Crist vs. Rees: Who Had the Better Season?

In my previous post below, I took a shot at predicting that Crist would be the starter in ’11. It was mostly based on gut, and my gut is not to be trusted, so I decided to get into the stats and try to determine who REALLY had the better year this season. Was it Crist, who was up and down? Or was it Rees, who was up and down? Was it Crist who won 4 and lost 4 (I count Tulsa as Rees’ game), or was it Rees who went 4-1?




Well, let’s take a look at a few things to sort through it. We’ll look at:

1) QB Stats – what did the guys do?

2) Our Rushing Performance – were either of these QBs helped out by a better running game? A better running game can take the pressure off a QB by forcing the opponents’ D’s to put more guys in the box, opening things up on the outside and downfield. A meaningful difference here could tell a story.

3) Our D Performance – were either of them helped out by a better-performing defense? Similar to the running game, a better defense helps a QB out – it forces the other team’s D back onto the field, provides better field position, and generally helps with momentum.

4) Competition – did one QB face better teams than the other? Fairly obvious, but if one of the guys faced a bunch of tough teams, and the other faced a bunch of patsies, it could skew the story, no?

5) Competition’s Defense – did one QB face better defenses than the other? This is important. (No $&^#)

So, onto the analysis:

1) QB Stats.

Wins and Losses: Crist won 4 games and lost 4. Rees won 4 and lost 1. Clear Winner: Rees

Rating: Crist finished his season with a QB Rating of 129.34. Rees finished with a rating of 132.02. Winner: Rees

Completion Percentage: Crist completed 59.2% of his passes, while Rees completed 61%. Winner: Rees

Yards Per Attempt: Crist’s passes went for 6.92 Yards Per Attempt, while Rees’ were 6.74. Winner: Crist

Int-to-TD Ratio: Crist threw .47 INTs for every TD, and Rees threw .67 INTs per TD. Winner: Crist

Overall, the two guys had fairly similar seasons stats-wise. While Rees edges Crist out in the first few categories, Crist was more productive per pass, and had fewer picks per TD. Some of this was certainly by design, as Crist was given more of the offense and was leaned on to do more than Tommy (especially when Tommy first took over). This would logically mean some safer, easier-to-complete options for Rees, and some more downfield action for Crist. This is born out in the numbers.

While it’s pretty close here, and one could call this a tie, I’d give Rees a bit of an edge in the stats department. He has a slightly better rating, and he was 4-1 vs. Crist’s 4-4.

2) Our Rushing Performance

That said, Rees got a big boost from our running game.

In Crist’s games, ND averaged 30.4 Rushing Attempts per game, and 3.6 yards per carry.

In Rees’ games, ND figured things out and leaned more on the run, rushing 34.2 times per game for 4.5 yards per carry.

This may not seem like a big difference, but it really is. Rees’ rushing offense productivity (Yards per Carry) would have ranked ND 41st in the country. Crist’s? 93rd. Rees was helped out by a much improved Irish running game that was called upon more often, and this most certainly opened things up a bit and took some of the pressure off the young signal caller.

3) Our Defense’s Performance

Dayne Crist’s version of the Irish Defense had the following stats:

Yards/Game: 385.9. This is equivalent to a year-end ranking of 71st in the country.
Rushing Yards/Game: 130.1. This is like finishing the year 30th.
Pass Yards/Game: 255.7. This would have put the team at 108th (!) at the end of the year.

Tommy Rees’ version of the Irish D averaged the following:

Yards/Game: 304.2 This would have been 8th (!) in the country.
Rushing Yards/Game: 118.4 Equivalent to 15th (!) in the country.
Pass Yards/Game: 204.4. 38th in the country.

So, 71st vs 8th, 30th vs 15th, and 108th vs 38th. Yep, pretty clear that the Irish D improved a ton down the stretch and helped Tommy a ton in pulling out some of those W’s.

4) Competition

Using Sagarin’s end of year rankings, Crist faced a schedule that averaged a final ranking of 52.7. Rees faced teams that collectively ranked 39.2. So, Tommy faced a tougher set of teams overall.


5) Competition’s Defense

the defenses on those teams were weaker.

Dayne Crist played against teams that averaged 44.9 in Scoring Defense Rank and 47.1 in Total Defense Rank. Tommy Rees played against defenses that ranked 50.6 and 54.0 in those categories respectively.


Overall, these two players had pretty similar performances stats-wise. Rees edges out Crist in a few key categories, and played against an overall more difficult schedule.

But Crist was more productive against a tougher set of defenses, and wasn’t helped out by the Irish Running Game or Defense the way that Rees was.

Given the results here, one could still argue either way, but I’m tempted to stick with Crist as my prediction for Fall 2011 Starting QB (to clarify, this isn’t me ‘rooting’ for him over Tommy, it’s just what I think will happen) assuming that his rehab goes well and he’s 100% back by the end of Spring. If Crist had the Irish D that Rees had there at the end of the year, we easily win the Michigan and MSU games, and the Navy game is nothing like what we saw. That said, it really does seem like a bit of a toss-up, and I’m sure it will be an interesting battle in the Spring, especially with Hendrix and Golson throwing some Wild Card action in the mix (now that Montana is officially off to Montana).

Who do you think will win the battle?

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  • SDI

    Crist if he’s healthy.

    • DJ

      He hasn’t been for the past two seasons; no reason to think that it’ll be any different in 2011.

  • SDI

    And I hope Golson red shirts. He’s 175 soaking wet. Get him on the Longo Plan, and get him acclimated to ND and the offensive system before you throw him to the wolves. ND will be just fine with either Crist or Rees at QB and Golson doesn’t really add that much to the equation because he’s not really a running QB. He has escapability, but he’s not so different from the other QBs that defensives will need to take time to scheme up plans to contain him.

    • theIrishLion10

      I disagree with that, Crist and Rees are nowhere near as mobile as Golson. They can move in the pocket well, but Golson actually knows how to run in the open field (just judging from highlight film). Crist doesn’t know how to run in the open field yet (see: sketchy injury vs Michigan/Tulsa where he runs straight up and just lets defenders plow him), and Rees is not a mobile threat at all except for maybe scrambling for 5 yards on occasion

      • SDI

        I didn’t say he wasn’t a better runner, clearly he is. But they would run the same basic offense if he was playing QB. The only difference from a defensive standpoint was that the defensive end would have to slow down somewhat and honor the play fake on the read option. But I think BK would be crazy to install or call a bunch of QB running plays with a 175 qb because he would get really beat up. And if you aren’t going to call a bunch of QB runs, then the offense is not all that different and defensive coordinators would not be forced to develop new defensive schemes. You would gain something from improvisational runs, but you would lose something in terms of his overall understanding of the offense. I don’t think the potential benefits would outweigh the negatives including the risk of injury.

        • The Biscuit

          I am hoping and guessing he RS’s. I just think BK is all about building a program and one way to do that is to have mature, experienced, older guys starting.

        • theIrishLion10

          I hope he redshirts as well, just saying that I believe defenses will be forced to gameplan for the QB run once he does step in. Collaros at UC stepped in for Pike in BK’s final year, and defenses weren’t prepared to stop his running ability. They got destroyed by his legs, and once they adjusted, the pass opened back up for the offense. I dont see why Kelly would change what worked with his “running” QB at Cincy. I know Golson is only 175 and injuries are a concern, but Collaros isn’t huge either. It really does just depend on how much bulk he can add and how long he sits before playing

          • SDI

            Collaros is listed at 6-1 215. He was listed at 6-1 193 as a recruit. And he didn’t play as a true freshman.

  • Nate

    I think Rees can beat out Crist. If he adds moderate to significant strength in the offseason, he’ll close the athleticism gap and perhaps muster up some more arm strength. He already looked more comfortable in the pocket as a true freshman than Crist looked as a redshirt junior.

    I suppose it all comes down to which of them makes a bigger jump in their respective weaknesses; grasp and comfort in the offense for Crist and strength and athleticism for Rees.

    That said, I think Rees will have a hard time holding on to the job after Dayne graduates. Hendrix is supposed to be a great athlete with an amazing arm and from what I’ve seen of Golson, he looks to have so much feel and savvy that, once he’s physically ready, he could leapfrog all of them and be a four-year starter.

    • Erik ’04

      I’m not sure I see the knock on Reese’ arm strength. He made way better throws across the field to his left than Crist did, and he was able to hit Eifert for some big gains downfield. What is he lacking?

      • The Biscuit

        The Gun Show.

      • Buzz

        I agree, Rees arm strength was good enough to complete almost all passes. He doesnt quite throw the deep ball as well as Crist but he is way more efficient passer.

        Think of how many balls Crist would throw in the dirt per game, at least 3 I think? Also Crist had erratic throws that would give a receiver zero chance to catch a ball. These seemed to happen at key times also.

        I think if you just look at numbers, you will be mislead. Rees is more efficient at distributing the ball IMO.

        • Nate

          I agree, Rees has a much quicker release and is much, much more accurate than Crist. He can’t sling the deep ball or stretch the field with his arm strength, but he’s solid.

          What I was picturing when I said that Rees needs to “muscle-up” is his throw to Floyd at the end of the Tulsa game. He threw it off-balance and off of one foot. If he has more strength, he muscles that ball down the field regardless of those poor mechanics, it arrives a half-foot higher or a half-second faster and he’s carried off the field after the Irish win on such a ballsy, improbable play.

    • DJ

      Rees has the “moxie”, Crist would be fine if no one ever tackled him.

  • Brad

    I would say Crist if he’s healthy….but I have sincere doubts that he will be.

    My gut says that Hendrix is going to be given every opportunity to win the starting role, and his mobility and physical tools allow him to do that this Spring while Crist sits on the sidelines.

    That isn’t what I want to happen, I just feel like that IS what is going to happen.

    • http://NDNation Jude

      I agree that Hendrix will have a true opportunity to win the job. As much as Crist and Rees have the advantage of experience, Hendrix has the physical tools that make him a better fit for Kelly.

      As between Rees and Crist, one thing that wasn’t discussed is Rees’ release. He is much quicker than Crist at getting the pass off and the reason I’d give Rees the nod going into Spring Practice.

      The thing I’m most confident about is that Kelly will make the offense work with whoever is chosen as #1. Go Irish!!!

  • bill

    I’ll say Crist, if he’s healthy, otherwise Rees. However, unlike last year, I wouldn’t have a big problem if any of the four started. I have enough confidence in Crist and Rees that either one would be fine with me and if Hendrix or Golson passed them up, that means that they would have to be playing pretty well. Unlike last year, I am not worried about quarterback this year and I think it will make a world of difference in how the offense operates. We won’t have to hold back on running plays because we are worried that our starter might get hurt and we have no good option to back him up, as was the case at the beginning of the year (compare Rees vs. Michigan to Rees vs. Tulsa). By opening up the QB play so that we can run the read option, that will open up the running game, which will open up the passing game, which will make the whole offense better. I think you will see the type of improvement in the offense in 2011 that you saw in the defense in 2010.


    In general one large reason for Rees looking and being more comfotable in the offense, was the rest of the team being more comfortable. We won’t know how much better Crist may have played the last 4 1/2 games but, you have to assume with the team playing better, he would have also. I like Dayne’s chances to win the starter’s job this fall.
    Golson difference making skill isn’t so much his running ability. It’s his escape ability. This ability may seperate him from the pack or maybe get him some early playing time. The player I might compare him to at this time would be Doug Flutie.

    • The Biscuit

      I agree with that first thought. I think Dayne was trying to pull a team along, and I think Rees had a team carrying him.

  • TXIrish2

    I think if Crist and Rees perform equally well in Spring Practice, Crist will start. That said, he is an injury risk, and I think related to that, he’s scared to run now. It would be great to have a QB who is a real threat to run, but I expect Rees will still be the #2 starter. Both of them are game-tested and probably have at least a good a handle on the offense as Hendrix, and especially Golson.

    By the way thanks for posting. Waiting for spring practice to start is like the Horse Latitudes of college football.

  • tjak

    I do not wish to offend anyone, including the young men who are vying for one of the most prestigious positions in all of sport, but I want the guy who will win ad bring us a National Championship. I trust Coach Kelly to know who that will be. I am not cheering for or against anyone; I want the player who will get the job done. If freshman Golson is the guy so be it. If I had to pick who would be the guy against South Florida, I guess I would put the chips behind Crist’s name.

  • theIrishLion10

    yeah, disclaimer, whoever wins will be the obvious best choice, and we will undoubtedly have one of if not the best backup QB in the nation, regardless of who starts. I’m not saying I’m anti Crist (alarmingly similar to anti-Christ), I just think Rees is being prematurely overlooked according to depth chart predictions already

  • Nate

    Wow, another Nate showed up on the board. Sweet name.

    Bottom line, I don’t care who wins. Whoever it is, I’m fairly confident it will be whomever gives us the best chance to win. It won’t be so that he can install a gimmick offense for the first game, or because he recruited a golden boy who has to be played. Kelly’s track record is that he succeeds with anybody he plays at QB. My personal feeling is that I like Rees, because he WON. I was getting the feeling during the season that Crist wasn’t getting the offense. But, if it’s Crist, then I’ll be confident (if a little hopeful) that he’s gotten it after another year and gives the best chance to win. If it’s Rees, I’m comfortable with that. If is Hendrix, then I’ll be excited to see him. If Gholson, well, who knows. But it doesn’t matter, because the key to this team is our defense, and anybody we play at QB will do better with the defensive backup we got in the 2nd half of the season.

    • The Biscuit

      See that’s why I wrote the post. It’s clear from the stats that they “got” it about the same. And Crist didn’t have the run game or the D to help him win.

    • theIrishLion10

      if Hendrix or Golson win the job, then is it time to get really excited about the offense’s potential? That means someone with no game experience is surpassing veterans who have shown what can be accomplished, and that would be a big deal to me since BK knows his QBs

  • Miller

    I believe the team played better under rees because of the offensive play calling. BK called more run plays to help take pressure off the QB, which helped us control the clock. Resulting in our defense playing many less minutes, and our defense in those last 4 games was amazing because they werent on the field 70% of the game.

  • Whiskeyjack

    It goes without saying that the QB who gives us the best chance to win should play. Rooting for any other QB is just stupid.

    Earlier comments have hit it on the head: Kelly asked Crist to step up and win games with his arm, while Kelly asked Rees to *manage* games while the rest of the team stepped up. The run/pass split and defensive stats show the real picture.

    Another year under Longo should improve Rees’ athleticism to some degree, but arm strength and mobility can’t really be taught. Opposing defenses have to respect Crist’s deep ball and his scramble, which are big schematic advantages.

    • http://NDNation Jude

      Good points, but I’m going to be picky and say that Crist doesn’t “scramble.” He’ll run, but he’s not evasive. Unfortunately, Crist thinks that he is Jerome Bettis and doesn’t know how to hit the ground. The hit that injured him wasn’t the first time he tried to take on a defender that was bigger. I hope he uses his smarts next season, instead of his head when confronted on the run.

      That said, I’m a big fan of all these QBs and look forward to some great competition among them. Let the best man win!

  • Trey

    I would like to see the breakdown in those passing stats a bit more. Crist may have had more yd/att(i think we all agree crist has the better arm so that makes sense) but what are his numbers in passes 0-5 yds, 6-15, 15+? im willing to bet crist has more att 15+, but Tommy will be more effective in the mid-range. I think thats my biggeat knock on Dayne, yea, he has a cannon arm but too many times he used the cannon where a little touch was needed. I remember too many crossing routes targeting the ND band.

  • stewvee

    Rees with a bullet. He may have thrown a a few picks here n there but he beat Utah and USC. Confident, patient in the pocket. Scrappy. Energetic. I love this kid.

    Crist makes me wicked nervous. Always has. He’s a good guy yada yada yada… but I don’t want him at QB.

    • Ted

      I tip my hat to Rees for the way he came in as a true freshman and performed. But to be fair, HE didn’t beat USC. In fact, other than one little stretch near the end of the first half, he was actually pretty poor. What won the SC game was an amazing performance by the defense and an underrated senior by the name of Robert Hughes.

      Not many people are saying much about Andrew Hendrix but, from all accounts, he’s a force to be reckoned with. Rees has more familiarity with the system (due to early enrollment) so it made sense that Kelly would go to him first when Crist went down. But it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see Hendrix beat him out for the primary backup spot – or even eventually contend to start.

  • Pat


    Also, I’m not saying Hendrix will win the job this year, but Kelly last year went out of his way to say good things about him. And he’s a guy that can actually run the spread the way it is supposed to be run. I think he could have a really interesting future at Notre Dame.

  • canuck75

    What a competition! I just hope they can truly be tested, because practice is so much different than games. (Remember all the hype that Brantley was actually a better passer than Tebow!)
    Reese can certainly do it, but it reminds me too much of Matt Lovechio-all he did was win too, but it didnt keep him the job.
    Coach K will earn his money on this call, then has to keep 2 of them happy.

  • Indy

    whoever starts, I think you will see the offense expect more from the QB on the ground knowing there is depth at the position. I guess Christ with more option/keepers.

  • http://ohioirish1 Greg Foust

    There have been some really posts here…..I would add: 1].All four young men have strengths and weaknesses and are all evolving and will grow & develop like crazy under excellent coaching. 2] There is no substitute for game experience…..that is where you really get “galvanized”. 3] Kelly will go with whomever gives us the best chance of winning…..period! 4]Because game experience is so critical….Crist will probably start if healthy….I just think that he has more tools. However, since no one is that evolved…..and all are still developing……I wouldn’t be at all surprised if all four guys played at some point in 2011. I really think Hendrix will see playing time and I think Golson will too!
    Kelly has said over and over that what he is looking in a QB is the guy with the best set of tools but also the who can EXTEND the play…..always looking down field for who comes open……this IS
    Kelly’s offense! And whoever gives us the best combination of those qualities will be the #1 QB going forward…with at least two guys battling like hell right behind him! I feel pretty comfortable letting it all play out.

  • Mouth

    Biscuit and Whiskeyjack nailed it.

    SDI, Kelly said during his NSD press conference that we run a certain offense with crist, rees and Hendrix, but that with Golson, we can go full spread. He’s not a running QB, but he just brings a level of athleticism to the position that crist, rees and Hendrix lack. And he throws even better than he runs. All that said, I hope we can redshirt him.

    And I hope he redshirts

    • Ted

      Not sure Hendrix is all that lacking. But we’ll see once we get a chance to see him.

  • Andrew

    There is no question this team performed better with rees at QB. Rees understands the spread better while Crist seemed confused quite a bit. Coach Kelly likes Rees’ knowledge of the game and my gut tells me that Rees will start next year.

    I disagree with Rees getting credited with the Tulsa game. I can see it not being included for either QB but it has to be credited to Crist. The reason the starters get credited is because they get nearly all the first-team reps leading up to the game.

    • The Biscuit

      Sorry bud, look at the stats. Rees played that game, Crist didn’t. Heck, I am being unfair to Crist by putting UM on him. Ge playe well that game and Rees was a key reason for the loss. Tulsa was Timmy’s game. Look at the stat lines.

      • The Biscuit

        Ge? Timmy? I hate typing on my iphone.

      • Buzz

        The one knock I have on Dane Crist is his inability to read defenses. He was so confused most of the time steeping up to the line of scrimmage, it would take him way to long to run a play.

        Our up tempo offense was practically non existent when Crist was QB. If Crist is named starter he needs to improve on that big time.

        • SDI

          I’m not sure about this. One of ND’s opponents–Pitt or BC maybe–was saying that the pace of ND’s offense was an important factor in ND winning. I think Crist was very fast and played well at times. He also played poorly–Stanford and Navy for example–it was a mixed bag with him.

          • Ted

            Not only that but it isn’t like Rees stepped in there and started picking apart the D like Peyton Manning or something. In fact, do you remember those goofy cards they were holdling up on the sidelines? Effectively, the coaching staff was reading the D for him.

            And as for up tempo offense, they did MUCH more of that with Crist than Rees. Frankly, I’m not sure what game Buzz was watching.

            Don’t get me wrong — Rees played well at times in a tough situation, but there is a lot of revisionism going on here.

          • Buzz

            The cards were simply to disguise the play calls going in. You are making something out of nothing. The cards were an idea to disguise the playcalls because Kelly believed the hand signals were compromised.

            I have watched the same games as you, I just see something different than you is all.

            Crist was very fast when he faced vanilla defenses that couldnt play multiple fronts. Your whole comment lacks proper perpesctive in my opinion.

            And defense Crist faced that could play multiple fronts he was totally lost, Rees did s much better job of facing teams who played these fronts.

          • The Biscuit

            Buzz, genuine question: which defenses that Rees faced played multiple fronts? Which did Crist play against?

          • The Biscuit

            Andrew, buddy, you’re nuts. I understand why the official record books are the way they are. But we’re talking about evidence of performance here. It’s for very practical matters. And the FACT is that against Tulsa Rees played almost the entire game and threw 54 pass attempts. 54. Crist played barely at all, and only threw the ball 2 times. TWO.

            Go ahead and pretend like that doesn’t matter. You’re right, Dayne Crist’s 2-pass performance against Tulsa makes that game his game. CRIST, WHY DID YOU THROW THOSE 2 PASSES! YOU COST US THE GAME! GEEZ, WHAT ARE YOU THINKING? ‘I’m on the bench, coach, I’m hurt’ DOESNT MATTER YOU IDIOT, YOU BLEW IT.

            Yep, you’re totally right. Crist threw the pick at the end of the game to give ND the Loss. He made the wrong read and threw the ball wrong. Yep, definitely. All on Crist. 100%.

            I don’t have a horse in this race, I just like ND football and call it like I see it. If you don’t like it, don’t read. I welcome argument, ask anybody regular on the site. But when you start using ‘unbiased’ in quotes acting like I’m slanting things when I specifically (and very clearly) am not, you’re needlessly jerking me around. And I don’t think that’s necessary, and it’s certainly not helpful, and it doesn’t add to the discussion.

      • Andrew

        Have to disagree with you. TR got about 10-20% of first-team game prep going into Tulsa – that’s why “starting” QB’s get the loss or win regardless of how many plays they play. You can argue til the cows come home BUT you are wrong – plain and simple.

        And, for the record, DC was credited the loss in every official record book – maybe you should tell them they are wrong, too.

        • Andrew

          Furthermore, your argument against official records only discredits your “unbiased” use of official records in this article.

          • The Biscuit

            And since you’re into furthermore’s…

            How does your logic work? Crist got 70-80% of practice reps and 3.6% (2/56) of the game reps. Rees got 20-30% of the practice reps and 96.4% of the game reps. And somehow you come out with Crist being responsible for the win or loss? Yep, that’s logical.

        • The Biscuit

          Andrew, buddy, you’re nuts. I understand why the official record books are the way they are. But we’re talking about evidence of performance here. It’s for very practical matters. And the FACT is that against Tulsa Rees played almost the entire game and threw 54 pass attempts. 54. Crist played barely at all, and only threw the ball 2 times. TWO.

          Go ahead and pretend like that doesn’t matter. You’re right, Dayne Crist’s 2-pass performance against Tulsa makes that game his game. CRIST, WHY DID YOU THROW THOSE 2 PASSES! YOU COST US THE GAME! GEEZ, WHAT ARE YOU THINKING? ‘I’m on the bench, coach, I’m hurt’ DOESNT MATTER YOU IDIOT, YOU BLEW IT.

          Yep, you’re totally right. Crist threw the pick at the end of the game to give ND the Loss. He made the wrong read and threw the ball wrong. Yep, definitely. All on Crist. 100%.

          I don’t have a horse in this race, I just like ND football and call it like I see it. If you don’t like it, don’t read. I welcome argument, ask anybody regular on the site. But when you start using ‘unbiased’ in quotes acting like I’m slanting things when I specifically (and very clearly) am not, you’re needlessly jerking me around. And I don’t think that’s necessary, and it’s certainly not helpful, and it doesn’t add to the discussion.

          • The Biscuit

            Wow, you have no ability to use reason whatsoever. There is a difference between record books and who is to blame. I understand that someone could see that differently, I don’t agree with it, but I can see it. But calling me a liar gets you nuked.

  • kyndfan

    I’m going with the wildcard, Hendrix. Niether qb last year had that ‘it’ factor. Hopefully Hendrix’s athleticism helps him rise to the top after a year in the system.

    • SDI

      I’m really excited about Hendrix and would love to see what he can do. It just seems awful risky to me, and would put him under a lot of unnecessary pressure to start over two more experienced QBs in Rees and Crist. And with the defense that I think ND will field, the safe option might be a better choice.

  • Terry

    Rees was a bit lost, but he is not a loser like Crist. Crist would have people wide open running down the field, and just not move his head and find them, he would get tense and take series off. He is not a winner and on top of that he is injury prone! We’ll see how much Rees improves, but he definitely has more poise that Crist, who can’t win a close game, and does not lead the troops. ND has not had a real winner at QB since McDougal.

    • SDI

      He had the Michigan game won until the D caved. He also had the Michigan State game won until the special teams fell down. He played well against BC, Pitt, Western Michigan, and Tulsa until he got hurt. He looked awful against Navy, and not good against Stanford, but Stanford was a solid D and Kelly admitted he didn’t prepare Crist to face them. Crist has a lot to prove, but he’s not a loser.

      • DeepTeaKup

        Correction, UM game won until Denard happened.

        • The Biscuit

          Correction. Had the game won til he went out hurt am our backups gave away 17 points. Crist stays in and we win handily. You will see this fall.

          • Ted

            That’s right. The first series of that game Crist led us right down the field for a score, but got hurt and missed the rest of the half — at which point our offense could do nothing for the rest of the half (except throw interceptions and incompletions. Essentially we spotted them a quarter and a half, then still came back to take the lead in the final minutes — a lead that our defense couldn’t hold.

          • DeepTeaKup

            Care to be on that?

          • DeepTeaKup

            Care to bet on that?

          • The Biscuit

            Of course we’ll bet on it. It’s now annual tradition.

        • SDI

          Good Denard plus shoddy ND D = Loss for Irish.
          Neither of those are Crist’s fault.

    • The Biscuit

      This is a completely unfair assessment that doesn’t take any facts (please read the post) into consideration. How a 5-star kid that everyone loves is a ‘loser’ is beyond me. The only thing accurate you said was ‘injury prone’.

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  • Mark G

    Even if Rees never plays another down, which I think very unlikely, he will always be a hero to me. If for no other reason, he will go down in the annals of ND football lore because of the following numbers:

    20 to 16.

    Warms my heart just looking at those numbers again. As the puppets said, it is morning at Notre Dame again.

  • Brad_Chicago

    Here is my guess.

    I think Rees starts not because he is so much better than Crist. More because it is a push and why would you rush Crist back if you can give him 3 or 4 extra weeks to heal up? Hendrix hopefully will get some playing time in mop up. (This may be wishful thinking I cannot remember our schedule off the top of my head) Now you have 3 legit starters ready to roll. This is beginning to sound like a real BK team.

    Then in week 4 or 5 depending on how well the team is doing you ask Crist to step in and help out or if the team is rolling you ask him to back up for the sake of continuity for the team.

    Of course I don’t know how this will play out but…It could happen.

  • Jeremy

    The advantage Rees has is that, as Kelly pointed out last year, he came from a spread offense in HS so he understands the principles already – even with that, however, Kelly did not think he gave us a better chance to win than Crist who had no experience in the spread. To second Biscuit’s and some other comments, the whole time Crist was QB I kept thinking “get it done”; when Rees was QB I kept thinking “don’t screw it up”. Remember also that Riddick didn’t play well in the slot until the MSU game and then he got injured – the players on both sides of the ball were adjusting to new schemes and in some cases new positions.

    I don’t think the biggest difference was Rees or even our defense specifically. It was during the bye week, the team got refocused and finally bought in to playing as a team. I think they went from “Crist help us out” mode to “we need to help Rees out so he doesn’t get killed”. Overall, given the change in the team’s attitude during the bye week, I think you give that same help to Crist and I don’t think the USC game is nearly as close. Army, Utah, and Miami may have been somewhat similar outcomes thanks to our defense and special teams.

    I predict Crist (assuming he is healthy), Hendrix, then Rees.

  • theIrishLion10

    Crist’s durability just scares me. He seems to be a bit “fragile.” And that is not an insult, it’s just a fact that some athletes are injury prone. Bob Sanders, anyone?

    • SDI

      He’s had four major injuries (two in high school two in college). At the very least he has had bad luck. But that is why a lot of this discussion is academic. Given BK’s track record (and Crist’s injuries) chances are both Crist and Rees and maybe Hendrix or Golson will need to be ready to contribute this year.

      • SDI

        and will get the chance to show what they can do on the field.

    • The Biscuit

      Yep, just a fact. I think this will limit him more than his ability in the long run. NFL guys know his history – and that’s going to be tough for him to overcome.

      • theIrishLion10

        how non-surprising would it be for Crist to start and be anywhere from “mediocre” to “good” in BK’s spread, and then go to the NFL and be an absolute stud in the pro-style?

        • The Biscuit

          Definitely more natural for him. But I think if he’s a gamer he’ll have a breakout season this year, regardless of system.