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Notre Dame Week - Sharpley gets the Call

As I mentioned earlier, Notre Name Coach Charlie Weis' is benching of Jimmy Clausen in favor Evan Sharpley for this weekends game against USC in South Bend. Clausen has struggled in his brief time at Notre Dame. And all the hype that surrounded the freshman phenom out of Oaks Christian put a lot of pressure on Clausen who was seen by some as the next hot thing at Notre Dame.

Here is a look at the Notre dame QB numbers for 2007:

Some have gone as far to say that maybe Weis isn't all that some thought he would be as a head coach let alone a QB guru. Weis is a great play caller, but outside of his high school coaching career he in NJ he has never held a head coaching position. He did win a state championship in Franklin Township but that is all he has as a head coach. The fact is the cupboard is bare this year after all the big players left last season. The offensive line situation at ND is a mess so it is not surprising that Clausen or Sharpley are having a bit of a tough time as they portray human pinballs.

Of course Sharpley starting this week against SC turns up the volume as to how Clausen would have faired against SC. He spurned Pete Carroll in order to go to ND and I'm sure some of the players would have loved to have sent a message.

From the LAT:

Sharpley, the backup to Brady Quinn last season and the No. 2 quarterback when Demetrius Jones and Jimmy Clausen started the first seven games this season, will make the first start of his career.

"I think Evan this week gives us the best chance of winning," Coach Charlie Weis said during his weekly news conference today.

Sharpley has led the Fighting Irish (1-6) to four of its seven offensive touchdowns, despite playing significantly less time than Clausen, a freshman who had started the past six games. Weis said part of the reason for the change is Clausen's health.

Sharpley looked pretty good in his relief of Clausen going 11 for 29 for 135 yards and a touchdown. And he did a pretty good job against Purdue. Sharpley with his backing up of Quinn last year obviously gives him the experience to lead his team. I am actually wondering why he didn't get the call in the early going while Clausen got some time holding the clip board in order to understand the offense.

Sure Clausen is a more accurate passer, the numbers bear that out:

Weis has repeatedly said Clausen has been the starter because he's been more accurate throwing. The statistics back him up. Clausen is 81-of-141 passing for a 57.4 completion rate, while Sharpley is 43-of-80 with a 53.8 completion rate.

But that is not all of the story, Clausen is simply having a tough time adjusting to the college game. I would be a little surprised that Weis started Clausen based purely on his passing accuracy but what other reason could there be? The question on Saturday will be how the USC defense will put pressure on Sharpley. If the ND offensive line is so weak does that mean that SC will have their way with them, I don't know I just want to see consistency.

It all starts at the line so SC needs to keep pressure on Sharpley; do that and the rest will take care of itself.