Clausen Transcript

The media met with freshman starters Thursday after practice instead of the usual press conference with Coach Weis. Irish Eyes sat in on freshman quarterback Jimmy Clausen's questions and answers.

How have things been going so far?

"It's been fun. You know, it's been a different experience. We haven't, obviously, gotten the wins that we wanted, and we're just coming out each and every day and trying to get better and get our first win."

What's the balance for you between the frustration of losing and the excitement of being able to start as a freshman?

"It's kind of hard being able to start. It's a great thing for me, but it's not really about me, it's about this team. I'm more focused on this team getting better and getting our first win."

What's it like for you emotionally, having been 42-0 and now you start out 0-4?

"It's been real different to say the least. In high school, I didn't lose a game, but it's way different between high school and college. I think it's helped not only me but the team to realize that this is a hard game, and you have to come out each and every day and get better. The teams that you are going to play are real good and you have to be ready to play."

How's the elbow holding up? Does it feel real good every day? Is it 100 percent?

"Yes, I feel real good with my elbow."

What has been the most frustrating thing for you; the individual aspect of the game that you can't control like you could on the previous level?

"I don't know about controlling anything. I'm a freshman and I'm just trying to help the team win, obviously. Anything I can do to help the team win and get that first win, I'm going to do. That's all we have to do is get that first win and go from there. Right now, we're just working hard as a team and trying to get that first win."

When you were in high school, did you picture what it would be like to be a quarterback in college? What has that reality been like for you?

"I think just the speed of the game. Obviously, it's faster than high school but once you get used to it, it's not that bad. The game slows down for you a little bit. Obviously, it has slowed down for me and also for all the freshmen that are going through that transition too."

You weren't hit much, let alone sacked, in high school. Now you've been sacked several times in the first four games. How is that affecting you?

"Football is a physical sport. If I didn't want to play football and get hit, I should have played golf or something like that. It's a physical sport and I'm going to get hit."

How many times were you sacked in high school?

"I have no idea."

At one time, you mentioned about the speed and tempo of practice. Were you surprised at the speed and tempo of your first game?

"A little bit, but not really. In practice, the coaches tell us to pick up the tempo. When we pick up the tempo in practice, it simulates game speed and I think that's a big thing that helps the team get ready for games."

What is your confidence level right now?

"I'm real confident, just like the rest of the team is. We are real confident, and we are just going out there and try to get our first victory. We're coming in each and every day and working hard on the practice field and in meetings and stuff like that. Just trying to get better and get our first win."

Do you feel you have a presence on this team being in the huddle and running the team as a freshman?

"It's been kind of hard in the beginning, but I'm getting more familiar with the offense and starting to take a little more control in the huddle. Coach Weis took the wristbands off of us this week. It has helped both me and Evan (Sharpley) to go into the huddle and just call the play. We are giving the play to the rest of the team now instead of reading off the wristband. I think that has helped a lot this week."

Do you ever get frustrated that you're not throwing the ball as much as you would like?

"Whatever the coaches want me to do, I'm going to do."

How much did the Michigan State game help with your confidence and the team's confidence by scoring touchdowns early in the game?

"It helped a lot. That's one of the things we tried to do last week. The first two or three games, we weren't able to score and we wanted to get in the end zone. We know now that we can get in the end zone, and we have been practicing real hard this week. Hopefully, that carries over this Saturday."

You started your first game in front of 110,000 people on the road; then the trip to Michigan; and now a home-state game; and then you go home next week. What's it like playing in these big venues?

"It's been a good experience for me, but, obviously, we haven't won and that's the biggest goal of mine and this team. I'm not really worried about my goals right now. I'm just worried about this team and our goals right now and that is to get our first victory."

Are you looking forward to that trip home next week?

"Yes, that will be fun going back home."

What was it like starting your first game at Penn State in that hostile atmosphere?

"It was a great atmosphere; that's why I came to Notre Dame to play in big games like that. Going to places like Penn State and Michigan, that's the reason why I came here to play in big games. I wish we could have gotten victories, but we just keep working hard every day in practice and getting better."

Why do you think the offense has struggled like it has?

"To tell you the truth, I don't know. There's a lot of great talent on the offense, and we are working hard each and every day and trying to get our first victory."

What's it going to be like for you when you get your first touchdown pass?

"It's going to be good getting my first college touchdown pass. But I'm more worried about getting my first victory and getting this team their first victory. That's more what I care about; not getting my first touchdown pass."

Was it ever in your thoughts of coming here 0-4?

"Obviously not, you don't want to come in thinking that, but we just come out each and every day and work hard and get better, and that's what we're doing right now."

What is the one thing you would like to improve on before the season is over?

"I would like to improve on everything; mainly helping this team win. I haven't done enough to help the team win, and I think I have to do more to help this team get its first victory."

What has practice been like for you this week?

"Like I said, Coach Weis took the wristbands off of us this week and now we have to concentrate harder on just running the offense. We have done a pretty good job of that this week, me and Evan."

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