No one will deny how rough the end of Dayne Crist's year was in his final full game against Navy. He looked lost, confused, and beaten down by the wrath of Brian Kelly.
But everyone has their rough games and tough stretches, especially first-year starters. When fans point out "Rees was only a freshman," they forget Dayne was under the gun for the first time since high school as well. You learn and you grow from your mistakes.
I keep going back to Brady Quinn because it's a relevant parallel. Quinn had a very bumpy ride his first season at the helm and even a lot of his second go-around. He made great strides though as he became more and more confident.
Dayne has already shown brief flashes of greatness like the beginning of the second half against Michigan State when he ripped off eight straight completions; he just needs to iron out the kinks.
Tommy Rees did a great job filling in, but for the most part his responsibility was to simply manage things and not make mistakes. He didn't show much to lead you to believe he could go out and win a game where the Irish fell behind early and needed to sling the ball.
Crist did a great job leading Notre Dame back against Michigan after the Irish fell behind 21-7 when he went down with an injury. Brian Kelly leaned on his arm and he responded by completing two long touchdowns to take the lead late and almost pulled off a miracle by getting ND in range for a shot at the end zone on the final play.
You don't necessarily want to rely on a quarterback's arm all the time, especially when there's an effective run game to lean on, but when the time calls for a comeback it's nice to have that card to play.