Irish quarterbacks speak for first time about open competition

The Irish football team held its 3rd practice of the spring on Saturday afternoon and the first with pads on.

It was also the first time the media got to talk to the four quarterbacks who are vying to be the starting QB this fall.

Before we could hear from the contender, we were given pregame instructions from Coach Brian Kelly.

Coach said, "So when you get the four quarterbacks here, please don't ask them anything other than, ‘Do you enjoy being the quarterback at Notre Dame?’ Not the starter."

We start with the man who has made 16 starts in his career: Tommy Rees. He's gone through this type of open competition before, but he says this is different than last year when he was battling with Dayne Crist.

Rees says, "Just being the guy with the most experience. With Dayne last year, he was the upperclassman. He was the guy I looked up to. Now, kind of switching that role and trying to help the younger guys and trying to be that the older guy in the room trying to help everyone out."

The only other player to gain playing time a year ago was Andrew Hendrix. Like Rees, Hendrix is a junior, and he's confident he can win this job.

Hendrix says, "Every guy thinks he's the best. If you don't think you're the best, you probably should not come to practice. You have to have confidence in your ability if you want to be the starter at Notre Dame."

Everett Golson hasn't even played in a game at Notre Dame, let alone started one. However, he has all the tools to be a perfect spread quarterback for Brian Kelly. No game experience? No problem. Coach Kelly makes up for that when Golson makes a mistake.

Golson says, "In the game, you have the effect of the crowd and the pressure of the game on you. I think Coach Kelly does a great job of simulating that in practice, so that when we get to game time, it's much easier to handle."

Then, there's early enrollee Gunner Kiel. Kiel is the tallest of the group and the least experienced. Kiel admits learning the playbook has been rather overwhelming.

He says, “The terms definitely have been unreal. Just getting down the concepts and knowing where everyone is going to be, the speed is just crazy fast right now. It’s difficult’ but with time, everything will start to slow down.”

Coach Kelly also said that Cierre Wood sat out most of practice on Saturday with a tweak in his quad. He should be fine. Wideout DaVaris Daniels also sat out with a leg injury. He is expected back on Wednesday.

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