The 'Other' Clausen

Casey Clausen is Tennessee's quarterback past. Jimmy Clausen may be Tennessee's quarterback future. That's why Rick Clausen – bidding to be Tennessee's quarterback present -- spends a lot of time answering questions about his high-profile brothers. Basically, he's caught between TWO shadows.

Casey, who recently accepted a graduate assistant post at Mississippi State, is a fixture in the Vol record book, ranking second to Peyton Manning in virtually every major passing category. As a result, he remains a popular topic among reporters and fans.

"I talk to Casey every day," Rick said in response to a question at the recent SEC Media Days. "When I told him I was coming here (Birmingham), he said to wear a nice suit and be ready to answer a lot of questions."

Because his younger brother is one of the country's premier high school juniors, Rick also gets questioned about Jimmy quite a bit … especially his college future. Asked point-blank if Jimmy plans to follow Casey and Rick to UT, Rick chuckled.

"That's up to Jimmy," he replied. "He's extremely talented. Ultimately, it's going to be his decision. I'm sure I'll have a little input, Casey will, my parents will and my sister (also a student at UT) will. But, ultimately, it's up to him. He'll do whatever he wants to do."

In between questions about his older and younger brothers, Rick fielded a few questions about his own career. Asked how much he has improved in the past year, he answered: "Tremendously. The biggest thing I've gotten over the past year is confidence – not only in myself but from the guys around me. They've got confidence in me now. As a group we've bonded together and we know this could be a special year."

Rick began his college career at LSU but transferred when things didn't work out in Baton Rouge. Asked how he's a different player now, he replied: "The biggest thing is I'm mature. I've developed, grown up, and I understand the game more.

"Coach (Nick) Saban and Coach (Jimbo) Fisher taught me the ins and outs of football. Coach Fisher really taught me a lot about the mental part of the game, and I think it transferred over when I came to Tennessee."

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