October 23, 2011 // Notre Dame Football

Questions Remain Under Center for Irish Offense

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Tommy Rees lost his second start of the season and raised some questions about Notre Dame's long term status at the quarterback position. (Photo / Icon SMI)

It only took Brian Kelly a half of football this season to decide he needed to make a quarterback change and while Notre Dame’s 2nd year head coach hasn’t given any indication he is even considering another one, questions still surround the position for the Irish after starting the second half of the season with a disappointing loss on Saturday night.

Ever since the quarterback derby for 2011 began in the spring, the physical limitations of Tommy Rees have been well documented.  Rees isn’t very big, he isn’t very fast, and he doesn’t have a very big arm.  He has a good understanding of the offense, however and for the most part is cool under pressure.

At times this season Rees has looked pretty sharp.  Against Purdue and Air Force Rees was almost unstoppable at certain points.  Against Pitt and again last night against Southern Cal, however, Rees looked ordinary and struggled to move the offense downfield.

The turnover bug came back to haunt Rees again last night as well after putting together two turnover free games.  One of the turnovers was not all Rees’s fault as Cierre Wood should have been able to catch what ended up being a lateral inside the Irish 20.  At the same time, that pass needs to be thrown forward so that USC doesn’t even have the option of picking that ball up once it hits the ground.

Rees is still very young, but the jury is still out as to whether or not he is the long term answer for the Irish under center.  He looks very sharp at times, but he struggles with consistency and against athletic defenses like USC’s his physical limitations severely affect his effectiveness.

Behind Rees we still don’t know what Notre Dame has either.  We have a general idea of what Dayne Crist is capable of which unfortunately is does not appear to be that much.  After stepping in for Rees when he got banged up in the 3rd quarter, Crist led the Irish down the field and on the doorstop of tying the game only to botch the snap and watch as Jawanza Starling picked up the ball and returned it for a touchdown.   The series was pretty much a microcosm of Crist’s career – he has the tools, looks the part, but just can’t quite put it all together.

The two wild cards here remain sophomore Andrew Hendrix and freshman Everett Golson.  It’s pretty obvious that Kelly wants a quarterback that can run the ball otherwise he wouldn’t be experimenting with using two quarterbacks right now.  Both Hendrix and Golson provide that ability, but both also remain raw and need to pick up the nuances of Kelly’s offense before we know what they are truly capable of.

With five games remaining the number one priority for Kelly has to be to gain some clarity on what he has at quarterback.  Notre Dame simply can’t go into spring practice next year with another open quarterback race.

Some people will point to Rees’ 8-2 record as a starter as all the evidence they need to know he is the right quarterback for this offense, but when you look at those games, the only game that Notre Dame won in that stretch where the defense gave up 30 or more points was the Air Force game and most of those points came well after the outcome was determined.

In short, Rees has proven he can manage a game and lead Notre Dame to a win when the defense plays well and the offense doesn’t have to lead the way.  What he hasn’t shown is the ability to stap the team on his back and carry them when the defense is struggling.  No matter how good a defense is, there are going to be games where the opposing offense just has there number and when that happens you need to have your offense put up points.  To this point we haven’t seen this offense have that ability under the control of Rees or any of the current Irish quarterbacks for that matter.

Kelly needs to determine if Rees is his long term answer and to this point I don’t think the sophomore has provide enough evidence to answer that question in either direction.  He has done enough so far to be given more time to learn and improve, but at the same time he also hasn’t shown enough to be the unquestioned starter for 2012 either.

I doubt we’ll see Golson at this point of the season.  It seems fairly evident that Kelly would like to maintain his redshirt year, but I hope we see more of Hendrix over these final five games to see if can be the quarterback this offense needs to really hum.  We know he is bigger, faster, and has a much stronger arm than Rees, but Crist has all of those things as well and we’ve been down that road enough already.

The defense has not been great this season, but last night they played well enough for the Irish to win.  They allowed USC to march down the field early on them, but they stiffened in the second quarter and for the rest of the game, the only USC points that were scored came either on turnovers or because of turnovers.

The difference between this year and last year’s USC game was the defense turned in an amazing performance last year in the Coliseum.  The offense sputtered even more so last year against the Trojans, but the defense picked them up.  This year the defense was just ordinary against Southern Cal and needed to the offense to pick them up.  The offense, no matter who was under center, just couldn’t do it.

Until Kelly finds someone who can, Notre Dame will continue to struggle against quality opponents like USC.  It would also help if Kelly helped out his signal callers by calling more than nine runs for his dynamic duo at running back too, but that’s a whole other story.

Comments to this Article

  • kmjackson commented on October 23rd, 2011 at 8:47 pm

    1. Lost the game in the trenches. Saying the defense only allowed turnover related points ignores the fact that USC ran the ball down within the 5 with time winding down and elected not to try to punch it in. All evidence on the field indicates they could have.
    2. Agree the rest of the year should be used to determine if Hendrix can make this team his own. Phasing him in as he gains competence with the offense makes sense. Inertia cannot dictate who our QB is.
    3. I do feel bad for Crist. Fate can be very cruel.
    4. I am 100% behind Kelly, but 9 running plays? The most we were ever down was 17 and the game was not out of reach until very late. No excuse for not running the ball.

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  • scav commented on October 23rd, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    The jury is still out on Kelly until we see HIS style of offense. We have seen just a tiny piece of what his offense can do because he has not had the QB to run his up-tempo offense. This ND offense is nothing like his high speed offense at Cincy.

    I would like to see Hendrix run full series instead of plays here and there. I would not mind him alternating the two every possession. This would cause the opposing teams to prepare for 2 different types of offenses.

    It is time to move towards the future. This team can still win 8-10 games this year, but moving this program to what Kelly wants is what he has to do to save his job. Who knows, maybe they can put together a little run and go into Standford with 8 wins and pull off an upset. If they do that and then win a bowl game, we will have something to build on.

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    John1985 replied on October 25th, 2011 at 9:59 am

    Fourteen rushing plays, and that’s not even 14 designed runs, are you kidding me? Kelly didn’t abandon the run. He never committed to it. I don’t think he likes to run the ball, even though our best games last season and this have been when we’ve pounded the ball. I don’t want HIS “style of offense.” There’s a vulgar term to describe the softness of that “style”. I think he’s recruiting to throw the ball over the field and play fast break offense. Fine at Cinci but not with the big boys. We have a weak armed QB who cannot stretch the field. USC did exactly what I thought they would do for most of the game. They put a safety over Floyd and played tight in the box. This gave Rees little room to make the only throws he is able to make, between the hashes, 20 yds in. But most QB’s can make those throws. He was awful. 23 of 37 with a pick for 190 yds. That’s 5 yds an attempt and 8 yds a completion. He constantly throws into coverage and got burned last night. Half of the fumble off Wood’s helmet is on Rees, because he did not properly lead him. He servicable for most of our schedule, but he is of little help against top tier defenses, and SC isn’t even in that class. Coach stubborn will keep playing Rees, and he’lll probably be fine against Navy, Wake, Maryland and BC. Everyone will crow about the ice water in his veins, that he has “It”, whatever it is, and how composed he is. Then, we’ll get to Stanford, and they’ll dare him to throw over their D, and we’ll get our butts kicked again. I had this argument with fellow Domers all last week. Said I wasn’t confident going into the SC game. They all said I was wrong. We were so much better than SC. We’d kick their butts by 2 or 3 TD’s.
    Against the big boys, we have to play a QB that has a good arm, so they will respect the deep ball and loosen up. I don’t want to hear about Rees beating SC last year. He stunk and Barkley was hurt. That was Robert Hughes and the defense. I’m for playing Crist. Yeah he made a huge mistake, but he threw the ball really well, especially for coming in cold. Aside from Tulsa (that’s not SC), Rees has not had to come in cold. Don’t say USF. They’d been splitting practice snaps and had a 2+ hour half time to get ready. Not exactly coming in cold. More like starting. Crist has more tools, and Hendrix isn’t ready or he’d be starting now. Given the choices, Crist makes the most sense. Hendrix or Golson is the future, not Rees, but they are not ready. Let’s see what Crist can do given a full game and a commitment to run the ball. By next year, Hendrix or Golson should be ready. Until we give Crist the chance at a full game this year, we’re just playing out the string to get to next year. But this won’t happen as long as we have a 3d tier game coach who has yet to show that he’s ready for the big stage. He said silly mistakes frustrate him. Lo Wood on Robert Wood, 1-1. Did he do that because they have the same name? Going for a touchdown when an easy field goal will win. Yeah. I’m frustrated too. Don’t give me the BK Cool Aid. I’m not drinking.

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    John replied on October 25th, 2011 at 9:43 pm

    Crist had his chance and he fumbled it. 14 point swing. Game over.

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    John1985 replied on October 26th, 2011 at 3:40 am

    That’s brilliant. Give the kid 6 or 7 plays coming off the bench, and he’s done. What stupidity. So, who’s your choice? The rag armed QB who makes even more mistakes, or one of the two that aren’t ready to play?

    scav replied on October 26th, 2011 at 11:31 am

    You make the comment that Hendrix isn’t ready to play. Was Rees ready last year when Crist went down? No, but Kelly designed a package that he could run and they went 4-0.

    My point is that whether Kelly wants to pass all over the field or be balanced, a QB that is a threat to run is needed. Since Rees nor Dayne are running QB’s, it only makes sense to give Hendrix more playing time because it takes one more defensive player out of coverage because they need to spy on the QB.

    Crist is not the answer for this offense. He has been a square peg in a round hole since Kelly arrived. He is a kid that would do well in a pro-style offense, but he is not fit for the spread.

    I want ND to prepare for 2012 and I think that giving Hendrix a lot more playing time will still allow this team to win 8-10 games this year and put them in a much better position for a run in 2012.

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    John1985 replied on October 26th, 2011 at 11:48 am

    First, after Crist got hurt last year, there was no other choice except for Rees. And your right, Kelly did the smart thing and adapted the offense to the only choice that he had to play QB. Second, your also right to say that Crist’s abilities do not fit as well into the offense. Although, he runs well enough to have run some wildcat against Purdue as a Sophomore. So what if he does not fit perfectly into the offense? He’s the best QB available, so adapt the offense to his skill set. That’s what good coaches do. Play some pro-set. It fits all of the personnel better anyway. Besides, if Crist does really well, he can come back next year. If we get big leads, get Hendrix some time. Finally, I’d rather have a QB that can extend the field by throwing rather than one who is a better runner. If Hendrix could make the deep throw, not just throw the ball long, he’d be playing. The addition of the running option is nice, but the D can still crowd the line to stop it.

  • Joe B commented on October 23rd, 2011 at 10:06 pm

    I’m 100% behind Kelly too, but he needs to stop calling out the players. His poor gameplan was just as much to blame as the players. Agree with everyone else here who says the lack of a commitment to the running game was really perplexing.

    We had heard all week how ND finally had the athletes to compete with USC. From almost the minute the game started, you could see that wasn’t true. ND’s front 7 got dominated. USC didn’t have to open up the playbook or take any chances, and they knew it. Give credit to Kiffin. I’m now going to go throw up.

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    Gil Marin replied on October 24th, 2011 at 2:07 am

    Wrong place, wrong time. I threw up last year for the same reason. Fight On!

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    C-Dog replied on October 24th, 2011 at 11:44 am

    We have the athletes now. they just didn’t show leadership. USC didn’t win this as much and ND gave it up.

    but now that Cheat On!! has mouthed off our players should have something to motivate them. Look at how MSU is now the premier team in Michigan.

    LA is a cesspool, just like Detroit. The schools in Ann Arbor and Watts will reflect it.

    If Kelly is a leader, he will make sure the men that suit up next year against the future unemployed, clean their clocks with a true beat down.

    Anyone who saw MSU take on Wisconsin knows leadership makes the difference.

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    bc replied on November 30th, 2011 at 7:14 pm

    Your are an fool and a hater as well. USC marched down the field on ND if I recall. You must have watched a different game. Total USC domination as I recall.
    South Bend is not exactly the vacation capitol of the world so I would not be so critical of LA. USC ownes ND now and even although Barkley’s absence last year led to the fluke ND win.

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  • joeyknucklehead commented on October 23rd, 2011 at 10:10 pm

    Rees is asked to do too much in this offense with his skill set – ND has the best RBs in years a very good line but is afraid to run the ball on a constant basis

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  • storespook commented on October 23rd, 2011 at 11:02 pm

    Rees is no newbie to this anymore. He had starts last year and essentially 7 this year. You either start to get it as a QB or acknowledge you may just not be that good to begin with. This reminds me a lot of Matt Lovechio back in 2000. Yeah, he “managed” games too, and had a decent overall W-L record. Then they played the Beavers of OSU and his shortcomings were exposed also in that game against a fast athletic defense. We have good RB’s that would be quite complimented with a dual threat QB. Rees is not the answer. So, either develop a better offensive scheme to fit his strengths or get the QB in that has the skill set necessary to run a spread option scheme Kelly says he “wants” to implement. I really would like to see Hendrix receive some EXTENDED PLAYING TIME and not just for a couple of plays. At this point, we’ve lost anything to play for substantially. If we are in a continued building process, then let’s look what we have in the damn “storage shed” and see what can be brought out to make 2012 a better year. It’s up to the coaching staff to determine who will play where to put ND in the best position to win. I question how well they are performing that right now.

    Go Irish

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    JC replied on October 23rd, 2011 at 11:29 pm

    Kudos!!

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    SD replied on October 24th, 2011 at 10:05 am

    I agree a 100%

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    Jeremy M. replied on October 24th, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    Tommy has better numbers than Jimmy did as a true sophomore.

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    John1985 replied on October 25th, 2011 at 10:52 am

    I wouldn’t say better but comparable. Thru 7 Rees is 163-249-7 (66%) 1693 yds 14 TD’s longest completion 37 yds with his shortest throw in a game of 19 yds. Thru 7 in 2008, Clausen was 149-245-9 (61%) 1832 yds 15 TD’s longest completion 60 yds but his shortest completion in a game was 38 yds. He finished the year 268-440-17 (61%) 3172 yds 25 TD’s lond completion of 69 yds. Plus Rees has much superior talent around him, but the bottom line is that he cannot extend a defense.

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  • JC commented on October 23rd, 2011 at 11:14 pm

    Look, it is time to see if Dayne can get through a game? He came out and walked the team down to score. How many turn overs has Tommy been allowed to stay in a game? THREE! Not to mention a bye week from BK of “lets let the kids be kids for a while!” Biggest pivotal game of the season and we are going to play JACKS? Oh yeah, 2 of 7 games turn over free wohoo!

    Hey, in all fairness we do need to know what we have for sure in Dayne. A half of game of football for Dayne is NOT, I repeat NOT….a good measuring stick!!! Futhermore, if we start Dayne and it goes bad again then we play Hendrix more for the future. It’s just that simple and at this point there is nothing to lose to find out! Let’s man-up on this BK, two turn overs from any player should be IMMEDIATELY BENCHED period! INCLUDING QUARTERBACKS!!! This team is too talented to put up with anything less! Especially with 5 games to go we need a new mojo signal caller at the helm of this football team.

    Go Irish!

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    storespook replied on October 24th, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    JC,
    I understand where your coming from regarding DC. We do have last year to make some assessment how he is (was) and he seemed to have a dazed look in his eye then as he did against SF earlier and SC the other night. Unfortunately, the intangible regarding DC is hugely negative. Why, I don’t know (I have theories)but he does, it’s been demonstrated by how the team overall responds to him when he is playing, and at this point, he shouldn’t go in unless TR & AH can’t play (because I don’t see EG being used this year). It’s unfortunate things have not been better for DC at ND, but, sometimes those things do happen to college players. In hindsight, he should have probably transferred to a FCS school where he could play immediately in a system more suited to his skill set. It’s time to look ahead to 2012 (I hate having to acknowledge that, but, it is what it is). It’s either AH or EG unless BK changes the offensive scheme that plays to TR’s limited skill set. That doesn’t thrill me either.

    Get the “Fight” back in Fighting Irish
    Go Notre Dame

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    JC replied on October 24th, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    Yeah, your right, I personally would like Hendrix to get the opportunity to start. We might as well get this headed in the right direction.
    Hopefully, we don’t have to live through too many turn overs with new training wheels in place. Maybe with the next four games Hendrix will be ready for Standford?

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    John1985 replied on October 25th, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    This dazed look stuff is such BS. I just looked up Crist’s picture on the ND site, and he doesn’t look any different with a helmet on. I certainly didn’t see “hugely negative” intangibles then. Last year, he started at the same place as Rees. He’s older but he hadn’t seen much playing time his first two years.

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    John1985 replied on October 25th, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    I agree, but give him the rest of the year. Why not? If we commit to the run, we should be able to win out up to Stanford. Let Crist play without having to look over his shoulder to see if Kelly’s going to yank him.

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  • Si Brazy commented on October 23rd, 2011 at 11:57 pm

    It was obvious that the center snapped the ball before Crist was to get the ball. He was able to move the ball for a TD and then there was a bad snap.

    The center was at fault not the quarterback. The same thing has happened to quarterbacks
    such as Tony Roma

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  • Chi-town Copper commented on October 23rd, 2011 at 11:59 pm

    In prior regimes we saw young QBs get thrown in the mix, take their beatings, and essentially toss a few seasons away for the future. Here i point to Brady Quinn and Jimmy Clausen. By their junior years they had a pretty good command of the team but it took a couple pretty bad seasons to get to that point. Similarly should we just put Hendrix in like this since we are nowhere near a serious bowl, so that maybe next year he’ll be ready with the added experience like Quinn and Clausen showed in their 3rd seasons after alot of pt and poor performances as freshmen and sophmores learning the ropes?

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  • 6yardsitko commented on October 24th, 2011 at 12:05 am

    I think we are forgetting something here…

    — Go back to 2009 when Weis failed to recruit a QB…
    — Clausen moves on early when Kelly comes leaving the job to Crist…
    — Crist goes down with a head concussion then another knee…
    — Insert Rees (nowhere on top QB list)and Montana (who couldn’t start for Pasadena CC!)…

    I realize that everyone’s memory is very short, but Dayne has played more than a half…He started every game through Tulsa last year…and started the UCF game.

    Unfortunately, neither one is the answer.

    Talented?…Other than Floyd, no senior will get a call on the NFL draft days….just like last year.

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    JC replied on October 24th, 2011 at 12:57 am

    6yard,

    I was refering to the UCF game this year only in regards to Dayne getting pulled after the 1st half…..not last year! 2nd, I was refering to total team talent not just seniors.

    Sorry it was not an immediate grasp of the obvious for you?

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    John1985 replied on October 27th, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    First, Crist played pretty well last year for a first year QB in a new offense. Second, Floyd is probably a first round pick, but others will get picked later. The most likely are Trevor Robinson, Harrison Smith, Darius Fleming and Robert Blanton, all probably on day 2 but drafted. Ethan Johnson, Gary Gray and Jonas Gray could also go. J. Gray has made the most of his limited carries and is big and fast. I’d use a 4th or below on him.

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  • Menotti commented on October 24th, 2011 at 3:03 am

    I’ve never been quite as frustrated, pissed off, or flat out disgruntled from watching ND play as I was last night. What I saw was a bunch of arrogant pricks who play for Southern Cal come into our house, “piss on our rug” so to speak, disrespect us in every other way imaginable, and the only thing our coaches and players did was basically crap themselves and respond with, *using a really whiney voice* “um, you guys, please don’t do that. It hurts our feelings when you do that… we’d really appreciate it… pleaaase…”

    When the hell is ND going to respond to Southern Cal’s bulls@#$ by grabbing them by the ear, dragging them out back behind the woodshed, and making them wish they hadn’t pissed on our rug? When are we going to quit playing weak, flashy football and start running it down their throats? I can’t tell you how many times I sat there thinking, “the next play’s gotta be a run… ok maybe the next one… anytime now, Kelly… are we going to run the %$#$%^^ ball at all?” This may be the era of the spread offense, but if you don’t run the ball, win the battle in the trenches, and play hard nosed defense, you aren’t going to win the big games. If the fundamentals aren’t a part of the game plan, then losing apparently is.

    On a side not, I think that we should seriously consider not having a bye week before we play Southern Cal because I think it makes us lazy, stagnant, over-think game plans, and not be up to game speed out of the gate. From my perspective, the crap we saw occur in the first quarter yesterday seems to be a trend when we have a bye week before USC or any other big game. Why not have a bye week before we play Purdue or a service academy? There’s something to be said for being in a mid-season rhythm where you’re used to having one week to prepare, play the game, and do it all over again right before a big rivalry game. Rest for an extra week before lower caliber opponents on the schedule, not before a prime-time match up with our biggest rival. Southern Cal didn’t have the extra rest and look at how they exploded out of the gate?

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    jack replied on October 24th, 2011 at 10:50 am

    Same thing happened in the 80′s with Miami scum and until the players decided to make statement by smaking them around before the game, it didn’t change. Again one of my earlier posts was sports is to PC. Hate the other team until you leave the field. Enough of this bullshit of shaking hands and singing hymns. Get an attitude and smack someone in the mouth.

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    Sad Warrior replied on October 24th, 2011 at 11:29 am

    You have it Jack!

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    Ron replied on October 24th, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    I absolutely agree 100% with you Menotti. We play like a bunch of girls. I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired. We deserve every bit of criticism from the national media. We are a joke!

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    John1985 replied on October 27th, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    When you run a girly powder puff offense, do you expect to play like something other than girls?

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  • Fred M commented on October 24th, 2011 at 10:19 am

    I’m sick and tired of watching nd football wondering when they are going to turn it over! BK better find out soon who’s running this team i’m begining to think he is living too much in the past! all of his post game comments STINK!. Put Hendrix in for good. At least I could forgive him for making some mistakes. Until then I’m not watching them anymore. I’m sick and tired of all the BS!

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  • Patrick commented on October 24th, 2011 at 10:22 am

    I am so sick and tired of this nonsense. Year after year, coach after coach, recruiting class after recruiting class. The bottom line is, we do not recruit TOUGH FOOTBALL PLAYERS. Players with pride for not only the University, but for themselves. The academic standards have not changed, the expectations are the same so why do we continue this nonsense. We do not recruit the Tough born to play football players from Texas, California, Ohio and Pennsylvania. These states were staples under our past successful program.

    On another note, if Kelly wants to run “his style” of offense then give the ball to Hendrix or Golston. You can not wait for them to be juniors then expect them to play at the level of say Matt Barkley. Lets go Kelly

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  • Irish commented on October 24th, 2011 at 10:36 am

    I think we can all safely say at this point that neither Crist or Rees is any sort of solution. It’s time to go with Hendrix. BK clearly wants to save a year of eligibility with Golson so let’s move towards 2012. This season has 8-5 written all over it so let’s move on. No BCS no Top 25 so time to build for the future. I’m not even opposed to splitting time with Rees and Hendrix just to ease him into things. Our running game (save the USC game) is good enough to win 3 or 4 more games this year. The defense is better and can win some games. But let’s get this kid ready and see what he has. We cannot afford another offseason of not knowing who the QB is. Crist still has another year (but will probably transfer or just leave), Rees still has 2 more years.

    I don’t want to hear about the starting record of Rees, it’s misleading and you could see on Saturday night that the guy just has limitations which will prevent him from being a BCS QB. Hendrix might not be it either but it is time to find out at 4-3.

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    Sad Warrior replied on October 24th, 2011 at 11:27 am

    I totally agree with Irish. Time for Hendrix to move in as the starter. Rees and Crist have confidence issues. Additionally they both also appear to have lapses in intensity and drive. I’m glad we saw that game from 8,000 miles away. I don’t think I could have contained myself if I was in the stadium.

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    Jeremy M. replied on October 24th, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    If BK thought that Hendrix gave us the best chance to win, he’d be in (6 games ago). I trust BK’s record waaaaay more than my own “gut” feelings.

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    fxm replied on October 24th, 2011 at 11:02 pm

    His gut had Crist as the starter for 30 minutes. His gut at present has the mummy running the spread offense (albeit modified for a mummy)

    Irish replied on October 25th, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    First he thought Crist was the guy until that one bad half of football. I agree that he thinks / thought Rees gave the team the best chance to win this year. However, with 3 losses we are not going to the BCS so let’s look to at least get Hendrix ready. He must see something to begin to start putting him in at this point. We know BK wants a dual threat and clearly Rees is not that guy.

    Brandon Wicks replied on October 25th, 2011 at 10:38 pm

    I would just like to say that I do not believe that Kelly ever thought that Crist was the guy. I think that he may have felt pressured into starting him. I think that he may have thought that if he didn’t at least give the kid a chance than every person in the ND nation would be saying what a bad job Kelly did picking Reese over Crist the 5 star. I think if Kelly thought Crist was the guy, there is no way he gets pulled after a half. Just saying.

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  • Joe commented on October 24th, 2011 at 10:54 am

    ND’ offense is bad, but defense is worse. They cannot stop the run and no. 4 is exploited and for good reason. How many times was the blitz on and their QB trapped but escaped because ND could not make the tackle. What happened to the mighty Teo who all of a sudden cannot
    tackle a QB? GIve me a break when I have observe the ND
    team get estatic when once in a while they make a tackle.

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  • MBMan commented on October 24th, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    Golson is the answer, tough kid great arm and smart as they come.
    He also has something these other guys don’t and thats heart.
    After watching him for all four years in High School, I truly believe this kid has something special
    Kelly needs to get the kid on the field, he said it himself it’s hard to keep a great athlete like Everette on the sidelines.
    He better play him before someone else grabs him.

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  • Shazamrock commented on October 24th, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    Coach Kelly said at the beginning of the year, that since ND does not belong to a conference, that a 10, 11, or 12 win season and a BCS bowl game was the goal.

    With those things out the window at only the mid point of the season. I think the coaches should take a step back and re-evaluate their priorities.

    I would start with finding a way to get the lads to play with a fire and intensity that used to be the mark of ND football.

    If I paid the big bucks for a USC-ND night game ticket, and was given the dead fish of emotion displayed on Saturday night, I would be asking for my money back today.

    I can deal with a loss if there was passion and fire. Pride and toughness.
    (see the 2005 USC-ND game)

    I want to see the guys flying around, knocking the snot out of people, jumping around, inspiring each other, whooping it up, cutting it loose, making plays all over the field, and having some fun.

    That’s what Saturdays are supposed to about for a ND football player.
    All week long they tow the line. Saturdays are for cutting loose on someone. Sure there will be a few 15 yard penilties involved, but we have all seen the alternative and it isn’t pretty.

    I sure as heck don’t want to see us lose to Navy, Maryland, Wake, BC, or Stanford. But I especially don’t want to see us lose to any of those teams becaue we were “flat” emotionally.

    I say at this point, whip the players up then cut them loose. Turn them loose. If you lose, you lose playing “ALL OUT”. And in doing so, maybe they will find their true identity.

    Because right now they look like they are more concerned about making, or not making mistakes, than making plays and having fun.

    From here on out, the team should be on a ‘search and distroy mission”.
    This is a mentallity that is needed and one we are currently missing.
    Winning is important, but at this time, playing with fire and passion every time out is more important.

    [Reply]

  • Chris commented on October 24th, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    It’s time Kelly has to think seriously re-evaluate the type of offense he wants to run. He has a MAC conference caliber QB, and his limitation was on full display vs USC. Rees has been struggling against any decent defense, he’ll be totally lost against the defenses of LSU or BAMA. If Kelly still thinks he’s the one, then help him out by running some more. Jonas Gray need running hard all season, pound the ball more. Kelly was trying to copy the Arizona State game and was throwing too many screens. But we don’t have the personnel to catch n run.

    If Kelly wants to install the spread, then give Hendrix more opportunity to see what he can do on the field .

    Also, about the defense.
    Over 1 1/2 yr, I have not seen anything exciting from Diaco’s defense.
    Why r we always having someone on the job training.
    The outside backers are the most exciting players in a 3/4 defense. But our backers can’t even tackle Barkeley out in the flat n allowed him to run for first down. And it happened more than once. what is going on with coaching with 2 weeks to prepare. We are not improving going in second yr already.

    I was only excited what Akinson return another one.

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  • DeltaIrish commented on October 24th, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    Crist isn’t the right type and, for some cosmic reason is the unluckiest bastard on the college football world.

    Rees is a “game manager” (techinical term for a QB that can’t throw the long ball or run). Unfortunately we don’t have the other aspects of the game in such an order that we just need an Alabama style “game manager”. We need the QB to win us a few.

    That leaves us with Hendrix and Gholson. Both are reportedly the epitome of what Kelly’s offense needs to be as prolific as it was at Cincy. I understand that neither is the guy that “gives us the best chance to win now.” But, given that Kelly has said at ND the goal is a BCS bowl, those pants have been shat. Time to build for the future. Crist should transfer and find some new karma. Tommy should be back-up with the limited playbook we are supposedly running now. Save Gholson’s redshirt year and start Hendrix.

    Without a conference, ND’s only goal is BCS. That goal has been missed this year. Time to start building for next.

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    fxm replied on October 24th, 2011 at 11:04 pm

    I could understand the “game manager” thing if he didn’t turn it as much as anyone in the country. How could Hendrix possibly cough it over any more? What is the risk?

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  • Mike commented on October 24th, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    I like Dayne Crist and Tommy Rees and they have given their all for the team. BUT, they are not the future of the team. Hendrix and Golson are the future. We have nothing left to lose this year – all our initial high hopes have been dashed by turnovers and mental errors that well intentioned young men made. Kelly needs to make the hard decision and building for the future with a dual threat QB. It’s time to give the young guns some experience and prepare for year 3 of the BK era. If he doesn’t do it now, it will be even harder next year and how will we ever recruit another top QB? I feel bad for Tommy and Dayne but they had their chances and have not met the challenge. Tommy hasn’t performed well against tough defenses, has too many turnovers, and looks out of place on the field when he has to scramble. Dayne has the physical tools but just can’t pull it together when he needs to. BK needs to use a QB suited to his offense. If you want to have a top level program – you have to make the hard decisions.

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  • Irish commented on October 24th, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    It’s sickening listening to the USC players talk about ND quitting Saturday night. It is a classless move and reeks of front running, but there is probably some truth in there. I think it was more of shrinking in the moment. That was the first really big game this program has played in 5 years. Sometimes the moment is too big for you and right now it’s too big for us. I optimistically think we will play better from here on out. Kelly rallied them last year under far worse circumstances after losses to Navy and Tulsa. It’s ironic that Navy comes to town this week and can be some sort of carthatic healing.

    Let’s hope for 8-4 and the Champs Bowl vs. FSU. I know that would have sounded horrible back in August but it is all we have.

    Go Irish!

    [Reply]

  • pete commented on October 24th, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    I agree about running the ball. I like Kelly very much as a coach but he sometimes does get a little pass happy. Still though when Kelly calls a pass play and the receivers are open and the pass is bad that is not his fault. Example, Eifert was wide open in the end zone and Reese threw a bad pass. Crist fumbles on the 1 yard line with a chance to tie the game late in the 3rd quarter, etc, etc. Finally, would like to see more of Hendrix. Also Notre Dame needs a handful of creampuffs on the schedule so that backup players can get meaningful playing time. Offense isn’t far away from being really good. Special teams and defense still have a long way to go.

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  • Rockett55 commented on October 25th, 2011 at 11:45 am

    I dunno what it is with this team the last few years dig themselves into a whole with 0-2 start then knock off 4 wins in a row. USC has a really good team but to come out and play the way they did in a game against a team that owns them the last 10 years was truly disapointing. I will continue to support this team I would like to see Hendrix more because he is a true spread QB , Rees is a gamer and im not gonna sit here and say he’s not the answer because he has control of this offence and has looked good at times. Too fumble on the 2yard line foe the second time in the SAME!!!!!! season is just plain bad luck and mental mistakes on part of the players. Still think we have a shot at 8-4 im a realist just wanna see this team continue to get better

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  • GMoney commented on October 25th, 2011 at 10:06 pm

    I honestly believe that Matt Barkley’s comments were bush league and absolutely smack of front running. That said, I love Floyd, but this is your All-American wide receiver in a marquis rivalry game. He simply cannot disappear in a game like this. Demand the football..

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  • Michael Merritt commented on October 26th, 2011 at 10:17 pm

    The only time I can remember a National Championship Team win with a very average quarterback was Oklahoma in 2000. Josh Heupel was the quarterback for Oklahoma that year. How did they do it? The Oklahoma Sooners of 2000 had perhaps the BEST Defense I have ever seen in College Football. That is what it tooks to win with a Championship with an average quarterback. Tommy Rees is a very gutsy kid but very average quarterback. There is not one skill he has that provides Notre Dame an advantage over our competitors. I am really encouraged by Coach Kelly’s commitment to building a great defense. Until that great defense arrives though, we have better be prepared for disappointment. With these defensive recruits Notre Dame is bringing, let us hope that Bob Diaco can develop a great defense.

    [Reply]

  • Shazamrock commented on October 27th, 2011 at 11:06 am

    Mike,

    I attended a whole lot of ND football games back in the 1970′s.

    There was one particular ND QB who didn’t garner much recruiting interest because they said he was too small, too slow, had a weak arm, and who’s skill set was average at best. He was buried 3 deep on the depth chart when new head coach Dan Devine called on him late in the fourth quarter of the third game of the 1975 season.

    ND was trailing 14-6 with 5 minutes left in the game. The offence had been “flat” all day. Buth this fresh faced sophmore came in and lead ND to 21-14 win in the final 5 minutes.

    He would, during his ND college careed, go on to post some of the most amazing come backs in ND history, while also winning a national Champoinship in 77′.

    His Name was Joe Montana.

    Now I’m not, by any means, saying Tommy Rees is the next Joe Montana.

    But I have seen both in action, at similar points in their careers, and I can tell you the similarities, in terms of the intangables, are amazing.
    Both have a knack for leading late game rallys, both have a knack for getting the players around them to play better. Both seem to play pretty well under pressure. Both had the rap that they had weak arms and were just average.

    Now Joe didn’t win a National Championship until his senior season, so Tommy still has some time to get there.

    I hope he does, and I hope the similarities between the two continue.

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    JDH replied on October 27th, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    Here here! I see Tommy’s flaws just like everybody else. But I believe he is our man. I believe that because of the improvement I’ve seen from last year to this year. Yes, some of his turnovers have been just awful. But, in my humble opinion, we don’t have 3 losses because of Tommy.

    I would however like to see Hendrix utilized more in the red zone. Let opponent’s defenses keep on guessing whether or not he is going to run.

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    John1985 replied on October 27th, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    Joe had a much better arm and was much more mobile. That was in an era of smaller and slower players. Rees is too slow and too weak armed to be more than a back up in today’s college game.

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    Irish replied on October 28th, 2011 at 9:24 am

    Love to see that happen, but i really don’t see anyway that Rees keeps his job past this season. With Hendrix and Golson around I think we are coming to the end of the Rees era. He was a good band aid and seems to win a lot of games (could be better if the Michigan debacle doesn’t happen), but I think we all can see he is not the real answer.

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  • teo commented on October 27th, 2011 at 9:13 pm

    Okay, so I think I’ve probably waffled more than the average Notre Dame fan. But, I feel like I’ve seen enough of Rees. He’s a nice kid and understands the offense very well. He does. But he can’t seem to throw the ball down field and so the defense sneaks up on every down. Meanwhile Floyd (who could stand to learn a thing or two about intensity) is in one-on-one coverage but cannot get the ball because Rees can’t accurately toss it fifty yards down field.

    All of that said, I don’t know about Crist. He’s a head case. I mean a fumbled snap at the 1? Nuts. I don’t have the answer. But I have a pretty good feeling that running the ball a lot more and using a different quarterback is probably the best approach at this stage. Again I still believe that we play the best guys at every position. That has to be the goal. I just don’t think that Rees is the best quarterback we have.

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  • chris commented on October 28th, 2011 at 12:04 am

    Shazamrock,

    What’s a grandpa like you doing in this forum ???

    I disagree. You are comparing Rees with Montana!!! Are you kidding me! Rees is an Interception machine waiting to happen. He locks onto Floyd too much. He’s lucky he has Floyd. Without Floyd, what is he going to do. Is he going to create plays ? Is he going to throw it deep or across his body ? Is he going to run for a first down ?

    There is nothing that Rees does another QB can not do ! Actually I see many things that he can not do. In the USC game, he was totally “out-classed” by Barkeley.

    [Reply]

    Shazamrock replied on October 28th, 2011 at 7:35 am

    Chris,

    What am I doing in this formum?

    Obviously trying to enhance your overall knowledge of ND football.(Although you don’t make it easy)

    The only thing I was comparing was the “intangables” of 2 ND QB’s during their sophmore seasons.

    I am not comparing a Hall of Fame QB who had 16 years in the NFL to a sophmore QB playing in his 12th college game.

    ( “I’m not, by any means, saying Tommy Rees is the next Joe Montana”.)

    Maybe you didn’t read that part?

    If you can’t understand that, then maybe we should ask what you are doing on this forum?

    Too bad you never got to see Joe play in person. There are so many details of his game that went un-noticed by the “Me First” Generation.

    [Reply]

    Shazamrock replied on October 28th, 2011 at 8:26 am

    By the way, when I attended that game in 1975 with my dad, I was 9 yrs old!

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    storespook replied on October 29th, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    I hear Joe is QUITE angry with ND about how his son Nate was treated while he attended ND. I suppose Nate’s off the field issues and not so great performance on the field weren’t issues Nate had any responsibility for, hmm. I don’t think he had the “old man’s” football genes too much, either. It’s too bad if Joe has this level of animosity towards his alma mater.

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