Uncertainty Still Surrounds Quarterback Position

Notre Dame, IN – With the second full spring practice season under Brian Kelly officially concluded, the quarterback position for Notre Dame remains as cloudy as the weather in South Bend yesterday for the 82nd annual Blue-Gold Game.

Neither Dayne Crist or Tommy Rees looked sharp in this weekend's Blue-Gold Game. (Photo - Robin Alam/Icon SMI)

Heading into Saturday’s game, the plan was for Tommy Rees and Dayne Crist to only play a few series before giving way to Andrew Hendrix and Everett Golson.  Neither quarterback was particularly sharp early on, however, and both ended up playing into the second quarter to the surprise of color commentator Mike Mayock.

The weather conditions didn’t do either Crist or Rees any favors, but at the same time, the weaknesses of both were evident in their limited action.

Crist played well at times last season before injuring his knee against Tulsa, but consistency and accuracy plagued him in his nine starts.  The same issues were present yesterday with Crist throwing a few passes in the dirt and struggling to find much consistency.

Rees on the other was pretty accurate but didn’t show much in terms of arm strength despite rattling off an impressive four game winning streak to end the season for the Irish.  That lack of arm strength was seen yesterday again with the few downfield throws Rees attempted.  Rees also showed some questionable decision making resulting in a Lo Wood interception.

Notre Dame’s other two scholarship quarterbacks – Hendrix and Golson – saw a lot of action yesterday and both had their moments, but both also looked raw and in need of some more work before being ready to seriously challenge either Crist or Rees for the starting job this fall.

Golson displayed his athleticism and it’s easy to get excited about his potential to run Brian Kelly’s offense, but he looked very much like an 18 year old who would be getting ready for the prom in a few weeks if he didn’t enroll early at Notre Dame.  Golson was quick to run, even when the pressure on him was more perceived than real.  He also displayed some sloppy ball handling habits like not moving the ball to his outside arm when running out of bounds.

Still, it was clear that Golson has a lot of potential and could conceivably have a package developed for him as a change of pace quarterback.

Hendrix’s speed and athleticism were on full display as well with the sophomore to be running in a pair of touchdowns.  Hendrix threw the ball well too completing 10 of 16 passes.  Like Golson, he is still very raw at this point though and it might be a stretch for him to seriously challenge for the starting spot this year.  The talent is definitely there though.

For now though, it looks like the real competition for the starting job against South Florida will come down to Crist and Rees.  Who that ends up being is still very much in the air as neither did enough to separate from the other during the spring.


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  1. IrishChan 9 years ago

    Bama…. 4 first round draft choices! There is some talent down south.

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  2. Shazamrock 9 years ago

    Today is draft day for the NFL. Reading through the sports pages of my local paper, I noticed that they had the top 100 rated players for the draft listed.

    Anyone want to guess how many were from ND?

    ONE !

    Junior Kyle Rudolph.

    Hopefully, next year at this time, Coach Kelly and his staff will have changed all that.

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    1. jack 9 years ago

      That was the problem with the previous coaching staff, they never developed a player. I did see that Robert Hughes is being listed as a fullback. I hope he gets drafted, I liked his style of running and he is a good kid. I also think AA will make a good 3rd down back.

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  3. snoweeowl 9 years ago

    I wasn’t impressed with Crist or Rees during Blue Gold and believe the future is with Hendrix or Golson. Having control of a huddle is nice, knowing the plays is nice, but demonstrating by doing on the field is more important and I am not seeing that with Crist or Rees. Also, there is a certain hunger in the younger two that I don’t see in Crist or Rees. Yes, I know they won four in a row to close out the season but in my estimation they should have won more. I think most would agree ND is not going to the BCS Championship game. With that in mind I think it’s better to move forward with your future, Hendrix or Golson. I happen to think Golson offers more of a running threat and might be the best choice.

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  4. dan 9 years ago

    crist will start the season as quarterback mark it down

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  5. ndnickyk 9 years ago

    Not to stray from the subject but can some one tell me why everyone seems to regard Gunner Kiel as a better QB prospect than Zeke Pike. In every highlight video I see of Pike he leads his receivers perfectly, he’s mobile and cool headed, he runs well and is by all accounts a great leader. Add to that he’s two inches taller and twenty five pounds heavier and a 3.3 GPA. Then I watch Gunner and almost invariably his receivers have to wait for the ball, he seldom hits a receiver in stride and as I said he’s smaller. Yet ND made an offer to Gunner as soon as they could and ignored Pike until he wound up committing to the national champs at Auburn. Is it just because his uncle played a ND? Can anyone say Montana at Montana? IMO the only reason to go after a recruit is ability.

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  6. TPD 9 years ago

    The best part of the B-G was feeling like there’s a coach with a plan who’s building a program. Fans are free to have knee-jerk reactions to one glorified scrimmage, but you get the sense that BK knows what he’s doing.
    With the defense that’ll be in place, even if you trotted out the Crist of last year, you’ve got a better team. We’re 3-0 and 5-1 last year with a decent defense (only Stanford beating us down). Now Crist (and the whole offense) has an extra year and they will be better. Crist can run the offense with the tempo BK likes. No knock on Rees, but with Crist you can get some early and quick leads, but now with a defense that will shut down the opponent. That gives you the opportunity to give Hendrix game experience. Golson should redshirt and develop. If Crist goes down, then you’ve got the experienced Rees to give you a shot at a win (a luxury we didn’t have against Michigan or Tulsa last year).

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  7. Power Run The Ball 9 years ago

    Reese))) love him.. how can you not… he was thrown into the fire and he showed tremendous amount of poise and CLASS… He played great for a TRUE FRESHMEN….


    Crist is the clear cut QB. He the best QB with the exception of a little bit of touch and If kelly rains in the offense a little and coaches like he did the last 4 games Crist will flourish and the OFfense will be even better that what it was because Crist is Better….

    I personally think Hendrix and golson will pass reese even though Reese is the front runner right now…. with that said if we were stuck with only Reese I would glady go into the season with him/

    Rb situation… Wood/Gray/ Cam and Texas frosh…. hopefully is enough for the season… the rB from texas may be the real deal and that is one position which can impact immediately as a freshmen..

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  8. Power Run The Ball 9 years ago

    Scav hit the nail on the head about the ND football this season…

    The Crist injury might have been and hopefully was Coach Kelly’s n ND’s turning point. He was forced to change his philosophy. The philosophy which got him the job at ND as an offensive Juggernau. He was forced to coached great football the last four games of the seaon with a True freshmen. It is great and Unique for a guy in his position to be humble and sharp enough to take a step back, not be hard headed, and completely change his philosophy…. AND be able to do all that and win football games…. The defense made huge adjustments too. I was calling for his head after the Navy/tulsa game because of his comment that he will never change….. Someone on this site ensured me he would chabge.. I can’t remember if it was Jack or someone else, but the man was right…

    I just fear that he will revert back to pre crist injury football and not coach winning football like he did at the end of the season…. Run Game/ Floyd/ simplfy and execute…. GO ND!!!!!!!

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  9. NDforever 9 years ago

    Golson will need to add 20 to 25 lbs minimum before he ever sees the field.

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    1. mgc67 9 years ago

      I share a different opinion than most here…..I feel that Crist looked like Crist, pretty much the same that
      I witnessed last season. Hendrix and Gholson were close but I give the nod to Hendrix simply because
      he had to play opposite of Aaron Lynch who absolutely blew him up 2x’s. After the big hits he still
      completed his drives for TD’s.
      GO IRISH

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  10. ted 9 years ago

    crist was running the first team offense at the b/g game with cierre, riddick, jones, eifert and goodman. it was a pretty clear statement that crist is the guy right now.

    i don’t think there is anyway rees can play his way into that starting spot…it is up to crist to play his own way out of the starting spot. kelly may be saying differently but actions speak louder than words.

    golson looks like the qb of the future but will get himself injured at 160lbs. i hope kelly doesn’t waste a year of his eligibility with packages. i would much rather see hendrix out there in a run heavy package.

    i was very unimpressed with the offense as a whole. i know it was just a scrimmage, but i saw much of the same out there. errant passes, indecision, bad timing…this sh*t better get worked out or we will be biting our nails all season long.

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    1. Patrick 9 years ago

      I don’t worry about the offense. As Kelly has stated, he can manufacture offense, but he can’t manufacture defense. And that’s the key. If the defense plays as is it should, 21-24 points a game will be enough.

      There’s this idea that in order to win you need to score 40+ points a game. That’s true – IF your defense sucks.

      I think a more efficient offense is all we need. And by efficient I don’t mean scoring 40+ per game. I mean moving the ball between the 20’s, taking time off the clock, controlling the game, being efficient when in the red zone and not turning it over. I’d much rather see that offense than one slinging it all over the field, using trick plays, forcing throws, etc.

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  11. Brandon 9 years ago

    Crist is the guy. I would be shocked if he’s not starting this fall. I do believe however that there may be a wildcat type package for Golson, similar to what Urban Meyer did with Tebow his freshman year. Obviously they are different types of QBs, but Golson will bring the added dimension to throw out of the wildcat that Riddick lacks. Could be a good weapon a couple times a game this year.

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  12. jack 9 years ago

    Scav I agree, but BK ran an offense with Tony Pike and Crist is a better raw talent than Pike

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    1. scav 9 years ago

      Agreed, but Kelly said himself, his job at Cincy was to fill the stands and you do that with a dynamic offense.

      He is going to put together a plan that will fit the players and he has seem something last year tthat worked.

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