Notre Dame Could Play Multiple QBs this Year


Fighting Irish Football

During one of his banner seasons leading the Cincinnati Bearcats, current Notre Dame Coach Brian Kelly played two QBs. This fall in South Bend, it could happen again. Maybe.

Dayne Crist is the projected starter, with Tommy Rees number two as of today, but the depth chart isn’t set in stone, or anything like that, as of now.

“We’ll have to obviously cut back and hone in on who the starter and back-up in that order is,” Kelly said after the Blue/Gold spring game.

“but we have knowledge now.  Now we can move forward in making some of those tougher decisions relative to who is one, and who is two.”

By Paul M. Banks

For part 2 of this analysis, focusing on Crist and Hendrix, go here

dayne crist

The Irish have two guys who will more likely make plays with their arms than with their feet in Rees and Crist. But in Kelly’s spread-option it’s also very important to have a QB who can make plays with his legs too.

“I think it’s capability over speed is what Tommy brings.  He can see the field.  He had three legitimate drops out there today where he put the ball right on,” Kelly told the media Saturday.

“I think in terms of accuracy today, and, again, I’ll go back and watch the film, but I think Tommy was the most accurate in throwing the football.  He was a little late in an overdrag off the play action where the ball got deflected.  But by and large I thought he was right on.”

Sophomore QB Andrew “Gold Haze” Hendrix was likely the spring game MVP (can I copyright that nickname?) as his numbers were by far the most impressive of the four signal-callers. He went 10-16 passing for 113 yards, no interceptions. He also made plays with his feet; running five times for 37 yards and two touchdowns in leading the gold to victory. The play of Hendrix asked the blue defense “are you experienced?”

Hendrix and freshman QB Everett Golson both “went live” in this game; meaning they wore regular open contact jerseys; while the two QBs with experience: senior Dayne Crist and sophomore Tommy Rees, wore the red “no contact” jerseys. The more experienced QBs played the first quarter while the two fresh guys played the final three. Here’s the final quarterback box:

Golson 9-18-0, 91 yards, 1 TD, 11 carries 62 yards (game’s leading rusher)

Crist 5-11-0, 34 yards

Rees 7-14-1, 61 yards

Brian Kelly talked about how important it was for Golson and Hendrix to get experience; especially live contact.

“I thought they really calmed down in the second half.  Early on everything was a 99 mile-an-hour fastball instead of feathering balls in here and there,” Kelly said.

“I thought it was a great, great opportunity for them in a game-like atmosphere.  And I think they got that sense of playing in a big-time atmosphere.  So I thought you can’t replace that kind of experience that they got.”

In Hendrix and Golson, the Irish have two guys that can really scramble and make big plays on the ground.

“Sometimes I was going through my first read and looking to run, because the pressure was getting to me,” Golson said.

“But I’m really looking forward to progressing in making all my reads before having to run.”

Golson is far ahead of most freshmen in that he enrolled early, and he’s been running the spread-option since 7th grade.

“It’s second nature to me a little bit. Obviously, coming in early in the spring has helped me a lot in developing my individual skills,” Golson said.

“I felt like I didn’t show enough to coaches as I wanted to. I’m happy to be in the place that I’m at, it can’t get much better than this, but I’m probably my biggest critic right now,” he continued.

It’s a good sign for the program’s QB depth that they have players like Golson who are that ambitious and driven.

Go here for part two, where we analyze/chat with Crist and Hendrix.

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports , a Midwest webzine. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports

He does a regular guest spot each week for Chicagoland Sports You can follow him on Twitter @thesportsbank and Facebook

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