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Given the chance, Hendrix finally ready for opportunity

Aug 24, 2013, 11:09 AM EDT

Andrew Hendrix Stanford

For Notre Dame fans, Andrew Hendrix has felt like an enigma. With the tangible skill-set of a star quarterback, Irish fans have watched and waited patiently for the Cincinnati native to work his way into the starting lineup, where he’d surely be able to utilize his strong throwing arm, powerful running style, and intellect that’ll one day make him a successful M.D. Yet even with a blueprint that looked destined for success, Hendrix only seemed to move farther and farther away from the playing field as his tenure in South Bend continued.

If it weren’t for the spring’s quarterback exodus, Hendrix would likely only be remembered for a two game stretch where he was given a shot to win the quarterbacking job late in 2011. Against Stanford and Florida State, Hendrix completed just 14 of 32 passes for 216 yards, throwing two really bad interceptions in back-to-back losses to close out a disappointing season. Heading into fall camp, Hendrix looked like a fourth string quarterback, another blue-chip quarterback recruit that struggled to pan out.

But all that changed when Gunner Kiel and Everett Golson left school. And to Hendrix’s credit, he was ready to take advantage of the opportunities that finally presented themselves. Now just one play away from running the Irish offense, Brian Kelly talked about the difference between the quarterback who played against Stanford and the one that now sits at No. 2 on the depth chart.

“The difference is, as it related to Hendrix, is that he was a niche quarterback for us,” Kelly explained. “He’s no longer a niche quarterback. I mean, he can run our offense. Last year, the year before, we had to run special packages for him.”

Playing quarterback is one of the most difficult jobs in sports. It isn’t just Notre Dame (Zach Frazer, Demetrius Jones, Dayne Crist, Hendrix) that have struggled with high profile recruits. Just take a look at the entire 2010 QB class. And while Hendrix committed to studying his playbook along with his chemistry and biology workloads, he acknowledged that it was a difficult slog for him, especially not growing up surrounded by football.

“There were a lot of intricacies of the game that I didn’t know,” Hendrix said last week. “And I didn’t know that I didn’t know them.”

But Hendrix’s love of Notre Dame was a big reason why he didn’t fret when things didn’t look to be going his way on the field. And while he seemed like more of a candidate to transfer than anybody else on the depth chart, Hendrix was incredibly candid for his reasons to stick it out in South Bend.

“You would probably have to be out of your mind to leave here, in all honesty,” Hendrix said. “At all times, you’re a number of plays away from being the guy on the field. And if you have confidence in yourself, then it’s not hard to stay here. Plus, the school is unbelievable, the people are unbelievable, this organization’s great. It really was never an option in my mind.”

That loyalty is paying off. What looked in all likelihood to be Hendrix’s last season in South Bend could turn into a return in ’14, where he’ll add veteran depth to support Everett Golson. And while Tommy Rees enters the season as the clear-cut number one quarterback, Kelly seemed to fulfill one of football’s funny paradoxes. Now that Hendrix isn’t a niche quarterback, the team will try to make sure he has one on the playing field.

“We’re going to take advantage of some of the things he can do,” Kelly said. “He can run. He’s a physical runner. So we may have some more quarterback runs, but it’s not going to turn into an option game with him in there. He can run our offense. So we don’t have to turn the playbook inside out to put Andrew Hendrix into the game.

“He can do much, much more, and we’re very confident, if he has to go in the game, that he can run our offense.”

  1. nudeman - Aug 24, 2013 at 11:54 AM

    I like this guy a lot but unfortunately am not sold on him as elite QB material.

    When in the pocket, he reminds me of a pre-teen with undiagnosed ADD. That only gets better with playing time, and barring injury he isn’t going to get much of it. I see a year where he throws no more than 25-30 passes and takes no more than 60 snaps.

    Then the question becomes “what does he do next year?”. Will he come back? Would ND want him back? Would HE want to come back?

    • papadec - Aug 24, 2013 at 12:27 PM

      awwww nude -those questions were all answered in the post. I think you been hangin’ out with fnc too much.

      • nudeman - Aug 24, 2013 at 12:39 PM

        I don’t see where those questions were answered. I see a lot of the usual stuff about how he’s learned the offense now, he’s beyond a package and can run the whole offense, etc.

        My sense is that he’ll be the same Andrew and take off at the slightest sign of pressure. If you believe differently then we disagree. And I hope you’re right.

    • bernhtp - Aug 24, 2013 at 12:56 PM

      Whether Hendrix is elite or not is not the point. It reminds me of the old joke question: can you outrun the bear. No, but I can outrun you.

      For Hendrix to be an effective backup to Rees, he doesn’t need to be elite. In this case, he only needs to be about as good as Tommy. As you’ve helped chronicle here, that isn’t an Everest-high bar to vault.

      There are a lot of indications that Andrew is getting better. As he says in his interview, he didn’t grow up around football (unlike Tommy) and some of the important intricacies of the game just escaped him. If he is now getting it and, more importantly, able to process it in real time, we can start seeing the flashes of his potential on a more consistent basis.

      • mtflsmitty - Aug 24, 2013 at 2:26 PM

        Agree, Bern. I got a kick out of Nude’s first line…”not sold he’s elite”.

        Really, Nude? Not sold that a guy who’s only started 2 of 38 games isn’t elite? Really?

        AH is who we think he is: An ND guy, with all the tools, a great attitude, smart, hard worker, who proves that there’s a lot of art and mental elements to being an effective (much less elite) QB at this level.

        If you’re BK and you know you’re one snap away from AH being your starting QB, you say all the things BK said in his presser. You want him as confident as can be.

        Seven more days. Tick, tock.

        Go IRISH!

      • nudeman - Aug 24, 2013 at 4:39 PM

        “Elite” was a poor word choice. Sort of. What I meant to say is that he’s not a QB that should be starting at an elite program like ND.

        Bern, I don’t see how you can say “there are a lot of indications Andrew is getting better”. All we have to go on is what the coaches tell us and that is completely unreliable. Not because they’re liars but because coaches have to stay positive when talking about players in the media. What are they supposed to say? “We’re disappointed in Andrew’s development”?

        My thoughts on Rees are well known and I’ve been just dying for Hendrix to seize the opportunity for 2 years now. But at this point he hasn’t really even be close. Ever. If it was Jimmy Clausen he wasn’t able to unseat, that would be one thing. But we’re talking Tommy Rees.

        So forgive me but just like Rees’s supposed newfound arm strength and mobility, with Hendrix’s alleged development into a complete QB who can see the field and not be skittish … forgive me but I’ll believe it when I see it.

        Thumbs down, just below. Go ahead and pound away.

        • bernhtp - Aug 24, 2013 at 5:15 PM

          Agreed that coaches mostly speak in terms of positives about specific players, but the positive changes specifically mentioned about Hendrix have been in his areas of weakness/concern. This also seemed to be a more candid Q&A than usual.

          Point 2 is Hendrix’s interview where he was very open about his historically incomplete understanding of the game and how much he has learned in the last year. I believe him.

          Finally, we’ve had some clips of him doing some very good things, though this is the least important given the selective nature of the clips.

          I’m not saying that he’s become an elite QB, but only that I believe the coaches, Andrew and my eyes that he has gotten significantly better. I hope so.

          Members of the Irish press invited to practices have also mentioned improvement, along with the big and widening gap between Hendrix and Zaire. That tells me something. They also say that while they’ve seen additional size/strength in Rees and some increased ability to run, they haven’t seen evidence of more arm strength. They mention the lack of long ball accuracy and interceptions. That appears to remain a big weakness for Tommy.

      • nudeman - Aug 24, 2013 at 5:20 PM

        I basically agree.

        However it is one thing for Hendrix to have learned a lot in the last year; it’s another entirely for him to be able to incorporate what he’s learned into his game.

        Can he/will he? I find myself being doubtful.

        • bernhtp - Aug 24, 2013 at 6:01 PM

          Maybe I’m just rooting too much for a kid that seems to exemplify everything that is ND and projecting that wish. Regardless, for a myriad of reasons, he should be given as many snaps as we can afford.

    • NotreDan - Aug 24, 2013 at 1:00 PM

      Agree nude.

      Also seems like there are so many other story lines that deserve attention.

      • mtflsmitty - Aug 24, 2013 at 2:31 PM

        Yes, Sir, Lt Dan.

        My top 3 I’d like to read more about….
        – Dog LB battle.
        – RG and RT battles.
        – How the offense could look running the pistol as has recently been reported on OFD.

        What say you?

      • NotreDan - Aug 24, 2013 at 4:39 PM


        Dog AND Cat. I’ve heard some say Jaylon is the starter.

        Maybe we’re just at the point where we need to play ball. Gonna be a long ass 6 days

      • irishpuma - Aug 25, 2013 at 12:43 AM

        Nude I got your back and Bern on point as always. Good point that he cannot even beat out Rees, bigger point how does an elite program end up with such piss poor options? I know some will say transfers and EG is gone, but the transfer could not beat out the mediocre QB’s and even EG is not elite yet. So we are stuck.

        Unfortunately you can not teach swagger, cool calm and collected and QB 1&2 don’t have it. I was shocked to hear insiders finally say Rees is not accurate lol (see my post weeks ago) and guess what he still cant throw deep and is throwing picks lol. No way!

        What I do like is that Hendrix is definitely a great guy, ND true and true and he is open about his weaknesses so…….I am optimistic you never know…he has all the tools,,,,except jumpy in the pocket. I think he will see significant time if Zaire is not an option.

    • dickasman - Aug 24, 2013 at 1:35 PM

      To me his value isn’t as a elite qb but rather elite everything else. He’s a focking walking advertisement for the notre dame rkg bullsht mantra. This is really what college football used to be about anyways. Hell, ill pay for his scholarship to come back. By that I mean Bern will pay 99.9% of it and ill throw in .9%. Thanks bernsie!

      • dickasman - Aug 24, 2013 at 1:36 PM

        Fuck, my math is off, I meant .1. Sorry had a cocaine moment there.

    • don74 - Aug 24, 2013 at 4:10 PM

      Read somewhere Hendrix said he would be back next year if asked.

      While the guy has looked stiff and somewhat jittery in previous chances perhaps the game is slowing down for him. If Kelly is right and he is a viable option to run the playbook, great. If not, there is the making for a long season if TR goes down or Turnover Tommy returns.

      Based on what we’ve seen, I agree with Nude. Based on the guy has been in the QB room for 4 years I am hoping Kelly is right.

  2. yaketyyacc - Aug 24, 2013 at 12:43 PM

    nude, as always, your comments are right on the money. this young man, Hendrix is surely a fine individual, still, a quarterback of quality, should have been apparent by now. he deserves an A+ in perseverance and loyalty. and a C+ in quarterbacking.
    Coach Kelly, sooner or later, will have to turn to Malik Zaire. just as we know that Mark Sanchez is never going to lead the Jets to anything. it is always the coach that is the last to know.

  3. idratherbeinsouthbend - Aug 24, 2013 at 12:56 PM

    Maybe I’m reading betweeen the lines a little bit too much when BK speaks, but I get the feeling that two things are virtual certainties when it comes to this years QB position at Notre Dame.

    First, I think Tommy and Andrew will both see significant playing time throughout the season. I’ve seen too many BK interviews where he says Tommy is our starter AGAINST TEMPLE. I think he’s gonna play the guy that performs better and he’d prefer AH’s skill set in the game if the passing game isn’t going to drop off. But I think he feels that he needs to SEE AH handle the passing game in a game situation.

    Second, this staff DOES NOT want to burn Malik’s red shirt. They don’t think he’s anywhere near ready and they truly believe that the other two guys give us a better chance of winning now.

    AH coming back will probably be determined by the amount of playing time he gets this year and whether he feels his performance will give him the opportunity to earn the job next year vs. Malik and Everest Goulstein (i spelled that right, yeah?)

    • bernhtp - Aug 24, 2013 at 1:08 PM

      Good post. I would be disappointed if Hendrix didn’t get at least a full quarter of action in the Temple game. He needs to be ready to come in and contribute. He should be further evaluated in game situations.

      • danirish - Aug 24, 2013 at 3:58 PM

        I’m going with bern – play him a lot during Temple. It would annoy me if he was thrown in tot he UM game without a single real game rep.

  4. bernhtp - Aug 24, 2013 at 12:57 PM

    You can’t watch this interview without really admiring the kid.

    • goirishgo - Aug 24, 2013 at 1:18 PM

      Tanks for posting. Watching Hendrix and the captains speak earlier this week really underscores how the student-athlete concept is alive and well at ND. Terrific young athletes being developed into adult achievers regardless of the road they travel once their ND careers are complete. Outstanding stuff.

      One week till kickoff! Go Irish!

      • goirishgo - Aug 24, 2013 at 1:19 PM


  5. fnc111 - Aug 24, 2013 at 1:25 PM

    Sorry papa I don’t hang out with nude men :). I’m fine with being called out on here for being a realist . I’m usually always right. I doubt Andrew plays any meaningful snaps because Kelly is addicted to Rees. 2011 was a dreadful year at QB and he just couldn’t stay away from the turnover machine. My final answer is 8-4 record this year. Too many questions at QB, special teams and RB.

    • NotreDan - Aug 24, 2013 at 2:09 PM

      usually always.


      Oh how I wish I could meet you in person.

    • dickasman - Aug 24, 2013 at 2:12 PM

      I love the addicted part. Can’t disagree w u there. Didn’t know you speak cocaine?

    • irish4006 - Aug 28, 2013 at 12:53 AM

      You, sir, are a first class idiot and your interpretation of the words ‘usually’ and ‘always’ differ from 99.99% of the population.

      Even a broken clock is right twice a day, but it is still a broken clock and dead wrong rest of the time.

  6. twebb2 - Aug 24, 2013 at 3:00 PM


    I’d say it’s presumptive to think that Hendrix will be here to “provide veteran support” to Golson. I’m hoping that Golson is doing well, planning to be back at school in January, doing better to balance schoolwork and football, joining the team again, getting into football shape, and the like. But he’s going to have to earn the right to start again; I think it’s presumptive to think he steps right back in as QB1. Yes, he did reasonably well as a redshirt freshman QB a year ago, while Kelly handled him with gloves, and he looked primed to be unleashed as “the man” this fall before having to leave, but still, it wasn’t like he was Everett Football – he wasn’t head and shoulders a clear standout above the rest of the QBs. The whole summer a year ago we spent discussing who had what advantages, and Golson was just a bit better than the others. All that to say, a year from now between AH, EG, and MZ, those three could be in any order in the depth chart, as least from how it looks right now. And that’s an eternity from now.

    LOVE your blog, keep up the GREAT WORK! (I read EVERY DAY at LEAST once a day!!!!)

  7. glowplugv - Aug 24, 2013 at 3:49 PM

    I think we should take Coach Kelly’s comments about Hendrix at face value. I don’t recall Coach Kelly being anything but honest in his public assessment of players. Remember his comments about Floyd needing to learn to run routes to be a great receiver? If he says Andrew is ready to run the full offense, then he is. There is also the coaching that Andrew is probably getting from Tommy that is also making a difference. Last year it was Golson, this year it is Hendrix under his wing as the next man in. Let the freshman redshirt and learn, which is probably better for the long term program development.

    • nudeman - Aug 24, 2013 at 4:49 PM

      He also made public comments about how much he admired Dayne Crist and how he’d earned the job. One bad half later, Crist was run out of town on a rail.

      To borrow a phrase:
      There are 4 types of lies: Lies, damned lies, statistics, and things coaches say when they’re asked about players in whom they lack confidence.

      I don’t think Kelly EVER trusted Crist and I don’t think he trusts Hendrix, despite the comments he’s made to ignite this mini-sh**storm. But that doesn’t mean he won’t play, because Kelly HAS TO get him some reps. And I agree they’d rather not use Zaire this year.

      • jommy995 - Aug 24, 2013 at 10:11 PM

        So we believe Kelly when he says MZ ain’t ready. But we call bullsht when he says AH is?

      • nudeman - Aug 24, 2013 at 10:34 PM

        Can you show me a quote where BK said Zaire is not ready?
        Au contraire mon frere he’s been glowing in his praise; even has him working with the first and second team, as opposed to the scout team.

      • idratherbeinsouthbend - Aug 25, 2013 at 1:00 AM

        Nudey, you ask and you shall receive.

        BK press conference 8/22/13…skip to about 11:15

        “…he’s just not ready, you know, to do everything that we want. We’re really excited about him as a player and as a quarterback. He’s just not at that level yet. He’s getting there.”

      • idratherbeinsouthbend - Aug 25, 2013 at 1:02 AM

        we’ll try this again….

      • idratherbeinsouthbend - Aug 25, 2013 at 1:03 AM

        well, FUCK YOUTUBE i guess!

      • jommy995 - Aug 25, 2013 at 3:43 AM

        The Kelly quote I had in mind was in that same answer. He said they’d have to severely limit the play book if MZ were to play. I’m not gonna even try to post a link. Sorry, not in my skill set.

  8. danirish - Aug 24, 2013 at 3:53 PM

    Something seems….

    Spider sense tingling….

    I think Hendrix is going to play….a lot, not as a backup but he is going to play a lot.

    Perhaps he is this year’s Jonas Grey?

  9. danirish - Aug 24, 2013 at 3:59 PM




    I’m ready!

  10. jommy995 - Aug 24, 2013 at 4:03 PM

    Listen, I’m a lightweight here. Never played college football. So maybe this is dumb. But I can’t help thinking bout Kelly’s last 3 yrs of QBs at ND. He seems pretty unsettled and willing to change plans. He was quick with the hook on Crist. He seemed pretty willing to park Rees’s ass on the bench last fall for an unproven commodity. I can see him willing to give AH a shot if TR starts handing the ball to the defense again or consistently stalls out in the red zone.

    I’m not saying AH is suddenly elite or even elitish. I’m just saying, with his first real opportunity to get consistent first-team reps for a period of more than 2 weeks, it’s possible he’s getting better than Reesish.

    I see lots of posts willing to accept coach’s comments about Rees’s off-season improvement, but everyone seems to doubt his Hedrix praise. I’m just saying what if it’s the opposite and Rees plays a lot like himself but Hendrix doesn’t?

  11. c4evr - Aug 24, 2013 at 10:06 PM

    Hendrix will only be as good as his O line. Great protection and time to throw and Nix could be a great QB. A little pressure and some happy feet will bring a quick hook. This is more about Kelly than it is Hendrix. He was Captain Hook the first couple of years. With Golson (or Golston as some you know him by) gone, it’s possibly back to musical QB’s if Rees ( or Reesus for some of you) starts throwing backwards passes that become fumbles. Will he stick with Rees after Hendrix blows up is the real question…

  12. jem5b - Aug 24, 2013 at 10:59 PM

    The critics of Tommy Rees continue to astound.
    TR was a 3* recruit out of Ill. recruited by Charlie Weiss.
    You critics think or act as though he put a gun to the head of the ND athletic dept. and demanded a scholarship.
    Kindly remember TR saved Kell’s first season with a final season win against USC, a team ND had not beaten in a dogs age.
    Should have been given the start against USF based on his frosh year ending of 4or 5 wins in 5 or 6 games.
    He didn’t blow the Michigan game, and the ND coaching staff should/could have come up with a running attack once BC started to drop 7.
    Give the kid a break, ND’s lucking to have him.
    That is all….smoke ’em if ya got ’em.

  13. mtflsmitty - Aug 24, 2013 at 11:07 PM

    Everyone will enjoy this statistic-filled article:

    A lot of good info to chew on.

    • idratherbeinsouthbend - Aug 25, 2013 at 1:11 AM

      GREAT article

    • jommy995 - Aug 25, 2013 at 3:30 PM

      My lying eyes. Watching the games, I woulda said TR made critical mistakes that cost us opportunities to win. Reading the article, it’s clear that the author can find others to blame for those losses and that TR, if you compare him to other QBs who performed poorly, wasn’t really all that bad.

      Therefore, if he improves dramatically like some of them did, Rees might be good enough to lead the team to the heights that Jimmy Clausen, Dayne Crist, and maybe even Brady Quinn did. If only Kelly had known this last year.

    • bernhtp - Aug 25, 2013 at 11:22 PM

      Too bad Kelly didn’t read this last year. He was under the terrible misapprehension that the QB position was woefully underperforming and needed a shakeup. The result: an open competition that resulted in Golson being given the job when, in actuality, Tommy was really awesome. Imagine how good the season might have been had Kelly known of these facts and kept Rees at the helm?

  14. ajw21 - Aug 25, 2013 at 9:41 AM

    One thing people are forgetting is that Golson didn’t play that well statistically last year. Yes he made some big plays and we wouldn’t of been 12-0 without him last year. He was the best qb and I thought he was ready to break out this year but I think Rees/Henrdix can be better statistically then he was last year.

    I am not saying we have great options but if we can improve our red zone offense we can put up 20+ points a game and that should be enough to win most games. The big question is can we move the ball when teams drop 8?
    Martin is a better coordinator then Molinar and I think we will be ok.
    We as fans will get frusterated at times and we won’t be as good as we would be if Golson was here but I still think 11-2(bowl win) or 10-3 is attainable.
    Go Irish!

  15. 4horsemenrideagain - Aug 25, 2013 at 9:47 AM

    Not for nothing, but talking up ah also gives opposing def. coordinators something to think about as far as game planning goes. If ah actually came in and ran the zone read effectively and a defense wasn’t prepared to defend a qb who was a real running threat, that would be pretty embarrassing.

  16. bearcatirishfan - Aug 25, 2013 at 1:14 PM

    The one thing glaringly missing in all these Rees Hendrix comparisons is how much mr. Andrew benches. We know tommy can rep 10@ 225 where I’d AH at? I find this shocking we haven’t heard more about this.

    I mean what gives sheeesh

    • mtflsmitty - Aug 25, 2013 at 2:11 PM

      Thumbs up for sarcasm. Well played.

      • bearcatirishfan - Aug 25, 2013 at 9:44 PM

        Yeah you like me you really like me.

  17. irishpuma - Aug 25, 2013 at 5:27 PM

    Ahhhh finally down to brass tacks the eternal question…….How much you bench bro?????

    Love it!

  18. deaconjack - Aug 25, 2013 at 9:57 PM

    I must say that when dick assman, nudeman and bernt stick with talking football it is very interesting. It is proof that one doesn’t have to use a smutty mouth to be heard. We have both the good and the bad in this particular blog. I plead for you guys to be interesting. I quite frankly enjoyed your analysis today.

  19. irishpuma - Aug 26, 2013 at 1:58 PM

    Deacon what do you bench?

  20. deaconjack - Aug 26, 2013 at 9:04 PM

    At my age in doesn’t matter what I bench.

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