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Hendrix is ready to run the entire offense

Dec 26, 2011, 6:12 PM EDT

Andrew Hendrix Stanford

The evolution of Andrew Hendrix hasn’t been a gradual process. It started that way, with the sophomore quarterback getting his first snaps in situational packages, running the option and throwing the occasional high-percentage pass as he worked into the game plan as a complementary part to quarterback Tommy Rees.

Then the Stanford game happened.

It was there Hendrix was all but thrown into the fire, caution left behind with Dayne Crist all but out the door and Rees battered and ineffective in the first half against a Cardinal defense that harassed and confused the Irish starting quarterback.

A funny thing happened when Hendrix stopped running his small handful of plays and worked his way through a bigger chunk of Kelly’s playbook. The Irish offense looked better, especially with a running threat from the quarterback keeping the Cardinal defense honest.

Make no mistake, 11 of 24 with a touchdown and interception isn’t a great day behind center. But for a maiden voyage, Hendrix looked the part as captain of the Irish ship, and the month since then has changed the way both the head coach and the No. 2 quarterback look at things.

“There’s a different approach to it,” Brian Kelly said of Hendrix’s preparation. “He didn’t do much first unit work when we were using him as a situational player. So building a relationship with the first group and the offensive line, I think obviously that changed with his approach. He knows he’s not going in there with a package, he’s going in there to run the offense. There’s a focus and demeanor that’s different than earlier in the year.”

If there’s a major personnel storyline to follow in the Champs Sports Bowl, it’s the open audition Hendrix will have for the starting job in 2012. Make no mistake, the Irish aren’t playing for next year against the Seminoles — beating Florida State and getting to nine wins is incredibly important for Kelly and the Irish football program. But acknowledging that Hendrix will have full access to the playbook — including the running game that will never be a part of Rees’ repertoire — and you begin to understand just how big of an opportunity this is for Hendrix, and an Irish offense that’ll likely look much difference next year.

The race for the starting quarterback in 2012 can wait. Especially when facing a defense as explosive as the Seminoles, who have done a very good job shutting down running games and pressuring the quarterback, something Kelly expects Florida State to do.

“The first time Andrew goes in there, they’re going to blitz him,” Kelly said. “At least I would because he didn’t do as well picking up the blitz against Stanford when he went in there late. As long as he does that, he can play the entire game if it works that way.”

Kelly’s stayed mum on how the snaps will break down, stating only that both Rees and Hendrix will play. Whether it’s gamesmanship or just a truthful acknowledgement that there’s a lot of uncertainty behind center, we’ll find out on Thursday.

“I don’t know what to tell you,” Kelly said when pressed on the issue. “I want one of them to have the hot hand. If both of them have it, obviously we’re going to have to make it work. We’re going to play them both and see how it goes.”

After nearly an entire season of taking it slow, giving Hendrix the chance to “see how it goes” should give us an early idea if he’s ready to take over the offense.

  1. nudeman - Dec 26, 2011 at 7:30 PM

    I don’t trust BK not to screw this up, sorry to say, after the piss poor mgmt of the QBs this year that defied all logic.

    Thank God he appears at least to take the shackles off Andrew. However, I will believe it when I see it.

    • papadec - Dec 27, 2011 at 6:51 PM

      Awwwww nude – as I read the opening paragraph, I started wondering what your comment would be. I scrolled down & sure enough you’re the first comment. Lighten up scrooge, and enjoy the holidays. Maybe the ND men will upset PITT tonight in hoops? That would be a nice start to this week. Anyway, have a great New Year – I DO look forward to your posts.

      • joeschu - Dec 28, 2011 at 12:10 AM

        Wish granted (men’s hoops won), and nude is (once again) totally right in this.

        Btw… Anyone pining for Kiel can simmer down, he picked LSU.

  2. smurphdoggy29 - Dec 26, 2011 at 7:52 PM

    Nudeman, I have to say (surprisingly) I agree with you.

    My confidence in Kelly eroded exponentially throughout the season, and it was directly related to his handling (mishandling) of the Quarterback position. Not that he did a stellar job in all other facets, but he was pretty consistent in all areas, except Quarterback.

    Now admittedly I am a Crist fan. Yet I base my critique of Kelly on what I witnessed here in Cincinnati, and from what I learned from relatives who were students at his MAC stop. Kelly changed Quarterbacks like showgirls change outfits depending on the situation at hand. Yet now, in South Bend, he clings to one that doesn’t even match up physically or performance wise to Dustin Grutza, Tony Pike, or Nick Davila. Which makes no sense, none, compared to Kelly’s consistent track record in his career in regards to Quarterbacks.

    I entertain the notion that perhaps Kelly is afraid, he is betting with scared money, and Kelly isn’t quite sure what to do.

    Whatever, I just hope Hendrix plays well enough to move ahead of the Book Mark and get us into the Hendrix vs Gohlson debate.

    Ed. Note. : I left “Coach” out intentionally. I am less than sold on the man currently.

  3. irishking - Dec 26, 2011 at 8:40 PM

    I hope that Andrew Hendrix makes believers out of everyone.

    • nudeman - Dec 26, 2011 at 9:45 PM

      I do too
      And I am still a believer in Kelly. I just think where QBs are concerned, he’s totally screwed it up.

      The Crist thing STILL makes no sense. Neither does sticking with TR through his march to the interception HOF.

      Someday that story is going to come out, and I HOPE it’s because Kelly had some insight on Dayne based on performance that none of the rest of us did. Because my fear lately is that BK was intimidated/jealous/threatened by Dayne’s popularity with teammates and fans and let that influence him. If THAT is the case, there’s a much bigger problem here.

      • NotreDan - Dec 27, 2011 at 8:56 AM

        I gotta say nude, and this is no small thing given your long and notorious string of “posts”, your theory about BK being jealous of Crist is… your dumbest comment ever.

        You were right there, on the edge of reason by acknowledging that the head coach may have had some insight that you didn’t (I know, shocking), and then you just jumped clear off the cliff of ridiculous.

        Merry Christmas.

      • don74 - Dec 27, 2011 at 10:06 AM

        The internet is the place where we all have ideas about the grassy knoll and the second gunman. When it comes to the QB situation, here’s mine. BK was never sold on DC, ever. Clearly he had no choice in 10 as we saw when Dayne went down against Michigan. By the time DC was injured in the Tulsa game BK had TR ready to play. Not the full playbook but enough to keep the team in games. DC may have benefitted from a cut down version of things as well but we will never know and given DC’s heralded rating it wasn’t an option.

        Spring and fall has the QB’s neck and neck. The coaches vote and DC is the winner even though BK is not fully sold. Halftime in game one expands to 2 hours and BK has time to think. He never wanted to go with Dayne anyway. The team is down 16-0 and he sees what bugged him last year about Dayne’s play.

        After one of the practices in Orlando BK says it’s been a great time with him and the QB’s. He’s had 3 weeks to spend with them and it’s the most time he’s had……all this in an answer to a question about the other Charlie, Molnar that is. My guess. Molnar was in DC’s camp. Molnar was O coordinator and QB coach. DC and TR were neck and neck in the fall. Molnar said DC. BK was undecided but not sold. A long halftime and down 16-0 and Dayne is gone. Molnar is off to UMass and gone from bowl prep.

        All season the QB situation made no sense, it’s now starting to. Bk’s O coordinator at Cincy didn’t come to ND. Molnar got the job. Being loyal to each other BK made sure he gets placed in a good situation. Program located where he’s from, small school looking to move up…..a nice way to exit ND. Face saved by everyone.

        Let’s see what happens against FSU, who comes in as QB coach and next season’s offense. My guess, 12 is the measuring stick for where the program is and whether BK is the guy.

      • nudeman - Dec 27, 2011 at 10:13 AM

        Excellent analysis by Don, and probably right on.

        To THAT I’ll add THIS: The idea that BK was “jealous” of DC’s immense popularity is not as kooky as one might think, if I add in this as an additional clarifier: BK being a stubborn Irish guy was determined NOT to feel bull rushed into sticking with Dayne just because Molnar and teammates and fans wanted him. BK had concerns about DC as his QB anyway, so he picked and stayed with TR. The “jealous” angle is just one of a few factors.

        Not as kooky as it sounds. Do you think head coaches are immune from personal pettiness and jealousies? They’re not robots.

      • uawlocal1136 - Dec 27, 2011 at 3:48 PM


        First, I hope you had a safe and restful Christmas or Hanukkah. God knows you have need a of a long rest, (may I suggest a dirt nap) following your maggot riddled spew of the past 5 months.

        Now comes before us (me and the boys here at the local) your worst venom to date. The head coach of Notre Dame is, “intimidated/jealous/threatened” by some 21 year old kid. Now that is hilarious! You must have been sleeping face down in the eggnog….naw, we couldn’t be so lucky. Where do you come with this crap? Truly, some of your brain impulses must jump so randomly from synapse to synapse that your fingers don’t know what they are doing…just flying over the keyboard, ‘er typewriter and magically hits the send button.

        So, here is what me and the boys think you should do. Resign from the position of “Captain Ash hole” with Inside the Irish, agree to have all Pube related material forever cleansed from this websiteand give back your honorary GED. We in turn will release you from any and all restrictive covenants that may now encumber you. Then, form your own website ! I have even taken the time to form your Board and brand your organization. Goes like this…you are the Chairman (Chairboy), J. Sandusky is the Recording Secretary (you said he looks good in a dress) and B. Fine is the Director Emeritus (no reason, other than it will take you a week to figure out exactly what that means). Your website is And you, Pubes can finally have your mug shot on something other than Dateline NBC…wink, wink.

        Great idea huh! No, no, don’t thank me. Just trying to lend a hand to one of God’s children at this holy and festive time of the year. And, always remember, the most enjoying traditions of the season are best enjoyed in the warm embrace of kith and kin.

        Buy American. Buy Union!!! Re-elect President Obama.

      • irishbornraised - Dec 27, 2011 at 5:01 PM

        That was over the top and uncalled for. Nudeman is just one who enjoys joking on this website(perhaps for some comedic relief to get his mind off of this season). You don’t need to try to be an insulting juvenile little baby!
        And as for Obama, you really need to open your eyes

      • irish4006 - Dec 27, 2011 at 5:46 PM

        I generally agree with you on most things you have to say and admire your passion for our team, but this BK was jealous/intimidated doesn’t make any sense whatsoever – NotreDan put it nicely in his comments. :-)

        Every time I see Tommy as a QB, I cringe. I wonder why DC is not the quarterback. I think the reason is simple, BK doesn’t see in DC. He plays Tommy, as he has said, because he thinks he is the best option we have at the moment. I don’t think it’s because he is jealous of DC or a fan of TR (shudders). As for Hendrix, Gholson, the next Peyton Manning, Luke Massa, Luke Skywalker, Mother Teresa, or whoever we have in the backup, these are all unknown quantities. If he felt that any of them was ready to run the offense and put us in a better position to win, I believe he would have gone with that. Give the man some credit, he is a head football coach for a reason.

      • irish4006 - Dec 27, 2011 at 5:48 PM

        BTW, I was responding to nudeman… if it wasn’t clear from where the reply ended up.

  4. cpfirish - Dec 26, 2011 at 10:07 PM

    yea i dont understand BK and his decisions at the QB position. Dont get me wrong i like TR.. Will TR even been in the hunt for the starting spot next year? i was watching some tapes of EG and wow that young kid looks unreal!! he has a great arm and can scramble to get him self out of trouble..!! and i dont understand some of the coaching decision’s BK makes..!! however lets go beat the noles and end the year with a great win! go irish!!

  5. trbowman - Dec 26, 2011 at 11:03 PM

    Rees is underrated. One bad game and everyone has a problem!

    Accurate, quick release……pretty good QB if you ask me. Just needs to play smarter football.

    • seeeye - Dec 27, 2011 at 9:16 AM

      To which bad game are you referring?
      USC 09
      UM 10
      Pitt 10
      USC 10
      Stanford 10

      That’s 5 bad games out of 14, 38%. Throw in WF & Purdue where he was OK but not very effective, and you have crossed the 50% margin.

      • nudeman - Dec 27, 2011 at 10:06 AM

        Rees is a band aid to get us to the Hendrix/Golson/Kiel era. Nothing more.
        Personally I’m hoping it’s Golson.

      • trbowman - Dec 28, 2011 at 2:44 AM

        The same Pittsburgh game where he orchestrated the game winning drive? He struggled beforehand but, I’ll take the W and a GW TD drive from my QB.

        Michigan 10? Rees played a fine football game. Yet again, drove them down the field for what should have been the game winning drive. They’d of walked out with a W were it not for some Denard heroics at the end.

      • seeeye - Dec 28, 2011 at 6:14 PM


        The same Pitt team that was a triple digit pass defense? Just as I expect ND to beat the teams it “should” I expect the QB to beat the defenses he should. The game winning TD against Pitt should have been in the 2nd or 3rd quarter not a last drive spectacular. That is just Rees not beating a defense that was eminently beatable.

        Michigan 10, he still had 2-3 turnovers including the completely inexplicable drop at the Michigan 7. That TD (or even a field goal there) might have iced the Michigan comeback before GG had a chance to give them the game. So, yeah, bad game there living out the Turnover Tommy moniker someone laid on him.

    • nudeman - Dec 27, 2011 at 10:35 AM

      You’re kidding, right?

  6. trbowman - Dec 26, 2011 at 11:05 PM

    Backup QBs are always the favorite in town. Half of the time they usually do well coming off the bench. Different when you’re preparing to start and the defense is preparing to face you.

    Not knocking Hendrix but he needs plenty of refinement.

    What I want to see is him make a big time throw from the pocket.

    • irish4006 - Dec 27, 2011 at 5:58 PM

      “Backup QBs are always the favorite in town. Half of the time they usually do well coming off the bench.” I agree, 100%; but you lost me when you said Rees is a “pretty good QB” and “just needs to play smarter football”. Either you haven’t been watching or don’t know ND football (or football, for that matter) or you are his mother. There’s no point in even arguing pros and cons… We desperately need a good quarterback, if we don’t have him on the bench, we need to either develop one of them into it or recruit one. Rees is not it.

      • trbowman - Dec 28, 2011 at 2:44 AM


      • trbowman - Dec 28, 2011 at 2:53 AM

        I see a guy who stepped in as a freshman and played good football. Guy’s a winner.

        I see a guy who went into the Coliseum and came out with a W and gets ND its first bowl win in years.

        I see an accurate passer with a quick release that completes a high percentage of his throws.

        Not everyone can just do what he did his freshman year, to say the least.

        He performed significantly better his freshman year than Clausen/Quinn did in theirs.

        I’ll admit he hasn’t taken as much of a step forward this year as I thought me might but, I still think he’s a good QB who’s underrated round these parts.

      • seeeye - Dec 28, 2011 at 6:20 PM


        The team’s a winner. I thought this particular line of BS (Tommy was 4-0 last year etc) had been put quietly to rest sometime around mid-season. Tommy maybe tough, he may be competitive, he may be many things, but a high caliber QB, he is not.

        To his credit, ND likely would have won less with Nate Montana at the helm last year after Dayne went down.

        This year, however, I would be hard pressed to say that he put up any spectacular performances. To the team’s detriment, they likely would have won more with a more capable QB in the offense.

  7. leftcoastirishfan - Dec 27, 2011 at 12:03 AM

    Since I can’t respond to nudeman (legend) or irishking on my I pad for some reason. I would like to just add a few comments. Do you remember when Jimmy Clausen was a freshman? Come on, we all wanted to hurl. He was horrible. He would run east or west then throw the ball to the nearest bench. It was his third season til he actually competed. Let’s face it. Kelly wanted to win early. He doesn’t have the guy he needs to QB ND to a BCS championship. ND fans would have gone f’ing crazy if he would’ve gone to Golsen or Hendrix and our record reflected 4 and 8. Listen to you guys at 8 and 4. Kelly needed to win early. Kelly is winning early. Kelly is recruiting the best QB in HS right now. There is good reason for that. If he thought EG or AH could help him win early, don’t you think they would be starting right now? I believe the crux of the problem is that we don’t have a BCS QB on the team right now. Maybe we do and AH is the savior, but I don’t think so. I think EG is the best chance for ND. I also believe he needed a lot of coaching, not necessarily to learn his offense, but more to learn how to be a division 1QB. Step up in the pocket and scramble as a last option. Do you guys really think ND is going to run a Oregon type offense? We have way better athletes than Oregon. Look at the linemen Kelly is recruiting. I think Kiel would be perfect for Kelly’s offense. You’ve seen the receivers we have coming in. This is not Cincinnati, we have much better athletes. I believe in Kelly and agree with him sticking with Rees. Rees with a little mobility and we are 10 and 2 maybe 11 and 1 (less 10 TO’s). I know the nude hates the TO’s, but some of those TO’s weren’t TR’s fault. One example, RT screen pass against BC. I’m sorry RT stopped on that route. I agree TR lost the MU game (fumble on the 2). But Tommy was the best thing we had this year. I’ll give BK this year, one more year to wean the QB to lead us to the promise land. Until then, I’m looking to BK to continually modify his offense to fit the QB of his choosing.

    • seeeye - Dec 27, 2011 at 9:34 AM

      EG needed this year to bulk up. Remember that Clausen came into ND at 6-2, 200 to 205.

      He was on the red shirt express unless he absolutely lit up the field. That bar was probably set high enough to be in Low Earth Orbit, so he sat this year and learned.

      Hendrix-Rees, I don’t have any insight except that Coach Kelly is probably trying to win now and set up for a good future. Rees, as was often stated, gave him the best opportunity to win now. I doubt that the offense is seriously geared to keeping him as the long term alternative. Hendrix, talented as he may be, was caught in between the win now & build for later dynamics.

      I was a fan of Crist at QB, one hop flat screens and all. That being said, I look forward to a Hendrix-Golson QB race in the spring & summer and a red hatted Tommy next year.

    • thepiper3 - Dec 27, 2011 at 10:06 AM

      I agree that Kelly was focused on winning early. I agree that Kelly wasn’t going to throw an EG to the fire and go 8-4.

      But to say that we don’t have a BCS Championship level QB on this team is preposterous. The truth is that we do…they just haven’t grown into it yet because they don’t have the experience. Rees is not that guy. He’s serviceable. Crist wasn’t that guy because he couldn’t handle the pressure. Hendrix and Golson may very well be those guys. But they need to develop.

      The reason you recruit Kiel, or more importantly Devin Fuller, is because you recruit a QB every year. And you go after the best one available. Not because of a lack of what’s on the plate.

      • irishbornraised - Dec 27, 2011 at 5:14 PM

        No, he meant we do have a QB who could BECOME a national championship QB, they are great and have very promising futures! But think about all the preseason hype, people saying BCS or Bust, you all would have torn into him like no tomorrow had AH started against USF

    • irish4006 - Dec 27, 2011 at 6:08 PM

      Good analysis, LCIF; I think it’s a littl unfair to Jimmy to call him bad in his freshman and sophomore season. IIRC, that was probably the worst ND team ever in terms of talent, poor recruiting by Ty in the last season and Charlie’s Superbowl commitments in his first season sort of left ND completely exposed in JC’s first season. OL was sort of non-existent, they couldn’t even snap the ball (I recall a couple that flew over Jimmy’s head!).

  8. alsatiannd - Dec 27, 2011 at 10:01 AM

    This is all pretty simple to me. At game one of this season, Rees was better than Crist and had more experience than Hendrix. So Rees played this season. We’re now 11 games later, Rees has done decent, but hasn’t progressed that much, while Hendrix has another season of practice under his belt and a bit of game experience. Things are close enough to see that Hendrix has more potential than Rees at this point. That’s not even throwing Golson into the mix. I think Rees was the best QB option this season, but might not be the best next season.

    • ndtoronto - Dec 28, 2011 at 12:51 PM


      you’re out of your mind if you ever thought Rees was at any point a better qb than crist!

      • trbowman - Dec 28, 2011 at 4:31 PM

        The same Dyane Crist with a career 58% completion percentage, compared to Rees 64%?

      • notredamegrad - Dec 28, 2011 at 5:41 PM

        trbowman, that stat is a bit deceptive. Completion percentage doesn’t let you see how effectively a QB’s completed passes are actually moving the ball down the field. Rees completed 64.4% of his passes (career), but they were mostly short and intermediate passes, so they didn’t actually move the ball down field. Crist threw at 58.9%, but they went longer.

        Both QBs threw (career) for 6.9 yards per passing attempt.

        Crist also picked up yards (and TDs) with his feet. The stats are a bit odd because of how sacks are counted, but Rees picked up an average of -2.3 yards (yes, negative) per game in 2011 (no TDs); Crist picked up an average of 8.4 rushing yards per game in 2010 (with 4 rushing TDs). Not such a contrast as you suggest.

  9. gpatton90 - Dec 27, 2011 at 12:26 PM

    Simple to me, in a different way – at game one, Crist was better than Rees (better arm, more mobility, better leadership), although he hadn’t proven he could handle the pressure. BK had alrready stated that the goal was BCS or bust, and thought Crist was most capable of leading us there. After 1/2 of the S Florida game, BK panicked and inserted Rees, who was the safer choice (more poise, not going to turn the ball over, had the winning record). I believe that choice was a result of the pressure that goes with being the coach at ND, and not necessarily well thought out (yes, I was and have contiuously been on the Crist side of the aisle).

    Unfortunately for BK, the traits that made Rees the safe choice didn’t play out. He was turnover prone immediately and constantly stared down receivers. These issues, combined with the known lack of mobility and arm strength, led to further controversy, as it was evident that Rees was not the QB who could lead the team to a BCS berth.

    At this point, Kelly could not go back to Crist, because he didn’t want to be questioned about his (Kelly’s) decision-making / evaluation skills. A coach more comfortable in his own shoes might have made the switch back. Once that decision was made, it was easy. Hendrix / Golson were not ready, so he rightfully stuck with Rees. What we learned over the remainder of the season is that Rees is a good quarterback who probably has reached his peak and will not likely bring this team to the next level. So let’s evaluate the others over the next 9 months and move on. And hopefully we retain Rees as one of the best backups in the country.

    For clarification, I believe in Kelly. I like his progress on the lines, in recruiting, with the off-field changes, and I’m generaly pleased with the coaching staff. I do think he gets a bit insecure because of the pressure of the job, which leads to rash decisions and comments that are not well-thought out, and which result in backward steps. I think as he grows, he’ll correct these flaws.

    • notredamegrad - Dec 27, 2011 at 2:29 PM

      gpatton90, I think your analysis is absolutely spot-on. This explanation of Kelly’s handling of the QB situation this year makes very good sense of what we all saw and of what we’ve heard happened outside of actual games, and assumes that Kelly is both a very good and reasonable coach and also that he is human. The choices he made relied on what he knew at the time and what he anticipated as an experienced coach (e.g., Rees would improve in key skills throughout the season), though with the benefit of hindsight, we can fairly question those decisions (Rees didn’t develop in the ways Kelly likely anticipated and unexpectedly struggled as the season went on with both inconsistency – BC, Wake – and competing against talented defenses – USC, Stanford, etc.).

      The thing that concerns me most about all this is that however reasonable or relatively justifiable Kelly’s handling of his quarterbacks was this year (and I believe he did make some objectively poor decisions, as well as many good and necessary ones), he seems not to have communicated all of this well to his team. Comments made publicly by guys who played for Kelly in 2010 and close friends and roommates of current players, and even implicit comments by current players, have all but come out and expressed the same kind of frustration and incomprehension at Kelly’s handling of this that we are expressing here (and some have quite explicitly expressed that).

      It seems that some or many of his players, who should be confident in their coach’s just treatment of their teammates and believe that his decisions are the best ones for the team, are dissatisfied with or frustrated by his handling of the QBs. I hope that, moving forward with TR, AH, and EG (and any incoming QBs), he can convince his team that he is making the best decisions for them all and treating his players justly.

      • gpatton90 - Dec 27, 2011 at 5:01 PM

        I hadn’t really looked at this from the other player’s perspective, but you are right on. If the team understands and buys into the decision-making process, that’s more important by far than the rest of us squabbling back and forth, debating the issues :). You would hope that Swarbrkick is providing Kelly with such guidance.

    • irish4006 - Dec 27, 2011 at 6:22 PM

      Very good analysis, gpatton; 2 thumbs up. I wanted ND to have a great year, and we were so close. It could easily be 10-2 or 11-1. I have been one of those who was constantly frustrated with poor qb play, and probably because I thought Dayne Crist had the potential to be a great qb (he always looked so close to being there, but not quite there).

      I love the improvements in the team – the players are better conditioned, we are recruiting some serious talent, defense is much improved, but it is a process. Things don’t just change overnight, unfortunately. I don’t know if BK is the best coach ever, but he seems to be taking the team in the right direction; something I didn’t see/feel in Charlie/Ty/Davie era.

  10. 1historian - Dec 27, 2011 at 1:33 PM

    Nobody asked me BUT:

    Golson is the first QB recruited by Kelly. He was red-shirted this past season, during which he won some ‘scout team’ award. Meanwhile he was putting on weight and watching from the sideline. From his film he has a terrific arm and is an elusive runner, a combination Kelly likes.

    Rees is a good kid and it must be said that he gets the most out of what he’s got. The fact that he enrolled in January of 2010 so he had a spring practice put him ahead of Hendrix when the 2010 season started. He seems to me to have gotten as good as he’s gonna get, which is ok. He doesn’t seem to spark any fires when he comes on the field.

    Crist – it just didn’t work out. It’s a shame but that’s the way it goes. Crist never really won Kelly’s confidence, and (I know I promised to stop saying this but I lied) on TV he seemed to have the look of a deer in the headlights. When Kelly got in his face he kind of shrunk. In contrast as time wore on when Kelly did an in-your-face with Rees a few times I got the impression that Rees wanted to put his lights out. I like that.

    Hendrix – still pretty much an unknown. I say this from the standpoint of believing that Kelly (and all of us) are looking for the QB who scares the shit out of the opposing defense when he trots on the field with a few minutes to go and the fate of the universe in the balance. Anyone with that ability will automatically be forgiven any technical shortcomings.

    Kiel? Who knows?

    The QB has to command the respect of his teammates and make them PLAY BETTER THAN THEY THOUGHT THEY COULD.

    At the same time he has to be able to command the respect of Kelly. I have a sneaking feeling that the ONLY way any one of these guys can do that is by talking back to him – right out there on game day 2012 in front of God and everybody.

    I also have a sneaking feeling that Kelly is waiting for that to happen.

    • nudeman - Dec 27, 2011 at 4:37 PM

      I don’t know that Kelly is waiting for someone to fire back at him. Maybe/maybe not. Just never struck me that way. If so, I don’t see Golson being that guy’ seems very polite to me.

      Personally if I could script things it would be that Kiel goes somewhere else and they use the Kiel scholarship on some other 4 star impact player. Then Golson turns out to be the guy we all think he is.

      Now THAT wouldn’t suck

      • domer77blowsgoats - Dec 27, 2011 at 5:04 PM

        Personally, if I could script things it would be that you read UAW’s wonderful post above…

        leave this blog…

        apply for transfer (I will go ahead and grant that now for ya) and go follow your man crush to the Kansas football blogs…

        and denounce all affiliation w/ ND…

        now THAT wouldn’t suck

    • ndtoronto - Dec 28, 2011 at 1:02 PM

      good analysis BUT can we plz stop w/ this BS about how crist looks like a deer caught in headlights and rees looked like he wanted to box BK! If rees really did wanna punch BK’s face in, he should’ve shown it on the field instead, which obviously he didn’t!

  11. 1historian - Dec 27, 2011 at 2:04 PM

    I think that Golson will be the starter next year. Hendrix next in, then Rees. If Kiel signs with ND he will red-shirt.

    Remember that in 1966 the 1st 2 QBs were sophomores – Hanratty and O’Brien.

  12. schuey73 - Dec 27, 2011 at 3:12 PM

    This is totally unrelated to this topic, but Armando Allen had a nice debut for the Bears Sunday night against the Packers. 11 carries for 40 yards. I remember at least one carry he had no chance on as he was hit almost immediately after getting the ball. He had a couple of runs that reminded me of his senior year when he refused to go down and fought hard for a couple extra yards.

    Hopefully he has earned himself some more playing time!

  13. tersignind - Dec 27, 2011 at 3:38 PM

    I am hearing Kiel will make his decision today.

    • irishbornraised - Dec 27, 2011 at 5:04 PM

      That’s what he said about Christmas

      • tersignind - Dec 27, 2011 at 7:18 PM

        He picked LSU

  14. irishbornraised - Dec 27, 2011 at 5:03 PM

    I have it! the idea that will assure a win against the Seminoles. Put Andrew Hendrix into TR’s uniform, have him come out, start running the option, and overall just taking them by surprise! We’ll jump up to an early 14 point lead as their all-star defense tries to adjust, all we have to do is prevent them from coming back, and PRESTO, a bowl win

  15. rcali - Dec 27, 2011 at 5:36 PM

    Hendrix is the near future. Has the arm and can run. Ree’s lack of mobility is a problem.

  16. servant119c - Dec 27, 2011 at 8:00 PM

    The Brian Kelly quarterback situation makes perfect sense to me, and no he did not screw up. I want to emphasize that Brian Kelly gave Crist every chance in the world. Brian Kelly is the reason I am a Notre Dame fan. I jumped on the bandwagon the minute I heard he was hired. When he goes, I go :) I can remember watching the local news here in Grand Rapids when Grand Valley was winning over 20 straight games, wondering, “who is this guy???” Enlighten me, how often does that happen in college football on ANY level? And then to be successful at his next 2 stops… why do you guys doubt??? Is it because you are so used to disappointment the last couple decades?

    So, Brian Kelly gave Crist every chance in the world last year. I can still remember the first game I watched, the minute I first laid eyes on Crist I immediately could tell “he is not a winner.” It was just obvious to me. In fact, I was confused. My thoughts were, “Brian Kelly is such a winner, why is he playing Crist, I don’t care how much natural talent he might have? Kelly cannot afford to lose games by playing some guy who’s head is not in it.” I’ve never ever gotten the feeling his head is in it. Never. Like some guys you watch and you can just tell, “their mind and soul is completely in this ballgame. Something magical happens inside of them when they play the game.” But with Crist, I never saw that. And yet Kelly still started him, week after week… week after week of nothing magical happening. Call me a jerk, but I was actually glad when Crist got injured again, because it forced them to have to go with a different quarterback. And then what happened… they started to win.

    They call Rees a gamer and focus on his record as a starter, but let me emphasize it’s not just because he had MORE passion to win then Crist… it’s because he had enough. Crist hardly had any, no matter what anyone says. I grew up watching the Detroit Bad Boys (sorry all you Bulls fans) and because of their passion to win, they stretched their lack of talent very far, just like Rees is doing. They played above and beyond. Even if you hated them, something magical happened when they took the court. Overachievers. Crist is an underachiever. You liked Michael Jordon? Fine then, no one ever doubted that every ounce of his soul was completely focused on doing whatever it took to win, and when it mattered most, he was at his best. Kind of like LeBron James? Hahahaha :)

    I was not too confident when Kelly started Crist for the first game of the season, but I was not surprised when he lost confidence in him early. And I am just scratching my head wondering why all you Crist people feel he should have played… after a poor year last year and a horrible first half…

    Kelly obviously didn’t want to go with Tommy Rees. And he’s not sold on Hendrix. But when he finds a champion – and he obviously hasn’t yet – we will not be having this discussion. Based on Golson’s highlight film, he may be the champion in waiting. Or maybe Hendrix will become that champion in a couple days. Ask yourself, “is he more like a Michael Jordon or a Lebron James?” Does anyone doubt the fact that Tommy Rees would be a dominating quarterback if he had Crist’s body? And Brian Kelly would not have a quarterback dilemma.

    • irishbornraised - Dec 27, 2011 at 10:43 PM

      Yes, for all those saying that Crist shouldn’t have been pulled i say he should never have started in the first place. TR isn’t sweet relief, but he’s something he brings energy, calmness, and a whole lot of heart to this. That being said, his heart doesn’t quite make up for his lack of physical skill, it’s been said too many times, and it will continue to be said, he’s not the one, he’s never been the one, he never will be the one.

    • notredamegrad - Dec 28, 2011 at 3:10 AM

      If you don’t like Crist at QB, that’s fine, but you should rethink basing that (or at least making public arguments for your dislike) on some intuition that he just doesn’t have any heart or passion to win or play good football.

      You don’t know anything about his passion or heart or love of the game, and that’s not a fair thing to speculate about. Nor is it demonstrable when the kid’s given everything he has to start for the Irish, fighting back from multiple devastating injuries, sitting patiently on the bench behind 5-star Clausen and committing himself fully to a new coach and new system because he wanted to play so completely for ND.

      You also might want to reconsider expressing your joy that a college kid suffered a second devastating injury that effectively ruined his playing career at the university he (and you?) loves.

    • gpatton90 - Dec 28, 2011 at 11:30 AM

      Really? You could tell the first time you saw Crist on TV? It was obvious? He wasn’t a “winner”. And you could tell by looking at Rees that he had all this passion? Very insightful.

      And you were glad when Crist got injured again. Yes, you are a jerk.

  17. ndtoronto - Dec 28, 2011 at 1:16 PM


    uhmm ye rees brings SO MUCH energy with his LACK of mobility (rolls eyes)

    Calmness…yee rees is SO calm with his UMPTEEN turnovers per game (rolls eyes again)

    heart…so r u sayin crist doesn’t have any heart even though he rebounded from 2 devastating injuries, and supported garbage man rees throughout the whole season even though he was the senior who lost his starting job in ONE half of football in ND’s FIRST game of the season!!!

  18. ndtoronto - Dec 28, 2011 at 1:38 PM

    servant119c…you’re a moron! And didnt ND “win” their first game last year againt purdue WITH Crist at QB?? And remember crist did get injured as well in the michigan game and POOF your wish was granted! You got to see what happened when our other Qbs entered the the game (they got WHOOPED by a crappy michigan D!) I would argue that 15 tds and 7 Ints isnt a poor year, but a decent year, especially for a pro-style Qb in his FIRST season adapting to a spread offense! And OMGG for the milionth time, ND started to win b/c of the DEFENCE, not Rees!! (see the USC game last year).

  19. servant119c - Dec 29, 2011 at 10:06 AM

    Wow, those are some passionate replies to my post. If only Crist had shown as much passion as you all :) Look, Crist was not a champion, plain and simple. And that’s what I mean by “winner.” Sure, he might have won some games, but he is not a champion. He IS a great guy. Very kind-hearted. And he does put effort into what he does. But that is a far cry from the kind of passion someone needs to dominate in college football. Let’s remember, Notre Dame fans expect nothing less then national championships. It is fitting that Crist is transferring to Kansas who won 2 games this year, with no conference victories. If Crist has so much championship heart and passion, and he’s as good as you all say he is, why didn’t he prove how good he is by beating out Tommy Rees for the starting spot at QB? And now that he lost his starting to spot to a quarterback with very limited physical abilities, why did he leave NOTRE DAME to join a loser like Kansas? Wouldn’t a quarterback with that much heart and passion stick around another year at Notre Dame, suck it up, prove everyone wrong, and lead them to a national championship? No, he’s joining a coach who also could not make it at Notre Dame. Two very telling moments this season was the end of the first half against South Florida and then when he went in the game against USC. Against South Florida, at the end of the half he looked scared, tripping backwards, and almost falling over, while the crowd booed, it seriously looked like he was hoping his coach would rescue him and somehow get him out of the game… against SOUTH FLORIDA. Last I checked they suck. And then against USC, when he went into the game it looked like he was panicked, and it’s no shocked he mishandled the snap on the 99 yard touchdown. But if I was planning to transfer since early in the season, I’d be unprepared and panicked against USC as well. Do champions who have all this superior talent take the escapist route of transferring? And based on his recent comments, I’d say his loser mentality clashed with Brian Kelly’s championship mentality from the very beginning. I am happy for Crist that he can go join Weis. I never see Weis being a championship head coach, and I never see Crist being a championship coach, and if I’m a jerk for pointing that out, so be it. I am happy for them, just as long as Crist is not at Notre Dame to screw up championships. If you like losing so much, cheer on Charlie, Crist, and Kansas.

    • servant119c - Dec 29, 2011 at 10:17 AM

      Oops, a few typos in that last comment. I don’t pretend to have the best writing abilities, but I understand champions, and passion. Just look at Tim Tebow, very little NFL talent, yet he plays his best when it matters most. He’s a 2-time NCAA champion. Championships are about passion. So to not talk about Crist’s lack of passion and heart publicly, and only talking about his physical abilities and what COULD BE, is ridiculous.

      • servant119c - Dec 29, 2011 at 10:30 AM

        Not only that, but let’s compare the 2 culprits of 99 yard touchdowns. Jonas Gray and Dayne Crist.

        Jonas Gray obviously has the heart of a champion.

        The results of their respective seasons are a result of their hearts.

      • notredamegrad - Dec 29, 2011 at 11:33 AM

        I utterly disagree with your comments and take on the QB situation, as well as with your way of supporting your claims, but I’m not going to respond to that here. I just want to correct a few of your false claims.

        (1) Crist is not _transferring_ to Kansas. He graduated from ND with his degree this fall and is _not invited back_ to ND for a 5th year. He could not come back to play for the Irish. Going on to Kansas to play, if anything shows his passion for and love of the game of football – all he wants is to play, which he didn’t get to do this season.

        (2) Crist _did_ beat Tommy Rees out for the starting spot in spring and fall practice, after coming back from serious injury. Kelly panicked and pulled him at the half against USF, then went with Rees and stuck with him to establish coherence and consistency on the offense.

        (3) Crist looked great on the first several drives against USF and only looked “panicked” (as did his coach and half of the team) after everybody started playing disastrously.

        (4) He did not look panicked at all when he went in against USC and led the team confidently down to the 5 yard line (including throwing a key 4th down conversion) before fumbling a snap; Rees didn’t get the Irish anywhere near the 5 when he was in, and his one trip to the red zone similarly returned 0 points in that game.

        (5) Jonas Gray was only able to turn it around after the 99 yard fumble return because he was given the opportunity to. Unlike Crist, he played the second half against USF after a horrendous, crushing first half, and he went on to play outstanding football the rest of the season. Crist was benched for the season after that first bad half and never had another chance.

        (6) I would like you to share the comments you read that demonstrate Crist has a “loser mentality.” Every comment in every article I’ve read instead shows a guy who loves Notre Dame, loves his team, and wants nothing more than to play his best and win for his brothers, coaches, family, friends, and fans.

  20. ndtoronto - Dec 29, 2011 at 10:47 AM

    omgg your such a moronn! first of all didnt crist beat out rees for the starting qb job at the beginning of the season?? And techincally he ain’t leaving notre dame cause he’s gonna graduate from here first! He’s just using his fifth year transfer rule so he can go to a school where the coach will actually let him play casue we all know kelly has something against him (i.e, the multiple times rees plays like crap but never puts crist in)… and like i said before the usc fumble was just bad luck (same w/ the rees fumble vs michigan on the 2yd line)…btw ye crist looked so panicked when he was driving ND so calmly (rolls eyes)…the fumbled snap ye it was bad but i would also question kelly as to why he would be switiching qbs in the redzone with the game on the line, but w/e it’s done so suck it up…yes USF sucks but so did ND cause it was their FIRST game of the season (reverse the gray fumble and the 5 dropped passes and i don’t think the crowd would’ve been booing him)…btw i wouldnt be surpised if this “loser” crist and weis do quite well next year in kansas.. :)

  21. ndtoronto - Dec 29, 2011 at 10:52 AM

    yes gray rebounded nicely from the season opener and had a tremendous year before his unfortunate acl tear…luckily kelly was willing to give him another chance unlike crist…

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