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    Jimmy Clausen and David Grimes Press Conference Transcript (Nov. 12)

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    FIGHTING IRISH

    Nov. 12, 2008

    Q. We didn't get a chance to talk to you the other night. How do you feel about what happened Saturday? And how do you evaluate why what happened Saturday?
    Jimmy Clausen: Obviously, we weren't happy with the loss. I wasn't happy with my performance. But it was a good teaching tool for me, you know, going back, watching the tape. Just take what the defense gives me instead of trying to make a play and force the ball down the field.

    Q. What is going through your head during the game? Is it frustration in trying to make things happen? What causes you to kind of get away from that taking things where they are?
    Jimmy Clausen: Just the nature of playing football, you want to make a play on every single play. Sometimes it's not a play that can be made, and you've just got to either drop the ball down, run the ball or even take a sack.

    I think the more you play, the more you get comfortable. If you know everyone's dropping, there's no play down the field. You drop the ball down, get a 5 yard gain, 2 yard gain or maybe a second is better than an interception.

    Q. Coach Haywood alluded yesterday that teams are taking more away. Is that what you've seen teams progressively making you take things under? Will that be another priority this week?
    Jimmy Clausen: Yeah, after the first half of the North Carolina game, teams have been trying to take the two outside guys away, Golden (Tate) and Mike (Floyd), and dropping more guys into coverage and making me take the underneath stuff.

    It just gets frustrating that sometimes you want to throw the ball down field, you want to make a play down field. But you know, ever since the first half of that game, a lot of teams are taking away all the downfield stuff and making us throw the ball underneath.

     

     

    Q. That was your toughest game since you've been here, maybe one of your toughest games ever played. How do you deal with that? How do you process that?
    Jimmy Clausen: Well, obviously you're mad about the way you performed, but you feel like you've let your team down. But you've got to come back and be even stronger. You know, you want the ball back. You want the ball in the next game. You want to go out there and make plays and help your team win the next game.

    Q. Do you feel better now, by the way?
    Jimmy Clausen: Yeah, I'm feeling better. I'm feeling better.

    Q. Coach Weis talked about Navy's defense in a way is that an ideal testament of how they play defense? Is that kind of a test of the offense?
    Jimmy Clausen: Yeah, it's good. They play like teams have played the past three, four games. Drop a lot of guys into coverage. (They) don't let anyone get deeper than you are and make the quarterback and the team throw the ball underneath. You know, not give up big plays.

    Q. You talked about how other teams are taking away the deep ball and that kind of opens up everything underneath. Will there come a point where you guys can show you can come underneath with the deep balls and open up the end?
    Jimmy Clausen: Oh, yeah, definitely. Once you throw the ball underneath, dink and dunk teams and you can run the ball and make teams come up and guard the underneath stuff make them stop the run. Then they come up and you have shots down the field that you can throw and make plays. So, it's just take what the defense gives you.

    Q. Coach Weis said that he gathered the quarterbacks together towards the end of the BC game to talk about leadership. Can you tell us a little about what that conversation was?
    Jimmy Clausen: Yeah, he was just telling us that this game's pretty much over. We've got to go in, watch the film and get better. Obviously, take what the defense gives you. It was a hard lesson, the team coming off the overtime loss to Pitt, you know. It was another tough loss for us, and we just need to gather the team and rally around and get the team going again.

    Q. Charlie talked about guys working to you and supporting you. Is it difficult sometimes with everything you're trying to process, reading defenses, interceptions, to also think about, you know, hey, I've got to make sure I'm putting on the right face here for everybody to see on the sidelines?
    Jimmy Clausen: Yeah, it's tough. Especially having a hard game like the B.C. game, and, you know, that's just there's the quarterback position, you know. Whether you go to Notre Dame or any other college in the country. Lot of guys look up to the quarterback for leadership. That's what you've just got to do.

    Q. Just part of the growing process for you is it complicated or made difficult by the fact that in high school everything, I'm sure, just probably felt pretty easy all the time. This is probably one of the first times you've had to deal with something like that?
    Jimmy Clausen: Yeah, it's tough. It's different. It's college football, you know. Guys on the other side of the ball have scholarships just like we do. Everyone's good playing in college. I think we've just got to keep doing a good job of going out and preparing, practicing hard and getting ready for the game.

    Q. I'm sure you're taking more things underneath. That's kind of where you and playing as receivers what, can you guys do to help that process along and make those things even more open for Jimmy to see you?
    David Grimes: Just to take advantage of the plays that we're given and the opportunity that's we're given to help this team in the best way that we can.

    Q. What's it been like having Coach Weis back in the offensive meeting?
    David Grimes: Well, it's more attentive. Still the same playbook, same plays, but I think, you know, guys are paying attention to it and are more aware of attention to detail.

    Q. Can you tell the difference between a Coach Haywood offensive game plan, play calling compared to a Coach Weis play calling system?
    David Grimes: I believe they have different teaching methods. I think the message at the end of the day is still the same. The play is still the same. They go over there with the same basic requirements that each position has to do. Second, they get the same message to the same.

    Q. You might have a different perspective on that being the guy that initiates it or, you know, passes on the play to everybody. Coach Weis calling plays last year. Coach Haywood calling the plays this year. What are the differences that you see? Are they small, minor nuisances?
    Jimmy Clausen: To be honest, when you're in the game you're not really thinking, oh, he's calling plays or he's calling plays. You know, you're just getting the play from the sideline and going out there and executing it. But that's not really different at all.

    Q. You did play against Navy last year, correct?
    Jimmy Clausen: No, I didn't play.

    Q. What do you recall about that game? What was your perspective from that game from sitting back and watching?
    Jimmy Clausen: I just remember it was the end of the game, you know. I think it was like two overtimes or three overtimes. They just run across the field and breaking that losing streak they've had for a long time. You know, I don't think anyone in this building wants to feel like they felt after that game.

    Q. What are your memories of that game and what is it like playing against Navy?
    Jimmy Clausen: I remember in that game where we were the team that lost to Navy. It was a tough loss. A lot of guys were disappointed.

    But, my perception of Navy is that whenever you play them, they're going to give their all. These guys are out defending our country and football is the best part of the day for them.

    Q. Who is tougher to beat, the Navy team that now knows it can beat you or the Navy team that was hungry at the end of 43 games and was extremely desperate?
    David Grimes: I think, just like I said earlier, regardless, Navy's going to give 100% effort all the time. Regardless of their record or opposition records.

    Jimmy Clausen: I think the same thing. David said it best. The best time of the day for the guys that go to the academies or go out and practice and playing football. Whenever you play an academy they're going to bring 110% and play as physical as they can for every single play for 60 minutes.

    Q. Jimmy, you were talking about taking what they give you. Just when you played Navy, and was it difficult to get the football back? Your possessions are limited. This is a game where you really have to convince yourself to be patient with the opportunities that you have?
    Jimmy Clausen: Yeah, you're only going to get a certain amount of possessions during the game when you play a team like Navy that runs the ball 85% of the time. And we've just got to execute the game plan. Take what they give us and just march the ball down the field. Every opportunity we have to score, we have to score.

    Q. Coach Weis said it twice yesterday and somebody mentioned about that you would be pressing in this game after the last game. He emphatically said twice that you won't be pressing in this game. Why is he so confident in you this week?
    Jimmy Clausen: Oh, I don't know. I think he just knows my personality. You know, it was a tough loss, but you've got to get over it and move on to the next team. That's what I'm doing.

    Q. What is your personality? How do you react to what happened last week?
    Jimmy Clausen: When something goes bad with us on the field, off the field, you're mad at the time. You're mad when you think back and watch what happened. But after that you've just got to learn from your mistakes and move on to the next task or next game.

    Q. Does adversity bring out additional determination in you?
    Jimmy Clausen: It does. Some situations I don't want to play like I did against Boston College, but it just makes me more hungry to get back on the field and keep making plays.

    Q. You said something just earlier that because Charlie's calling the plays there's more attention to detail. Why is that? Why is there a difference in attention to detail from when the offensive coordinator is running the meetings to when the head coach is?
    David Grimes: Yeah, I think it's because it's the head guy. It's the head guy who is running the show. There's just that much, you know something there. I'm not sure exactly what I can call it, but it's a difference when your boss walks in or when your manager walks in, you know, almost.

    Q. Is it more of a subconscious thing maybe or something else?
    David Grimes: Yeah, I would say so. I mean, you know it's Coach Weis. He's the guy.

    Q. Just getting back to Saturday, was there a point where you considered pulling yourself out of the game because of how you were feeling?
    Jimmy Clausen: Oh, no. There was never a point in the game where I wanted to take myself out because of the way I was feeling. I'm a competitor just like every other guy on the team. You want to be out there and try to make plays, help your team get a victory, so there was never a point in the game.

    Q. Along those same lines, do you feel illness played a major factor in your struggles or a minor factor? How much do you think it affected you?
    Jimmy Clausen: It affected me a little bit, but I'm not going to use it as an excuse to how I performed on Saturday. I just had a bad day. I wasn't feeling good on top of that. It's not an excuse. I just had a bad day.

    Q. You mentioned the change in the defenses at halftime in North Carolina. The three games, if we looked out at the two games before that, each game you had been setting career highs and all of that. The past three games you've struggled a little bit more. Aside from the defenses, is there anything else that you see, anything mechanical that you're doing or anything else that you're seeing that's causing you to not do quite as well as you were for those three previous games?
    Jimmy Clausen: Not really. The defenses dictate a lot of things. The three games before that, they were playing a lot of man to man post safety, you know. Not doubling the outside guys.

    A lot of teams started to double those guys and they leave the middle of the field open. Then down the middle of the field, I threw the check down and took what the team gives me. That's the only thing.

    THE MODERATOR: Thank you.

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