SRI continues to work in new writers. This post is courtesy of Chris Fedor of WKNR in Cleveland.
A season ago, Notre Dame made it back to a bowl game and finished the season with a 7-6 record. This season, they got off to a great start beating Nevada 35-0. There are once again high hopes in South Bend for the Irish in the fifth season under Charlie Weis and a top 25 ranking. The team looks like a potential 9 or 10 win team once again and it looks as if the Irish have found their answer at quarterback with Jimmy Clausen leading the way. If Notre Dame is going to once again become relevant, Jimmy Clausen is going to have to live up to the hype that surrounded him when coming out of high school and take that next step in his junior season. After Clausen finished 2008 with a bang against Hawaii in the Hula Bowl where he threw for 406 yards and 5 touchdowns, he continued that form in week one against Nevada. Clausen was razor-sharp in the game as he completed 15 of his 18 passes for 315 yards and four touchdowns. Now Charlie Weis and the Irish will head to the Big House for a showdown against what looks to be a much-improved Michigan team in Rich Rodriguez’s second season at the helm. This could be a true indicator of whether or not Notre Dame will be contenders or pretenders this season in college football.
Charlie Weis joined 99.9 The Fan in Raleigh to talk about Notre Dame’s week one win against Nevada, the development of Jimmy Clausen, the commitment to the running game this year, and playing at Michigan this weekend.
On the week one win against Nevada:
“Well, it was definitely a good start. The most positive thing is that we like to play a complimentary game. The offense played good, the defense played good and the special teams played good. There’s still plenty of stuff to correct, but when you can play a complimentary game and you don’t have to count on one facet of your team early in the season you have to be generally content.”
On the development of Jimmy Clausen:
“Jimmy’s been on the come here for a while now. He’s not just a one-game wonder. He’s been progressing now since he’s gotten here and he’s finally gotten to that point where when he goes out on the field and expects to play well. Now you’re not always going to go 15 for 18, but he’s now at the point when he goes on the field he expects to be drastically down in mistakes and drastically up in production.”
On this weekend’s game against Michigan:
“Like everyone was talking about in Michigan ‘oh they’re down they’re down, they’re down’ then they go and just lay a beating on Western Michigan, who is a nice little team now. Everyone thinks ‘oh there playing Western Michigan’, but they beat them 31 to 7 and they beat them soundly. They’re better on offense now in year two with Coach Rod’s (Rich Rodriguez) offense. Then they brought (Greg) Robinson in from Syracuse and he’s a good defensive mind. You can see the team is much better than anytime they were playing last year. It won’t be an easy challenge going up to the Big House, but I think that our guys got a little momentum from last week and they’re really looking forward to going up there.“