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Monday, September 24, 2012
Bye week grades: Quarterbacks

By Matt Fortuna

Throughout the bye week, we will take a look at Notre Dame by position and see how each stacks up one-third of the way through the regular season.

QUARTERBACKS

Grade: B-minus

Summary: The starting quarterback has been pulled from two games. That is not a good sign. But the backup quarterback has come in and committed a grand total of zero turnovers in leading the Irish to victories. It is a very odd situation -- the starting quarterback may not be the best quarterback; the most knowledgeable quarterback is not the starting quarterback, etc. But the Irish are 4-0, and Everett Golson has certainly shown some flashes of great play, especially in the win at Michigan State. He needs to get everything under control better and avoid careless turnovers, especially in the red zone. But this system -- in which it is Golson's job to lose … until he loses it -- may just work with a guy as comfortable in his odd role as Tommy Rees is. The offense needs to get better, sure, but more than anything it needs to avoid killer mistakes that can put the standout defense in bad situations. Of course, there is always the risk of Golson's confidence being shattered, but he responded to his first benching -- a much bigger head-scratcher than the second one -- just fine the following week in East Lansing.

Backups: Do we put Rees here? If so, great job. He may be more than a backup at this point, though. Andrew Hendrix has game experience from a year ago but lost the battle for the top job to Golson in camp. He has loads of potential but will have a hard time getting on the field at this point. Blue-chip freshman Gunner Kiel seems all but destined to redshirt given the crowd above him at the position.