Notre Dame Football: Why Irish Are Certain to Start Multiple QBs in 2012
If you think Brian Kelly gave his quarterbacks a short leash last season, just wait until you see the restraint he puts on the same group in 2012.
It won't appear that way on the surface, as Kelly will likely name a starter the week leading up to his team's season-opening game against Navy in Dublin, Ireland. But behind the scenes, each quarterback will know that his time in the spotlight may be short-lived, and for good reason.
Last season, Kelly yanked Dayne Crist—who has since transferred to Kansas to play under former Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis—after one half of action in the opening game of the 2011 season. The hasty decision was questionable at best, as Kelly had said he expected Crist "to be the starter for 13 weeks."
If your name is Andrew Hendrix, Everett Golson or Gunner Kiel, I would remember that exact scenario.
Kelly has been quiet on each of those three quarterbacks, as well as on the status of incumbent starter Tommy Rees, who was arrested at an off-campus party during the first week of May.
His quietness on the subject will (and should) likely continue throughout the summer and into the fall, because, let's face it, Kelly isn't going to stick with one starting quarterback this season.
Despite a severe lack of the mobility, along with mediocre physical tools, Tommy Rees held the keys to Kelly's offense for twelve-and-a-half games last season. Why? He had the best mental understanding and mastery of this offense that seems to be excruciatingly difficult to grasp.
Will Notre Dame start multiple quarterbacks in 2012?
That's what makes the outlook for each of the three candidates so bleak. None of the three have nearly as full of a grasp of Kelly's spread offense than Rees, meaning that the third-year head coach is likely to have an even shorter fuse than the one he showed in 2011.
Unfortunately for Irish fans, this means that the race for starting duties, while exciting, doesn't hold nearly as much meaning as they would hope for. It doesn't matter if Kelly names Golson, Hendrix or Kiel as the starter. Whoever it is will likely be plucked in favor of one of the other two.
As long as Kelly is as demanding of his starting quarterback as he has shown during two seasons in South Bend, the quarterback carousel will keep spinning.
When it stops, nobody knows.
What Kelly must accept is that 2012 will be a growing period for Hendrix, Golson and Kiel, as none of the three have started a single game while at Notre Dame.
In the best-case scenario, one of three candidates shows enough promise to hold and keep Kelly's faith, resulting in a solid quarterback situation heading into the 2013 season.
In the worst-case scenario, Kelly becomes infuriated with his initial starter and moves on to each of the other two quarterbacks remaining as the season continues on an abysmal path.
Let's hope for option No. 1.
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