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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Eenie, Meenie, Miney, Moe Pick a Notre Dame Quarterback

Please kitty pick one that does not have a screw on cap
Well Brian Kelly is half way through undoubtedly the most important process of this his third season at the helm of The Fighting Irish. Settling on a starting quarterback to lead the Team and sticking with him.  Let’s repeat the last phrase: sticking with him.  Kelly and Dayne Crist lasted exactly all of one half of the first game in 2011.  This is after Kelly announced that Crist was his man for the season.  Anyway, that left him in the same boat as the year (2010) before when Crist went down in the Michigan game and then again for the rest of the season during the Tulsa debacle. 

He has not done a very good job preparing his quarterbacks, especially during periods of injury, poor play and critical mistakes that cost the Irish wins.  Backups and substitutes have struggled (with the exception of Andrew Hendrix during the Air Force game).  The next man in philosophy apparently is not working at QB for Notre Dame.  This is head scratching after Kelly’s success at Cincinnati and multiple quarterbacks.
This spring Kelly has emphasized and hinted that no QB decision is forth coming from the Blue-Gold Game come April 21st.  We here at the Station readily agree.  Keep the pressure on, keep the competition alive, and keep all four of them on campus.

Three issues bother us greatly.
One.  Kelly is dumbing down the offensive this spring to give Gunner Kiel a level playing field with the three upper class quarterbacks.  Whoa.  What does that do for improvement and progress of the rest of the Team?  Is Kiel really in the mix?  If by some remote chance he is, kiss Hendrix and Golson goodbye.  What does that say of the skills and abilities of the other three?  It is assumed that Kelly promised Kiel a fair shot when he stole him from Les Miles, OK we grant that.  However, dumbing down during an excellent time to evaluate all your players is risky.  Especially after two 8-5 seasons and a nasty 2012 schedule on the fall horizon.

Two.  Last year Kelly complained that he was unable to feed enough of the playbook to Hendrix who was the number three quarterback for most of the year.  This was due to lack of repetitions and Hendrix’s inability to absorb the playbook.  Hendrix was given a package of plays which as it turns out he never really had a chance to execute.  Crist was never really in the mix and Hendrix should have gotten the reps.
Three.  Repetitions and practice time.  If you want to give four quarterbacks equal time with the first team offense (plus some individual offensive position rotations) all four quarterbacks are getting screwed.  Kelly has complained in the past (last year) that he and his staff cannot train and prepare four quarterbacks.  What is wrong with working with two quarterbacks with the first team offense and working two quarterbacks with an offensive line, wide receiver set and backs left over?  Video it all as usual.  Spread the coaching staff between the two groups.  Then rotate the quarterbacks between the two offenses.  This greatly increases the repetitions for all four quarterbacks.  Is it much better than having three of them stand around and watch?

There has been considerable discussion that the Kelly offense and playbook takes way too long to absorb and master.  We have yet to see the true spread offense and no huddle-hurry up offense.  The complaint has always been that the Team is not comfortable or proficient in dealing with the offense and playbook.  Maybe we need a new playbook?
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