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Notre Dame Football

Notre Dame's OL Troubles Leading to Two Quarterback System

September 13, 2021
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Does Notre Dame have a quarterback controversy? 

No. 

Plain and simple. No. 

Jack Coan is the starting quarterback and the guts he showed on Saturday will only further the trust of his teammates. 

Notre Dame trainer Mike Bean popped Coan's dislocated finger into place between plays and 20 seconds later, the New York native threw the game-winning score to Michael Mayer.

"He dislocated his finger," said head coach Brian Kelly. "There was a break in the action and one of our trainers, Mike Bean went out there and performed some kind of, I don't know, pull the finger thing. 

"He pulled the finger, got it back in place, and the next play, we were throwing the verticals. We went four verticals, brought the tight end to the backside hash, and Jack steps up. We're going to have Bean work on his hand more often.

The clip was shared by many Irish offensive and defensive players on Social Media. If Coan needed to prove to anyone on the roster he was invested in the team, he proved it on Saturday. 

That said, Notre Dame might not have a controversy at the quarterback position, but they have an opportunity to add to the position. 

Enter true freshman Tyler Buchner. 

In his debut, the California native went 3-of-3 for 78 yards and one touchdown through the air and added 68 yards on the ground. 

Buchner was an answer to the problems on the ground and he also showed good decision-making when asked to throw the ball. 

It was a spark as Toledo likely didn't plan for him and things will get tough for him moving forward, but leading a scoring drive that went 96 yards in five plays also gains trust from the staff and Buchner's teammates. 

"We're backed up there," stated Kelly. "I felt like going to Tyler there, he would give us the versatility in the run game that we needed at that time. Turned out it worked out pretty good. He gave us the shot in the arm that we needed." 

Buchner also put pressure on the Toledo defense with his arm. Offensive coordinator Tommy Rees was able to apply pressure to the perimeter as he put Buchner in a spot to run or pass it. 

Running back Chris Tyree scored from 55 yards on a pass from Buchner and it was a play where the defender had to decide to commit to the quarterback or back. 

"He's a baller. It's pretty obvious to see when he comes into the game. I think it's important to know that we were implementing that into the game plan. We had practiced a few of those packages throughout the week, so we knew it was coming." 

As Notre Dame moves forward, the offensive line's play will likely dictate a two-quarterback system, which is somewhat unfortunate for Coan as he hasn't played himself out of a job.

Coan also showed his leadership and maturity by supporting Buchner on Saturday, which is something that hasn't always happened at Notre Dame. 

"Jack is just a great character kid," Kelly stated. "He just wants to win. He stayed ready. We told him this is something that we're going to do to help the football team win today.

"He was, again, prepared and ready to get back in there and help us in that last drive. He was outstanding."

And this isn't a scenario of the classic 'If you have two QBs, you don't have one.' It's different skillsets combined with an offensive line that has sustained significant injuries at left tackle and a lack of chemistry across the board. 

"We've got options to figure this thing out," explained Kelly. "It's not rocket science. Those kids are good, young players, but they're young. We can win with those guys. We just got to figure it out. We'll get it figured out." 

 
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