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April 9, 2010

Clausen impressive in workout

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NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Jimmy Clausen’s audition Friday for approximately a dozen-and-a-half NFL teams was about as impressive as he could have hoped for coming off toe surgery.

“It went well,” said Clausen after completing 57-of-59 passes to former Irish wide receivers Golden Tate, Robby Parris and David Grimes, and running back James Aldridge on Meyo Field inside the Loftus Sports Center.

“I’d been working with David and Robby when we were down in California for about a week-and-a-half, and I just got here Monday night and threw with all the guys, Golden and James included. I felt great out there.”

Clausen threw just about every three-, five- and seven-step drop throw imaginable, although he limited his movement because he is still recovering from surgery to repair a tendon in his right foot.

“That’s why I didn’t do any movement,” Clausen said. “My toe feels great. It’s just the top of my ankle from being in a boot for eight weeks. Putting a lot of pressure on it, it’s still weak. I’ve got to keep getting that stronger, but that’s the reason I didn’t do any nakeds or bootlegs.”

It was difficult to recognize that Clausen is coming off surgery. Using plays from Charlie Weis’ playbook, Clausen zipped the football with authority and only overshot two throws — both deep balls that a lunging Parris couldn’t catch up to. Otherwise, Clausen’s accuracy was flawless, rifling the ball around the indoor facility much like he did during the 2009 season when he connected on 68 percent of his passes.

“He really is a very accurate passer with an explosive throwing motion and the ability to make all the throws,” said Marc Trestman, a former NFL coach who helped Clausen choreograph the workout.

“He spins the ball just beautifully. These guys caught everything today, which just goes to show you he has the type of ball that is catchable.”

Clausen said he hadn’t thrown a football in front of an audience since the season-ending loss to Stanford.

“It was real quiet in here,” Clausen said. “You could hear a pin drop.

“I just wanted to go out there and show (the scouts) that my foot has come along at about 75, 80 percent. It feels great throwing the ball. I’m not in any pain.

“It’s a hard process, but I’m having a great time. For me and my family, it’s a dream come true. I’m just having fun with the whole process.”

Current players in attendance included Manti Te’o, Chris Stewart, Sergio Brown, Kyle Rudolph, Dayne Crist, Michael Floyd, Mike Ragone, Armando Allen, Trevor Robinson, Sean Cwynar, Robert Hughes, Dan McCarthy, Cierre Wood, Mike Golic Jr., and Braxton Cave. Former teammates Kyle McCarthy, Paul Duncan and Asaph Schwapp also were in attendance.

Current Irish assistant coaches on hand for the workout included Tony Alford, Chuck Martin, Kerry Cooks, Ed Warinner, Charley Molnar and Mike Elston.

Notre Dame athletics director Jack Swarbrick was in attendance.

Observing the action with the players in the metal bleachers was Charlie Weis, Jr., the son of former Irish head coach Charlie Weis. His father did not attend Clausen’s workout.





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