Sean O'Shea by Sean O'Shea
Freshman Gunnar Kiel may lead Notre Dame offense in September in Dublin against Navy
Posted on Wednesday, March 21, 2012 at 07:03 PM
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Will freshman Gunner Kiel, (pictured), lead the Irish offense against Navy on September 1st in Dublin in their first game of the new season?
The possibility is definitely on the cards as Coach Brian Kelly has made clear that his four quarterbacks, Kiel, Andrew Hendrix, Everett Golson and incumbent Tommy Rees will all start from the same page literally.
Kelly said he has dialed back the playbook so that Rees will not have an advantage in the stakes to be the No. 1 signal caller.
His move would appear to help Kiel who will have the opportunity to play himself into the team rather than be overwhelmed by the complexity of the play book from the start.
“I think it’s important that if they’re all going to get an equal opportunity to compete for the position,” Kelly said.
First year offensive coordinator Chuck Martin will be making the decisions on who gets what snaps and when.
“We’ve kind of taken a step back and really looked at our offensive structure, and we’re going to make it so all four of the guys that are here can compete at a fair level, because Tommy has got, as you know, the best knowledge base,” Kelly said. “But if we started the spring with page 50 of the playbook, Tommy would be ahead of everybody. So not to put him at a disadvantage but to give it an equal footing for all, we’ve kind of scaled it back, so the spring, it’s going to give all the quarterbacks, including a midyear in Gunner and of course the two young guys, an opportunity to truly compete for the position.”
You don't have to be a genius to understand that Kelly s clearly not keen on Rees as his starter after his inconsistent performances over the past two seasons.
Kiel is the game changer in all of this, and clearly, Kelly really wants to give him the opportunity to make the difference.
Hendrix did not impress when he got a shot last year while Golson has yet to get a run at the position.
Could it be that Kelly is already thinking of Kiel as the man who can come in and finally run his offense?
He knows his future as Notre Dame coach will depend on getting the quarterback position right. Rees is simply not his No. 1 choice it seems. Kiel is his wild card, the guy who could change everything.