Remember when Dayne Crist came into South Bend as the heir apparent to then starter Jimmy Clausen?
While getting his fair share of opportunities, the Californian product has shown flashes of brilliance yet has had a lingering problem with inconsistency.
A couple of frustrating knee injuries later, along with some inconsistent showings as the starting quarterback for the Irish, Crist has found a familiar spot on the sideline. A spot where no upperclassmen quarterback ever wishes to be.
Putting the recruiting rankings and potential aside, just how many chances are enough for Crist?
Brian Kelly may not need to address that pressing question just yet. But in a scenario that current starter Tommy Rees continues his turnover issues, another change may be made at the starter position.
As of now, there isn't much debate as to which upperclassmen signal-caller gets the nod when playing winning football. Rees has shown, both this and last year, that he can win against the best competition on the slate. Dating back to his freshmen campaign, the true sophomore has knocked off three ranked teams—Utah, USC, and now Michigan State.
His numbers and turnover ratio will most likely never rank near the top in the nation. Yet he brings something to South Bend that both Clausen and Crist haven't—victories.
Just how good could this Irish team be with led by a Dayne Crist in top form? As most Irish fans would agree, the redshirt-senior possesses a higher ceiling than Rees. His frame, skill-set,and arm strength alone scream star potential. With a healthy and mistake-free Crist, in addition to a backfield in Cierre Wood and Jonas Gray that has impressed the nation thus far, the Irish may still be able to reach that BCS bowl they had hoped for.
Kelly can't afford to wait any longer for that potential to finally be achieved. With a Rees-led victory against a tough Spartan team last week, the sophomore must have gained some trust from Kelly.
For now, Dayne Crist belongs on the sideline serving as a supporting mentor to the youngster who beat him out of the most high-profile college position out there. If Rees fails to deliver the wins that have got him this job in the first place, we may have to reconsider that role for Crist.
Even then, Kelly has other options as well. Many seem to forget the two extremely talented
quarterbacks waiting anxiously waiting to step on the field. Everett Golson has impressed in practice and looks to be the third quarterback on the depth chart. He has been seen warming up and practicing ahead of sophomore Andrew Hendrix at times.
Hendrix, named the Blue and Gold game's MVP, presents another threat to score the football through the air or on the ground.
For now, this is Tommy Rees' team. If he continues to bring big wins home to South Bend no one can take that away from him—turnovers or not.
Crist can only do one thing, in the time being, in hoping for a last saving chance. It's his turn wait it out again, just as he did behind Clausen.
Say Rees does by chance to lose the next few football games. Kelly may not even give his senior quarterback an opportunity considering the promising younger talents. That nod may go to the flashier and younger Golson.
The tough part is Crist is one of those kids you can't dislike. No one wants to see him out of a job. His leadership skills and maturity skills are some of the strongest on the team. Even if it is tough to admit, Dayne Crist may have already gotten his final chance as the starting quarterback for the Fighting Irish.
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