At Brian Kelly’s weekly Monday press conference, the Irish head coach was unsurprisingly asked a barrage of questions of who his starting quarterback will this weekend. Equally unsurprisingly, Kelly wasn’t ready to publicly name a starter though he did admit that he and the staff knew who would be starting. The rest of the team will know today as well based on the snaps in practice.
“We know exactly who it is, yes,” Kelly said on Monday. HE wasn’t ready to name that starter publicly. “We’ll talk to the guys today when they come over, but it’s not any different from what I mentioned here.”
Aside from just naming a starter, it sounds like the quarterback carousel that existed, even before the quarterback controversy, might end as well. “We’re going to have one guy, and we’re going to let him know that the reps are for him to the be the starter and focus on one guy,” Kellly said. “We just haven’t had a chance to talk to that individual yet.”
Brian Kelly said that he probably won’t publicly name a starter this week, but expects the media to do their investigative work this week and figure it out.
Let’s read the tea leaves, but honestly, what else would we do right now since we’re all fanatics.
Just last week, Brian Kelly said that Jack Coan and Drew Pyne split the reps and before that even, Kelly said Pyne took 40% of the snaps after Pyne came off the bench against Wisconsin. So, giving one player all of the reps and letting them be the starter is a change as well.
“Who graded out well. Who played well. Nobody was perfect as we know,” Kelly said of the decision criteria he and the staff used on selecting a starter. “There were mistakes made by all three, but at the end of the day, who gives you the best chance to win,” he added.
Kelly sounded like a coach that is confident the team’s ceiling is still high if they get the quarterback position settled. “This is still about winning football games. We feel like we’ve got a team that can win the rest of their games, and we want to put the quarterback out there that we believe gives us the best chance to do that.
So, if we read the tea leaves, if they haven’t told the individual who is starting, they are starting, and if the reps are changing from what they’ve been, logic suggests that a change is coming. Following the loss to Cincinnati, it seemed fairly apparent that Drew Pyne was at least the short-term answer.
I said on our post-game pod that if Notre Dame makes a change to Drew Pyne, then the Tyler Buchner package that the staff was adamant on using early this season needed to be shelved for at least a few weeks. The offense is struggling with consistency right now. They won’t know if Pyne can give them any consistency if he is indeed about to be the starter. He won’t do that with Buchner subbing in as they did in the 3rd quarter on that ill-fated drive that ended on downs when Pyne was getting into a rhythm.
If a change is coming, this will mark yet another season in the Brian Kelly in which the quarterback who started the season as QB1 was benched for performance issues. It happened in 2011, 2012, 2014, and 2018. Injuries forced changes at quarterback in 2015 and 2017 as well. However, change is the one constant with Notre Dame at quarterback.
If Coan is indeed benched in favor of Pyne, you can’t help but feel bad for the 5th year senior transfer, even if it does feel like a change needs to be made. By all accounts, Coan quickly earned his teammates’ trust and did everything that was asked of him of the coaching staff in his short time at Notre Dame. Unfortunately, the offense is just not scoring a lot of points with Coan in command.