Keith Arnold over at NBC had a recent blog about Notre Dame's quarterback of the future and he still rates Dayne Crist as the likely starter in 2011.
I think he's wrong.
Crist has proven himself injury prone and it was interesting when given the opportunity after the season Kelly did not stick by his No. 1 if he got healthy by next year.
“I think we have a lot of players that I believe we can develop into being front line quarterbacks,” Kelly said. “We clearly have a number of quarterbacks and it’ll be competitive. That’s exciting for me. I hope that it’s not murky. I hope it’s just a great competition, and whoever wins that slot is better because it’s a very competitive situation.”
Speaking of Crist, Kelly said “From everything I’ve seen from the way he’s rehabbed, he’s already past that mentally because he had to go through it the first time,,,, “I see in him a different look in his eye like, ‘Coach, I’m going to get through this and be stronger because of it.’ Once he’s healthy, he’ll have a chance to compete and be a starter.
There it is, compete--- not "he's my starter."
Even when he played this year Crist seemed ill at ease with the spread offense and , while he had some great moments, too often as against Navy or when he came back into the game against Michigan he looked all at sea.
That is not what you expect from a veteran at this stage.
My strong guess is that Tommy Rees will be handed the ball next year barring some unforeseen disaster.
Sure, he has shown all the freshman problems this year but has battled mightily. The kid who was thrown in the deep end against Michigan and failed was certainly a different player by the end of the season.
And he was a winner.
Three times he led Notre Dame to victory in those last three games and while his inexperience proved costly against USC, he still managed a win.
That is what it is all about at top college level, finding that way to win.
Of course Kelly has other prospects, including Andrew Hendrix. But Kelly made it clear he is not ready and indeed, may not be ready come September.
"You can see the athleticism of Hendrix, strength of arm, and then you can see the strengths that Tommy has in picking up a game plan, where it comes natural to him,” Kelly said. “You go into a practice and he understands what you’re trying to accomplish. He’s got to be able to accomplish those things, but his recognition is really good for a true freshmen, and you can see the athleticism of an Andrew Hendrix, but it’s hard to put it all together right now because he has a very, very shallow base of what we want to accomplish.”
Everett Golson is the incoming freshman, walking into the bear's den. He had a great year at South Carolina but it seems certain he will start down in the depth chart. Then who would have seen Rees take over in his first year?
Nate Montana will be lucky to suit up in 2011 I think, unless he pulls off a revival in his fortune like his famous Dad did.
Ditto for Luke Massa but don't forget that Kelly recruited him so he must have seen something.
So there it is for me Rees to start next year with Crist at Number 2 but watch for Hendrix I'd say, as the dark horse starter.