Notre Dame football: Will Irish QB mix throw USC a curve?
Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly revealed Wednesday that package of plays for sophomore Andrew Hendrix is expanding.
“We try to add as much as we believe he can handle,” said Kelly, who likely will unleash both him and starter Tommy Rees Saturday night against USC and the nation’s 56th-ranked defense Saturday night at Notre Dame Stadium.
“At the same time, we don’t want to be the same (as Rees’ plays) when he’s in there. We don’t want to duplicate. We want you to defend all the versions of our offense.”
Hendrix made his collegiate debut Oct. 8 against Air Force, rushing for 111 yards on six carries and thus becoming the first ND QB to crack triple digits in rushing in 10 years.
His 78-yard run in the 59-33 drubbing of the Falcons fell one yard short of Bill Etter’s 42-year-old school record. He also completed all four of his passes for 33 yards.
Overall, the Irish amassed 560 yards with Rees and Hendrix sharing the wheel - the most put up by ND since Halloween night 2009 in San Antonio, Texas, against Washington State.
Kelly consulted with former Florida coach Urban Meyer about the tag-team quarterback concept last spring. Meyer used it with great success during the Gators’ 2006 national title run.
With then-freshman Tim Tebow mixing in with incumbent starter Chris Leak, Florida improved from 35th to 14th nationally in team passing efficiency, 61st to 19th in total offense and 49th to 23rd in scoring offense from 2005 to ’06.
Kelly is counting on Hendrix to add some octane to an Irish offense that’s already 22nd in the country in total yards per game.
“Andrew has continued to grow,” Kelly assessed of Hendrix’s performance in practice the past week and a half. “I think when you get that first taste of success, you want more. I’m really pleased with his development.”
The new gold standard
Kelly still won’t blab about whether Notre Dame will wear green jerseys Saturday night against the Trojans, but he did talk game-day fashion Wednesday.
It’s all about the helmets. Truer gold helmets. Shinier gold helmets, which he showed off to the media.
“(Athletic director) Jack (Swarbrick) and I have been frustrated with the color of the helmet,” Kelly said. “We got Ryan Grooms, our equipment manager, who has been diligent in getting this put together. We feel like we finally got the gold the right way.
“It’s not olive. It’s not those different shades that we’ve seen over the years. We wanted it to be (like) the Golden Dome. That’s the representation to me.”
The tradition of having 23.9-karat gold flakes in the paint continues. The tradition of the managers doing the painting will end this week.
The new helmets will be adorned with a tribute to former ND manager and intern Xavier Murphy for the rest of the season.