QB play biggest issue going into spring

February, 16, 2012
2/16/12
7:57
PM CT
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Brian Kelly has not exactly seen a Brian Kelly offense so far.

Sure, there have been 50-point showings here and there, but several obstacles -- inconsistent quarterback play chief among them -- have kept the offensive guru hungry heading into his third year at Notre Dame.

"We certainly have not had the success that we want offensively," Kelly said. "But I would say more importantly the consistency. I think we've shown signs of it, we haven't been able to do it consistently. And that's really why we're an 8-5 football team. We've been inconsistent as a football team. And so I think we have not got to where we wanna be, we're not even really close to where I wanna be. That's why we had the movement that we did on the offensive side of the ball."

[+] EnlargeNotre Dame's Chuck Martin
AP Photo/Joe RaymondChuck Martin is moving from safeties coach to offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
The biggest movement is Chuck Martin's switch from safeties coach to offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Odd as the move may be, it does not mark unfamiliar territory for Martin, who was in charge of the offense as head coach of Grand Valley State from 2004-09.

The situation in front of him now, however, is likely more complicated, as he is tasked with sorting through four quarterbacks and handing over the car keys of the offense to the man who can elevate the Irish to the next level following consecutive 8-5 seasons.

Maybe it's junior Tommy Rees, 12-4 as a starter through nearly two seasons. Or junior Andrew Hendrix, who showed flashes of potential in spot duty last season, but never earned extended playing time.

Everett Golson's redshirt season naturally made him the most popular choice among clamoring fans. And early enrollee Gunner Kiel, a prized prospect from Columbus, Ind., has been deemed the biggest recruit the Irish have landed thus far in the Kelly era.

"When you have the CEO, and he still has a major hand in what you're doing, well he's relying on not only me as a coordinator but all the other pieces he put in place on offense to teach his systems at the highest level," Martin said. "And the proof is what happens on Saturday. How well you play on Saturday is how well the kids understand what we're doing, and being consistent for 13 weeks, it's difficult, but it needs to get done if you wanna have the successes that we believe we can have here."

Martin has probably already endeared himself to tireless Notre Dame fans by saying that he, too, would love to know who his starting quarterback will be once spring practice is finished. But he knows it's not that simple, especially in this case, and an answer may have to wait.

The versatile coach chuckled when asked if he was invigorated by the challenge of taking the offense to the level the Irish expect it to be at.

"You probably don't know me as well. People that know me would probably laugh at that question," Martin said. "That's who I am. If I was still coaching the secondary it'd be the same. It doesn't matter to me. I want us to be perfect all the time. Period. End of story. I'm probably dumb enough to believe we can be. Whether we can or not will remain to be seen. But it doesn't matter. He can put me anywhere on the staff. Everybody knows how I feel about Notre Dame. Everybody knows how I feel about Brian Kelly. So he could tell me to coach any position on the team and I'd go to work the same way."

Matt Fortuna | email

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