Brian Kelly said on Sunday that he can the staff would evaluate film and come to a decision on who would be the starting quarterback on Monday. If that decision has been made it hasn’t been announced yet as the only news to come out from Notre Dame on the quarterback front Monday was the inclusion of “OR” on the official depth chart for this weekend’s contest against Michigan.
Most media members interpreted Brian Kelly’s comments on Sunday to mean that he would announce his starting quarterback today. With no scheduled media appearances today though, there was no news from Notre Dame’s head coach on who he will line up under center this weekend when Notre Dame travels to Ann Arbor for the first night game ever in Michigan Stadium.
Kelly is scheduled to meet with the media on Tuesday for his regularly scheduled weekly press conference so it’s likely we’ll have some more clarity on the situation later today.
What Kelly and his staff must decide is whether or not the sluggish start from the Irish offense had to due with Dayne Crist or if Crist was the recipient of bad luck. “Sometimes you want to evaluate was it as bad as you thought or was it better than you thought, because in the now you get a sense and feel as the game goes, but sometimes when you go back and you take a step back and you look at film, you get a better understanding of maybe it wasn’t the quarterback’s fault on this play, maybe it was some other factor,” Kelly said on Sunday.
It is true that a number of Crist’s incompletions were a result of drops, but what Kelly and staff must decide is whether or not those drops were the result of poor throws or just bad hands from his receivers. The likely answer here is a little of column A and a little of column B. The receivers had to come down with some of the drops, but at the same time Crist could have been more accurate or placed more touch on some of the shorter throws that hit his receivers hands before hitting the ground.
Whatever the reason though, it’s hard to argue with the results Tommy Rees had while he was in the game. For whatever reason, the drops were reduced and the offense moved the ball better with Rees in command of the offense. He ended up tossing 296 yards in the second half alone and threw a pair of touchdown passes while leading Notre Dame to 20 second half points after the Irish were shut out in the first half.
Both Rees and Crist run essentially the same offense for Notre Dame so the delay in announcing a quarterback isn’t a ploy by Kelly to gain some tactical advantage over Michigan. Instead the delay is likely just a case of Kelly waiting for his normal press conference to make an announcement. Look for Kelly to open up his presser by naming his starter and if he doesn’t expect the first question he gets to be who gets the call in what has become a very early must win game for Notre Dame.