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Offseason Cheatsheet: Quarterbacks

Aug 17, 2010, 9:04 PM EDT

As we count the days until Purdue week officially begins, let’s kick off another installment: The Offseason Cheatsheet. While most of you have been loyal readers and checking back multiple times each day, some of you are cramming for the Irish football season that’s 18 days away. Consider this your Du Lac approved crib-sheet for the upcoming season.


With the departure of three-year starter Jimmy Clausen to the NFL, the Irish depth chart lacks any quarterback with significant playing time. That said, the succession plan post-Clausen is falling into form with junior Dayne Crist ready to take the helm, albeit a season early than many Irish fans hoped. While his offseason was thrown a curve ball when a torn ACL suffered in mop-up time against Washington State ended his 2009 season in San Antonio, Crist rehabbed diligently through the winter, took every snap during spring drills, and is injury free and full-speed in fall camp. The battle to back up Crist starts with walk-on Nate Montana and early enrollee freshman Tommy Rees. Fellow freshman Andrew Hendrix and Luke Massa are also pushing for a spot on the depth chart, but both will likely preserve a year of eligibility this season.


Short a program? Here’s every quarterback listed on roster:

  No.       Name                   Yr.      Ht./Wt.      Hometown/High School
  10         Dayne Crist          Jr.      6-4/235     Canoga Park, CA (Notre Dame)
  12         Andrew Hendrix   Fr.      6-2/218     Cincinnati, OH (Moeller)
  13         Tommy Rees        Fr.      6-2/210     Lake Forest, IL (Lake Forest)
  14         Luke Massa         Fr.       6-4/215    Cincinnati, OH (St. Xavier)
  15         Brian Costello      Sr.       6-2/210    Pittsburgh, PA (Chartiers Valley)
  16         Nate Montana      Jr.       6-4/215    Concord, CA (De La Salle)
  17         Matthew Mulvey   Jr.       6-2/191    Del Mar, CA (La Jolla)


On Crist: “At the end of the day, this whole conversation can be in a few
words: Dayne Crist is getting better every day,” Kelly
said. “The rest of this other stuff? It’s good. But
it’s really going to focus on Dayne’s ability and the upshot is, he’s
doing a nice job.”

On Rees: “He’s really savvy. He’s a smart kid. He has those intangibles of a
quarterback relative to seeing things before they open up. He can
anticipate very well. The ball comes out of his hand.
I want to be careful in saying he’s not number two just because he was
here longer than the other two freshmen. I think I said at the outset,
he showed us early on that he can run this offense.”

On Montana: “Nate’s problem is he has a really good day and then a really bad day. I
got to get him more consistent because Tommy’s been really consistent.”

On Hendrix: “He’s got a very strong arm. I think what stands out about Andrew is
that he’s only been a starter for a year and a half. He has not played a
lot of football. His best football is clearly in front of him.”

On Massa: “Very smart, very disciplined. He’s 6’5″, 205 pounds. He’s going to be
really big. He’s going to be a strong player. He’s got great feet,
outstanding basketball player.”


In a perfect world, the only quarterback that sees the field this year for the Irish is Dayne Crist. If all goes well, expect Crist to receive some postseason kudos and begin next season in a similar position to Brady Quinn entering his senior season, in the conversation for a certain trophy that just gave Reggie Bush the stiff-arm. Other hunches: Expect Tommy Rees to supplant Nate Montana as the primary back-up to Crist by the middle of the season. With three freshman quarterbacks on the roster, don’t expect the Irish to take a quarterback in this recruiting class unless somebody really wows the staff. Even if there’s nobody in that recruiting slot this year, expect to say goodbye to one of the three freshman. Attrition and logic, along with a lack of playing time, means somebody will leave South Bend to pursue playing time at another school.


C+ With Crist on the top of the depth chart, it’s too hard to knock the Irish, but the depth chart behind him is scary, even if Kelly’s known for having a quarterback friendly system.


  1. Art Vandelay - Aug 17, 2010 at 11:34 PM

    I’m sure that Nate Montana wouldn’t mind being the No. 3 QB as I think his Dad was third string when he came in with 11 minutes left to come from behind and stun Purdue. If he does get in, Kelly just better have some chicken soup on hand at all times. By the way, wouldn’t it be weird to hear Hammond say something like, “And Montana completes that one to Collinsworth.” Makes me feel really old to be watching the second generation of these great players. Hey, maybe we’ll even sign Barry Sanders Jr.

  2. terry - Aug 18, 2010 at 6:59 AM

    The trophy referred to was named after a coach who in his heyday 90-100 years ago – coached at Georgia Tech.
    One fine day GT played (I believe it was) Cumberland College.
    (I was not there)
    The score was 80-0 GT at the 1st quarter, the final score was 220-0.
    I have always believed it inappropriate to name college football’s most coveted trophy after someone like that.
    but that’s just me

  3. TLNDMA - Aug 18, 2010 at 7:54 AM

    Terry, what if we win on Nov. 27th by that score?
    I wonder if the back-up Qb situation will remain fluid for the duration of the season?

  4. jan - Aug 18, 2010 at 12:02 PM

    If we win by that score on Nov 27th, a new most coveted trophy will need to be created….

  5. SDI - Aug 18, 2010 at 3:27 PM

    I think that in a perfect world Crist is not the only QB that plays. It would be great to see the 2nd and even 3rd stringer get considerable playing time in mop up situations during ND blowouts.

  6. tom - Aug 18, 2010 at 8:31 PM

    sdi u really think we are going to blow teams out this yr. wow i sure do hope so !

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