Aug. 4, 2012; South Bend, IN, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterbacks Andrew Hendrix (12) and Tommy Rees (11) walk into practice at the LaBar Practice Complex. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-US PRESSWIRE

Notre Dame’s Kelly Sparks Quarterback Controversy

In his October 18th media session, Brian Kelly stated that he had prepared all three Quarterbacks (Golson, Rees, Hendrix) for this weekend’s game versus BYU. This comes as a surprise to fans who expected Sophomore Quarterback Everett Golson to start after he was cleared by team doctor’s earlier this week. It definitely is a surprise for people who expected any decision to come down to Golson and Rees. However, with Golson’s limited preparation time this week, Hendrix got an opportunity to take a few more reps as the first team Quarterback.

In limited action this season, Hendrix has throw for 53 yards on 4 of 5 passing. He added 20 yards on 6 carries. These statistics were accumulated late in the Navy game. That is the only game that Hendrix has seen action in. He has been relegated to being the third Quarterback since the return of Tommy Rees.

It seems unlikely that Hendrix would play. However, if the game plan dictates something that Tommy Rees cannot do (i.e. Running the Read Option) then Hendrix would have to play if Golson is unavailable.

It is possible that we will see, again, a combination of Rees and Golson. This scenario seems more likely than unlikely. A hypothetical situation could play out where Rees starts the game with full knowledge of the game plan and preparation. Then, Golson enters the game as a change of pace to do certain plays that Rees is incapable of.

When will the revolving door of Quarterbacks end? Hopefully, soon. Coaches famously say,”When you have two Quarterbacks, you don’t have one.” When the controversy ends it will only be better for the team. It cannot be understated how much this prevents the Offense from gelling. When the Offensive Line has to constantly adjust to who is in the backfield, it changes how they block.

For example, when Everett Golson comes in. The Offensive Line needs to continue to block and chase Golson as he scrambles around the field. When Rees is playing, the line needs to be more cognizant of creating a solid pocket for Rees to throw from.

The other positions (Wide Receiver and Running Back) must also adjust. An Offensive that has been so inconsistent needs a consistent voice at Quarterback for them to find success. The Offense will never find that if Kelly keeps switching Quarterbacks. In the long run, if he stays with Golson or Rees, the Offense will score more points guaranteed.

When the Fighting Irish run out of the total on Saturday, fans will not know who the Quarterback is. But, when #5, #11 or #12 runs onto the field against the Brigham Young Cougars, each fan will have their own opinion about who the Quarterback is. Ultimately, it does not matter which player he picks. He just needs to pick one for the cohesion of the Offense. Without the Offense, the team does not have a chance of moving towards unseen heights this season.

Tags: Football Notre Dame Fighting Irish

  • Jim Ropa

    It’s funny that this is still the common position people take on the two quarterback system when the best drives that the Irish have had this season have been immediately following a quarterback change. Purdue: Rees drives down the field for the first score in the fourth for the Irish to stall a Boilermaker comeback. Michigan: Rees replaces a struggling Golson and drives down the field for the first score of the game. Miami: Rees goes three and out, Golson comes in after the fourth down penalty on the Canes, drives down field, and begins the rout. Stanford: Rees finishes off what Golson started with a few key throws. Granted the Stanford drive was already well underway, but who knows if Golson would have been able to make the passes necessary in that situation. As for me, I say stick with what works. If the “scramble and throw” offense isn’t working, replace Golson with Rees. If the passes downfield are covered, replace Rees with Golson. With good running backs and good receivers, either quarterback can still mask their plays well enough so that its not like bringing in Tim Tebow in the wildcat formation where you know what’s coming next. Do what you have to to win. Our offense has been flexible enough to adjust and win games to this point; why should the second half of the season be any different?