Casey “The Iceman” Clausen never got his due as Tennessee football’s quarterback in the early 2000s. A California kid with a calm temperament, Clausen’s personality clashed with the culture of Rocky Top. It came across as arrogance.
But fans were always unfair to Clausen. The guy was 14-1 on the road and is second in every passing category for the Vols only to Peyton Manning. He went 2-0 at Florida and at Tuscaloosa. And he won at Miami .Name somebody else who has done that.
One of the most clutch players in school history, it is true that Clausen never won an SEC Championship. But the Vols were 2-3 before he started a game in 2000, and he led them to an 8-3 regular season record. So not winning it that year wasn’t his fault.
Then, after he led his team to a 10-1 record in 2001, he wasn’t really at fault for the horrible SEC Championship loss to the LSU Tigers. Remember, LSU had an elite secondary that year. Clausen did not fumble the ball like Travis Stephens or Donte Stallworth in critical moments. And it wasn’t his fault the defense couldn’t stop Matt Mauck.
He and the rest of the team suffered a horrible injury bug bite in 2002, which caused the program to stumble to an 8-5 record. But in 2003, he led them to 10-2 and a share of the SEC East title. That came despite the loss of Jason Witten and an injury to Robert Meachem that left him with no go-to target.
So Clausen had numerous things go wrong for him. But he still did a lot of great things for Tennessee football, and he’s arguably the most clutch quarterback in school history. Don’t forget that 4th and 19 conversion against Alabama in 2003. He deserved better from Vols fans, and the hate for him was highly unfair.