Clausen's no spring phenom

Heralded prep quarterback Jimmy Clausen marked Blue and Gold Day of 2006 by showing up at the College Football Hall of Fame in a Hummer limousine to grandly announce he would be playing for Notre Dame.

One year later Jimmy Clausen marked Blue and Gold Day with considerably less pomp and circumstance. In fact, he was just another quarterback competing for playing time as the Irish held their 2007 spring game Saturday in South Bend.

Jimmy, whose older brothers Casey and Rick played quarterback for the Tennessee Vols, completed just 3 of 7 passes for 23 yards. To the dismay of 51,852 fans who showed up expecting to witness his coming-out party, Clausen did not generate a touchdown – or even a first down – as his Blue team suffered a 10-6 loss to the Gold team.

The 2006 USA Today Offensive Player of the Year in high school football is bidding to succeed Brady Quinn, who was the Irish's starting QB the past four years, set 36 school records and is expected to be a top-five pick in the upcoming National Football League Draft.

"The last two years, we've counted on Number 10 to win the game for us," head coach Charlie Weis told reporters after the game. "Well guess what? Number 10 is not here anymore."

Instead, the Irish have a heralded but unproven freshman and three relative unknowns – sophomore Demetrius Jones, junior Evan Sharpley and sophomore Zach Frazer.

Jones' numbers matched Clausen's (3 of 7 for 23 yards) but he threw a touchdown and also threw an interception that was returned 35 yards for a touchdown. Sharpley completed 5 of 7 for 31 yards. Frazer was 0 of 4 with an interception.

As a group, the four QB candidates combined to complete just 11 of 25 pass attempts for 77 yards with one TD and two interceptions.

"None of the four ever played themselves out of contention, and I think that's the strongest statement I can make," Weis said. "None of them played themselves out of the mix."

The Irish head man had little else to say about the quarterback situation and did not permit the four contenders to speak with media after the spring game.


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