Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Need a Reason to Hate ND Even More?

(Picture evidence of why it is IMPOSSIBLE the Pack could give the Irish a close game)

Why not give you one then? Only one word comes up more in the college football world than "Irish" and that's "Tebow". And although it's enough to make you want to puke just how much Timmy is rammed down our throats on a daily basis on ESPN, at least he has the stats and rings to back it up. Plus, we don't play Flordia until January. So lets hate on our first opponent then. It's really not that hard anyway but what the heck. It's the first day after a long weekend and we thought you deserve to get some info on the Irish, namely their highly rated QB. The future "Lebron James" of football.

What's that? You're snickering?

We're being serious. At least that was the statement made by Jimmy's private QB coach, Steve Clarkson, when he was coming out of highschool. Sure it would be easy to target Charlie "ate the chocolate factory" Weis. But we'll stick to the golden armed golden boy this time.

From an SI article during Jimmy's HS career http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2005/magazine/11/21/clausen1128/:
"Adds Steve Clarkson, a private quarterbacks coach who has instructed all three Clausens, "Jimmy has the leadership of Casey, the intangibles of Rick and the skills of Dan Marino." In fact, no one can think of many flaws Clausen needs to correct, but that doesn't mean he isn't continuing to work to improve. In addition to the time he spends with Clarkson -- at least 10 hours a week in the off-season, less during the season -- Clausen watches an hour of film every night, and he talks with his brothers almost daily. "What amazes me is his ability to keep things in perspective," says Clarkson. "He knows people are there to watch him, but he is able to shrug that off and play. People don't think he can live up to the hype, but in most cases he exceeds it."

Clarkson is responsible for much of that hype, having tagged Clausen "the LeBron James of high school football" before his freshman year. However apt the comparison may be in terms of, say, Clausen's ability to dominate the competition, the young quarterback has taken on none of the trappings of celebrity."

Yep, we are pretty sure he didn't take on the trappings of celebrity too. Every HS kid shows up in a limo with 5 rings on for his signing. Didn't you guys attend the gala event held in Kevin Basped's honor when he inked with the Pack?

Then there are those rumors about his "being old" for his class. Come on now. Here are the real facts about that:

"Clausen was held back a year in grade school and also started kindergarten a year late. Clausen was born September 21, 1987, so he entered kindergarten at the age of 6 and turned 7 within a month of starting school. For point of reference, I was 5 when I entered kindergarten and didn't turn 6 until April. Clausen would have been almost a year and a half older than your average kindergartner. Could you imagine a 7 year old playing peewee football against 5 year olds?? Think about how much confidence you would have playing against kids two years younger than you at all times. Is there any doubt that his age probably had a huge impact on his athletic career??

Clausen also repeated 6th grade, which meant that he turned 16 in September of his freshman year. Clausen was able to drive in the first month of his FRESHMAN year! That's amazing! I didn't have a driver's license until the end of my sophomore year. That's not necessarily an athletic advantage, but it's still pretty cool. It's kind of nice to always be the first to do something in your class, and he was the first to do things by over a year. You could say there's maybe even a social advantage to being the first to do everything.

Clausen graduated high school at the age of 19 in December 2006. He is going to turn 22 this year in September, and will be 23 for most of next year's college football season. That's amazing to me. If he had actually redshirted in college, he would have been 24 for his 5th year of football."

Then there are the rumors that Clausen's parents are rich and his dad bought him a big nice house right across from the field. Here's how the deal went down:

"A robust man is across the street from Touchdown Jesus, going door-to-door. He wants to buy a house, wants it close to the Golden Dome and, preferably, wants it this autumn afternoon. He rings 16 doorbells, but half the home owners don't answer and the other half won't sell. He keeps plugging. At the 17th home, an older woman in curlers invites him in, offers lemonade. He tells her no thanks, he'd rather have her house. She says sorry and urges him to head three doors down. The man goes straight there and finds the door slightly ajar. He knocks, and a gravelly voice says, "We don't want any." He knocks again. "We don't want any!" He doesn't budge, instead pressing his business card against the screen door.

"Oh, we thought you were a Jehovah's Witness," says an elderly woman, waving him inside. "We watched you work the entire neighborhood."

"No, I'm Jim Clausen," says the man. "My son's coming to school here, and I want to buy your house."

And from the next room comes the gravelly voice again: "Sonny, this is your lucky day." Already he's a campus celebrity, signing autographs on his way to class and in the student section at Irish basketball games. Talk about a bubble: He's just entered one. As time wears on, he figures it will be nice to have a place to hide, a place near the dorms, a place where he can decompress.

And that's what the house is for, the one across the street from Touchdown Jesus. Why do you think Jim Clausen went door-to-door? He ended up negotiating a deal with the gravelly voice, an elderly gentleman who was moving into assisted living. They were in escrow within 24 hours.

Contractors gutted the place and turned it into a tricked-out five-bedroom hangout. The basement is now a game room with a big-screen TV, and Jimmy has already brought over teammates to watch NFL games. But mostly, the house will be a sanctuary after tough days, because if the Clausens have learned anything, it's that hype and hate are on the way. "The first time Jimmy throws three picks, someone's going to stick a "For Sale" sign in the front yard," says Jim Clausen, chuckling.

The family will be at the house every football weekend. And the robust dad already knows how they'll arrive at Jimmy's games, including that first one, the spring game on April 21.

No, not in a Hummer.

In a golf cart."


What, didn't your dad go knocking door to door to buy you a house across from the science building? Well he probably didn't love you enough then. And notice his dad's name is Jim...now try and tell us he wasn't a spoiled rotten little "baby of the family" brat.

So there you have it. A nice read to start your week. Hopefully it's a nice read for Kevin and Dontay as well.

We're sure ND fans who stop by have read this all before from other opponents so it's all old hat to them. Bear with us though please, as Nevada fans may be in the dark a little about this stuff so we're taking it upon ourselves to educate them on the topic.


keep it real said...

sounds like those parents have done nothing to help that kid stay grounded. Let's hope he and the rest of his entitled teammates are humbled Sept. 5

Packfan7 said...

Pretty shocking stuff there. And you're right, mom and dad sound like they didn't do him any favors.

Anonymous said...

There is a great chapter in Malcolm Gladwell's book "Outliers" about a remarkable similarity found in the Canadian junior hockey program: Almost all the national team members had birthdays within about 90 days of each other. The correlation being that the birthdays all resulted in the players being as old as possible at the time they first entered organized hockey.

These players were all perceived as being more talented than other players simply because they were older, larger, and more physically developed. These players were the ones that were selected for All-Star teams, which meant they received more coaching, more playing time, and more attention. This advantage was so significant at an early age that few players who were not born at the right time of year were able to overcome it.

This same phenomenon has been demonstrated in other sports as well - notably baseball. Sports "talent', it turns out, is largely the luck of the draw, based on when you were born.

Clausen clearly has had the same advantage - only significantly more so. Compared to his classmates, he has been ridiculously more developed, and more physically mature than those he has competed against.

wickedarm said...

Is Claussen a good player, yes. Is he as good as his hype, no. That is what the star rating system does for you, and also playing in the lowest division in California with a star-studded lineup. His parents would have been better off keeping him grounded and not hyped him. It has paid off getting him to ND, but in the end are they really helping him? Time will tell, but I think he will struggle again this year. I guess if your goal was to have your sons education paid for, they were successful. Me thinks they have Pro dreams. Hope he can handle the dissapointment if it doesn't come his way.