Notre Dame Fighting Irish: Could A 2-Quarterback System Work?

By Anthony Murphy
Hendrix Rees
Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish debuted a new wrinkle in their offense against the Oklahoma Sooners, as they deployed Andrew Hendrix into the game to take regular offensive snaps.

Hendrix is known more as a runner with a strong arm, yet unpolished as shown by his 17 percent completion rate so far this season. He was brought in to be a Tim Tebow-type player, which worked in some instances. Brought in mainly to run the read-option, Hendrix only ran for 10 yards on five carries, but his presence out there was enough for the Sooners to change up their personnel to get more athletes on the field, creating the opportunity to try and run the ball inside.

The Notre Dame running backs were able to run effectively when they were given the ball on the read-option, but with the Irish trailing from the get-go, they weren’t able to stick with the system.

Instead they had to turn to their regular quarterback Tommy Rees who has now failed to complete at least 50 percent of his passes in consecutive games for the first time in his career at Notre Dame.

Rees provides little-to-no running ability, so the read-option is thrown out the window the minute he steps onto the field, so that again limits your offense to screens and intermediate passes as Rees has also shown a sub-par arm and accuracy on his deep passes.

For how bad Rees has looked in passing the ball, a switch seems unlikely to Hendrix as he would almost present the same problem.

So, could rotating the two quarterbacks on a full-time basis be in the best interest for the Notre Dame football team? Chris Leak and Tebow did so with the Florida Gators during their National Championship season, showing that there is precedent for success using the system.

Now neither Rees or Hendrix are the passer Leak was or the runner Tebow was, but they can be effective enough at what they do to allow the offense to succeed. Running the offense the way they did almost worked, but with the unfortunate beginning to the game, this really wasn’t a great week to evaluate how well it worked.

If given the right situation, there is no reason to believe that utilizing the skill sets of both quarterbacks would not be in the best for Notre Dame, and is something the Irish should try and continue going into their game against the Arizona State Sun Devils.

Anthony Murphy is a contributing writer for You can follow him on Twitter, like him on Facebook or add him to your circle on Google.

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