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September 23, 2009

Jimmy Clausen

Eric Olsen

THE MODERATOR: We have Eric Olsen and Jimmy Clausen. We'll start with questions from media here.

Q. How is the foot?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: It's doing better. It's doing better.

Q. Do you feel like you'll be able to practice today?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: Yeah, I'll practice some today, some tomorrow. See how it feels.

Q. How much pain were you in in the game on Saturday? Did you think something bad had happened right away?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: Yeah, as soon as I went down, I knew something was wrong. That's why I fell down. Jim Russ and the rest of the trainers came out. Dayne went in. I was hurting pretty much the rest of the game.
But I just had to play and help the team win.

Q. Have you been told how long? Any idea how long you're expected to be in some degree of pain?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: To be honest, I have no idea.

Q. Coach was saying they're going to put something in your shoe to take the pressure off. Is that already in there?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: Yeah, I have it in my shoe right now.

Q. Does it make it awkward at all to walk?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: Not really. It's just like really rigid. Try to make so your toe doesn't bend too much. There's a little thing on it to raise my toe a little bit.

Q. Coach was telling us yesterday that Mike was giving you a hard time about the boot. How long will you have the boot on?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: I had the boot on until yesterday, and I was walking in my shoe starting yesterday during practice and stuff like that. Hopefully I won't have to go back in the boot. We'll see where it goes from there.

Q. Jimmy, any scenario under which you wouldn't play Saturday? What do you think?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: The goal is to play. That's the plan. Hopefully, like I said, I'm going to practice today and more tomorrow and hopefully I'll be ready to go for Saturday.

Q. When you're out there, how does it affect you?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: It's my plant foot. It's my right foot. Whether I'm dropping or throwing a pass, I'm obviously using my foot to plant. Saturday I had to adjust that a little bit. Really wasn't using my legs too much because it was that painful. I'm just going to try to do as much as I can today and do some more tomorrow and see where it goes from there.

Q. You lose a guy like Mike Floyd, you can take a few risks and he's going to probably make you look good. When you don't have that guy out there, how does your approach have to change or does it change at all?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: You know, obviously it's going to change a little bit. Mike is a big play-maker in this offense and we're going to miss him the rest of the season. But that just means guys have to step up, whether it's Duval or Roby, Deion, Shaq, Goody, whoever it is that's out there, they got to step up and make plays. Hopefully it's not too much of a drop-off from Mike. We expect all those guys to be as good of a play-maker as Mike, and whenever the ball is thrown their way, for them to go up and get the ball.

Q. Specifically for you, do you have to be more careful, take less risks?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: You could say that. Mike is such a great play-maker. So is Golden. Whenever there's a guy on them, I have faith in both of those guys and the rest of the guys on the receiving corps that they're going to make the play, not the BD. They're going to come up with the catch or no one is going to come up with the catch. I have faith in all the receivers.

Q. Eric is there an injury you want to talk about?
ERIC OLSEN: I'm okay for now (laughter).

Q. Your recollection two years ago going to Purdue?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: I think that was my first touchdown pass, Purdue. It was a real physical game. I got knocked out of the game. But the place is a fun place to play in. The fans are right on top of you. It's a night game. It's going to be loud. It's just going to be a great environment to play in.

Q. We've been talking about Coach Weis and the offensive people about running the wildcat. Eric, just your perspective on what advantages you gain there, how you can use that formation to your advantage?
ERIC OLSEN: Well, the wildcat gives us obviously a different look, something that we can add to our game plan that's a little bit unconventional. At the same time, schematically, taking the quarterback out of the picture - no offense - it gives us numbers on offense. In a running play, the offense is outnumbered because the quarterback has the ball and he's usually not a blocker anymore. Having the ball directly snapped to the runningback and taking the quarterback out of that equation does kind of give us numbers on offense.
I think it's a package that we can use at certain times in the game to get obviously rushing situations and stuff done, get those times in the game to our advantage and use it in a way that's going to be effective.

Q. Jimmy, you were open on the touchdown pass that Armando threw. Is his responsibility to look and check to see if you're covered and go from there?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: He threw it to the right guy. I yelled at him when he got on the sidelines that I was wide open. In that particular play, I was a second read. He was reading to Roby, then to me. Most of the time we didn't really know they were going to fall off of me, not cover me, just rush 11. So it was just a freak play.

Q. When you were in high school, did you both play on Friday nights?
ERIC OLSEN: Saturday afternoons.

Q. Do you like night games?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: I like night games a lot. We really don't play too many here at Notre Dame because we play NBC the middle of the day. But I'm used to playing night games at high school, 7:30, 8:00.

Q. I'm sure the coaches occupy a portion of your time. How do you like to prepare for a game?
ERIC OLSEN: For me that's the negative part of playing at night. The fans are usually a lot looser by the time the night comes around, tailgates and stuff. The hard stuff is sitting around and watching college football all day. You're itching for the bus to leave the hotel. That's the hard part for me.
JIMMY CLAUSEN: The meetings are scheduled a little bit differently when you play 8:00 at night. It just kind of takes you off track of what you're used to doing, playing 3:00 in the afternoon. You get some more sleep, sit around, watch games that are being played. I think it's pretty much the same thing, it just starts later.

Q. Do you really notice the fans? You can tell a difference in them when it's a night game?
ERIC OLSEN: Honestly, I don't really try to pay attention. Pregame you get more stuff thrown at you coming out of the tunnel, but other than that, it's the same.

Q. Jimmy, you grew up in an environment where you were expected to be in a quarterback playing in college and probably on the next level as well. The first time you start hearing your name thrown around on national TV or the first time you're flipping channels and you see your picture and they're talking about you, do you recall anything like that and what the feeling is when you're discussed on national television?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: My feeling of watching ESPN and seeing me up there?

Q. The first time it happens, it must be a little bit surreal.
ERIC OLSEN: Yeah, what is that like (laughter)?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: It's kind of funny, whenever I'm watching TV, I'm around some of my friends, they always joke with me. It's kind of funny. I just laugh. I don't know. I'm just kind of like used to it now.

Q. You saw it with your brothers.
JIMMY CLAUSEN: Right. So I've been around it with my brothers. I've been at Notre Dame for three years. We're always on TV.

Q. Eric, have you ever flipped channels and seen your picture up there?
ERIC OLSEN: Unfortunately, I have. Twice. Once was when a certain defensive lineman from Boston College kind of took me for a ride. I'm still waiting for his text message thanking me for getting him drafted the first round. Then recently there was some other news from a couple games ago that was on TV. But, again, it was something that was negative. I'm still waiting for the day I get some positive attention. I'm hoping that it will come shortly. We'll see.

Q. Might not see you running around much on Saturday. Talk about running around in the pocket.
JIMMY CLAUSEN: I felt real comfortable throughout the first three games of my pocket presence, just knowing when to run the ball or take a sack, obviously when to slide. I'm not one of the guys that's the fastest guy out there, but get as many yards as I can to help the team, move the chain, ultimately slide, not take a hit.

Q. Have you ever done this much scrambling at all in your career before?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: I don't think so. I think, you know, just being -- I don't think scrambling comes when you're rolling out of the pocket and stuff like that. But just being able to -- if nothing is down the field, take off, get as many yards as you can. I think that's something that's new for me because I've gotten a lot better at my pocket presence, staying in there as much as I can. To be honest, I have to give a lot of credit to the offensive line. They're doing a great job of protecting me and making the holes big for the runningbacks to make plays down the field.

Q. Obviously the last time you came off a win, you felt like practice wasn't where it needs to be. How has the mentality been coming off of this win?
ERIC OLSEN: Very similar to last week. We kind of have the same mindset. It's a long season. There's a lot of football to be played. We can't take any week for practice. Guys are just focused and came out to work yesterday.

Q. Jimmy, you touched on how you were feeling physically when it happened. How were you mentally when you realized something was wrong?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: I hurt my toe last year in the Pittsburgh game. I was just hoping and praying it wasn't real serious. That was pretty much what I was thinking.

Q. When you got to the sideline, it looked like you wanted to get back out there. Talk about you trying to convince everyone that you were ready to go tot back out there.
JIMMY CLAUSEN: Yeah, you know, I'm a competitor. I want to do everything I can to help this team win. Even when I'm hurt, I'm going to do as much as I can to help the team win. You know, whether it's just being in there with the guys, getting them ready to go, say I can't throw the ball, just getting them ready to go, helping the guys, being a part of the guys, just doing everything I could to help the team win.

Q. Eric, what did you see from him when he went down and then kind of in the aftermath in terms of his toughness?
ERIC OLSEN: Well, when he went down, I think the whole Notre Dame nation kind of held their breath, except for all the girls in the student section, they were all kind of cheering Dayne. I don't know what's up with that. Obviously, Jimmy getting a little banged up is a direct result of the offensive line, runningbacks, tight ends, everyone was blocking. It kind of pissed me off, obviously being someone that is in this group, being responsible for it.
But to Jimmy's credit, he's a tough guy. He definitely has taken a few hits before. So he got back in the game. As a leader, as a captain of this team, as the quarterback, it's something we all hoped he could do and would do and to his credit did, and led us to a victory.

Q. Jimmy, you have taken quite a bit of pressure the last few years, how much does that help you in terms of mentally being on track that you've kind of gone through some tough times already?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: Yeah, gone through tough times ever since I got here. Just being able to go through that is obviously going to help me this week. I think the biggest thing is mentally just preparing myself. Obviously, I didn't practice yesterday. But just preparing myself like I'm going to play, I think that's the biggest thing.

Q. Jimmy, is it better for you to take more shotgun snaps this week from the position of the less you have to move your feet, the better off you are?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: To be honest, I don't know yet because I haven't practiced since the game on Saturday and I haven't tested out my foot. So we'll see when I go out there today. Whatever the coaches want me to do, want the team to do obviously is what we're going to do.

Q. 22nd birthday on a Monday, your foot in a boot, is this the best birthday you ever had or not quite?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: It was a good birthday. It was a good birthday.

Q. Eric, we haven't had a chance to ask you about this, the incident from a couple weeks ago, you didn't seem that upset, did that land or did that not land?
ERIC OLSEN: I don't know what you're talking about. No comment.

Q. When you heard the game at Yankee Stadium was called, did you think I wish I could take a medical redshirt?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: I asked Coach Weis if I could sit out this year so I could be around for that game next year. He laughed it off. Obviously, it would be. I got a chance this summer to see a baseball game there and see how nice the new stadium is. It's tough. It's the way things go. I've played plenty of football games here. It's an opportunity I'll miss out on, but...

Q. Jimmy, talk about the differences between Duval and Roby, what you look for in each one of them as a receiver.
JIMMY CLAUSEN: You know, they're kind of the same but different in another aspect. They're pretty much the same speed. Both of them are real good possession receivers. Duval is a bigger body, can go up and make plays. I'm not saying Roby can't, but Duval is a bigger body. I think Duval is more physical. I think they're pretty much the same guys, just different bodies.

Q. Eric, you mentioned picking up blitzes, whatnot. How much do you spend time in practice on kind of working 11-on-11 in that situation? Do you ever kind of take aside somebody like Jonas who is relatively new to that situation and give him some pointers?
ERIC OLSEN: We don't spend as much time as we'd all like to, that being the coaches and players and everything. You can't fit everything into the amount of time we have. We definitely do work on that kind of stuff. It's easy to work on blitz pickup as on offensive line with, because we're all on the same level, it's easy to pass things off. When you have to pass off blitzes and stuff with guys at different positions, it gets a little bit tougher. Anytime guys, especially tackles with tight ends, interior guys with runningbacks, anytime we get a chance off the field in meetings rooms to talk those things out, it's something we take advantage of and really do.

Q. Armando, an underappreciated part of his game, the ability to pick up guys. What makes him good in that role and why is he able to thrive there?
ERIC OLSEN: I think a big part of his success in that role is his experience. He's seen pretty much every blitz we can go against in his career already. He's made those blocks plenty of times. That experience definitely helps him out a lot. When you're a young guy, you see all the wild blitzes that defenses can throw out, kind of gets your head spinning a little bit. As you get older, it kind of slows down for you, makes it easier.

Q. Jimmy, are you conscious of what back is in a game?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: To be honest, most of the time I really don't know which back is in at the time unless I'm in shotgun because when I'm in shotgun, I talk to the backs most of the time when it's a pass just to make sure they know who they got, so we got everything squared away.
But just like Eric said, I think the biggest thing for all the runningbacks is experience, just seeing the blitzes in practice, executing them, then going into the game. Some defenses might do a blitz that we've never seen before and just adjusting to that is tough for younger guys. But say like Armando has been playing for three years here, he's seen pretty much every single blitz that can be thrown at him. He's done a real good job of sticking his nose in there and making the block.

Q. How much more does that put Kyle in the mix for somebody that you target and then talk about what kind of outlet he is, your fourth option last week?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: Kyle is a big play-maker in this offense. It was Kyle, Mike, Golden, Armando. Now it's just Kyle, Golden and the rest of the receiver guys that are going to be playing on the field. Kyle is a big play-maker. You have seen him out there. He's only a sophomore. It's pretty scary to see a sophomore progressing this fast and making plays like he is.

Q. That play specifically kind of speaks to pocket presence as well. A situation where you could have tucked it and picked up five yards, but remember your fourth read. Talk about that maturation process, to remember where everybody is on the field, not take the easy yards there.
JIMMY CLAUSEN: That's one of the big things I worked on the springtime, I'm still working on now, is my pocket presence. That's one of the big things Coach Weis stressed to me going into this season, staying in the pocket more, move my feet, keeping my eyes down the field, just making plays, whether you have to make the play with your feet or step up, or throw it to your outlet like I did with Kyle last week. I'm getting better at it each week.

Q. Before he mentioned it, did you know you had to improve in that?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: No, I knew I wasn't staying in the pocket like I should. To be honest, I didn't really know how to do that. I'm a visual learner. After we watched tape of Tom Brady for about an hour, I kind of got the picture in my head of what it is to stay in the pocket and keep might happen eyes down the field. After watching that tape, just going from practice to practice, I think I gradually have gotten better at that.

Q. When did you watch that tape? Was there one play that really crystallized it for you?
JIMMY CLAUSEN: It was a bunch of different plays. We watched I think it was a hundred some cut up tape of him stepping up in the pocket, moving around a little bit, making plays. It was before spring practice, so...
THE MODERATOR: Thanks, everyone.

End of FastScripts

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