tape, and he just told me what he expects, and after that meeting we just moved on from that game.
Q. How do you know that he's being critical, or even better, how do you take a beating like that, where he just really hammers you?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: You know, that's why I came to Notre Dame, to be taught by Coach Weis. Everything he said I listened and just soaked it up like a sponge. Again, that's why I came to Notre Dame, to be coached by Coach Weis, learn under him and help him make me the best player I can be.
Q. Is there anything specifically, and were there things in that meeting that jumped out?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: Not really. We were going play by play. He was just telling me things I should have done here, things I should have done there. We just went through it like that.
Q. Were there any compliments at all?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: Not really. Coach Powlus did that later in the day.
Q. (No microphone.)
DAVID GRIMES: Probably number one. You know, I mean, there was a lot of talking by Coach Weis, and we did a lot of listening, so that's probably number one.
Q. What was the basic message?
DAVID GRIMES: There's kids watching this (laughter). No, I think that's closed inside team doors, and that's amongst the team.
Q. Coach made a change in the schedule, meeting on Monday. Do you guys feel like you needed some kind of a change in routine?
DAVID GRIMES: Can you repeat that one more time?
Q. Did you guys feel like you needed a change in routine?
DAVID GRIMES: To be honest, I'm not sure, but whatever the coach wants to implement, that's what we have to do.
JIMMY CLAUSEN: Like Dave said, whatever the coaches want to do, that's what we're going to do. But I think coming off that loss, it was tough.
Like I said earlier, against North Carolina we had a bye week so we had more time, and I think Coach Weis gave us that extra time just to get this off our minds.
Q. My question is for David. I'm writing a story about Coach Weis. You having been there the whole time he has, has there been, I guess, any sort of changes or adjustments in the way he's approached the team?
DAVID GRIMES: Yeah, he's definitely become -- he's more around. He's made the effort to be more involved with us, with our summer workouts and 6:00 a.m. workouts and things like that. He's put his first step forward to be more involved.
Q. You mentioned those 6:00 a.m. workouts. Is there any way that he's been more involved?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: Could you repeat that question?
Q. You mentioned those 6:00 a.m. workouts. Is there any other example you have about how he's more involved now?
DAVID GRIMES: Yeah, coming into the locker room, talking to guys, inviting us to the house, having us over for dinner and hanging out, just being normal people.
Q. And one question for Jimmy, as well. You mentioned before about how you came to Notre Dame to be taught by Coach Weis. How has that lived up to what you sort of thought it would be and just elaborate on why you wanted to be taught by Coach Weis. Should I repeat that?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: Yeah, please.
Q. Before you mentioned how you came to Notre Dame to be caught by Coach Weis. Do you elaborate on why you wanted to be taught by him and how has that lived up to what you thought it would be like?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: You know, if you just look at Coach Weis' track record, coaching guys like Tom Brady, Brady Quinn, Phil Simms, he's just been around for a long time. You know, he knows what he's talking about, and he's one of the best in the business.
Q. And how has playing for him kind of compared to what you thought it would be like?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: You know, it's great playing for Coach Weis. He's been everything that he was when he was recruiting me. He hasn't changed since he's been recruiting me. He's just a great guy and great to be around, great for this team, this University.
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