I don't claim to be the smartest football brain around, but as I posted on Saturday night, Clausen should be the starter this week and going forward, and Coach Weis agrees.
Clausen, coming out of spring practice, was the most polished passer of the three. Another thing I've seen from Clausen, which is something Sharpley just plan lacks, is pocket presence. Watch the Georgia Tech tape, and you'll see that the only sack of Jimmy was a lucky trip by a defender on the ground. Several times you'll also see Clausen feel the pressure coming and deliver the ball just before it could arrive.
Expect the offense this week to look much more like what we are used to seeing under Brady, but not as efficient. Clausen hasn't had a lot of time to rep with the 1st team due to his rehab, but I'm willing to give him some time to develop his chemistry with the receivers.
As we'll see later this week, I still think there is so much that needs to happen with this team that we won't waltz into Penn State and get a victory. However, and long time Notre Dame fan knows the kind of magic that can happen with a new starter (remember Powlus' performance? and LoVecchio's run?).
This week's challenge will be a test by fire against Penn State. Their linebacking corps is not a one-man band like Georgia Tech's was, and their best player (Dan Connor) is better than Phillip Wheeler, who nobody could block last week. In fact, Dan Connor is the best inside linebacker in the country. The defensive line shouldn't be as tough, but the secondary should be the toughest we'll face outside of USC.
It's a tall task to ask Jimmy to beat this team, and an even taller task to ask for enough improvement from the offensive line to win the game on the ground. Expect a couple of exciting plays from Jimmy as well as a couple of blown plays and turnovers.
My expectations from this week? To stem the bleeding and stay competitive against Penn State, losing by less than 2 touchdowns. The more I watch the Georgia Tech game, the more of a pessimist I become.
On the bright side, I'm counting the days until USC rolls into town with all of their swagger and confidence. We are setting up to be a classic trap game for them.