There isn’t any question about it. Dayne Crist will be the starting quarterback as the Irish enter the 2010 season. The only question involving Crist was on how he would recover from his season-ending ACL injury, and Crist has responded well.
Crist enters the 2010 season as the most experienced Notre Dame quarterback. He played in four games, and finished 10-20 for 130 yards, including one touchdown and one interception.
The departure of Jimmy Clausen left a huge whole at quarterback, but the highly touted Crist has always unofficially been the successor of Clausen. With Clausen leaving one year early, Crist’s tenure as Notre Dame’s starting quarterback will begin early.
As the starter, Crist will have a plethora of weapons. Among those weapons are potential All-American targets, WR Michael Floyd and TE Kyle Rudolph, who were key pieces of Jimmy Clausen’s success.
The other weapons Crist has to choose from include 6’5 senior WR Duval Kumara, sophomores Deion Walker and Shaquelle Evans, and potential impact freshman Tai-ler Jones and Austin Collinsworth.
However, the greatest weapon Crist will have is a strong running game. New head coach Brian Kelly has said that he would like to run the football.
If Kelly lives up to his word, the ND offense will be multi-dimensional for the first time in a while, and that is definitely good news for Crist and the Irish.
Notre Dame returns no experience at quarterback after Crist. The Irish have four other quarterbacks on the depth chart, and only one of those players is a returning player to the program.
The Irish return just one upperclassman at quarterback. He is Nate Montana, the son of legendary quarterback Joe Montana.
Montana has yet to play a down in a Notre Dame uniform, but Nate helped make a name for himself during the Notre Dame Blue-Gold game. Montana threw for 223 yards and three touchdowns, and led his team to victory.
If his number was ever called upon, Montana could give the Notre Dame offense a spark.
The Irish lost two quarterbacks after the 2009 season (Clausen and Evan Sharpley), so new coach Brian Kelly was quick to replace them. Kelly signed three recruits at QB. Luke Massa (Cincinnati, OH), Tommy Rees (Lake Forest, IL), and Andrew Hendrix (Cincinnati, OH).
Each of the true freshmen brings size and a strong arm to the quarterback position. Kelly has yet to announce any plans to redshirt any of the freshman quarterbacks, but any of these guys have the chance to play in 2010 if needed.
Quarterback has the potential to be a strong point of Brian Kelly’s offense. At Cincinnati, Kelly helped develop QB Tony Pike into a superstar, and helped make backup Zach Collaros into a very good starter for the future.
Kelly’s new assignment is to make Dayne Crist into a great quarterback. That job will start on September 4th against Purdue.
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