Full Package?

Sophomore quarterback Andrew Hendrix should have nearly an entire playbook available to him as the backup/change-up quarterback in the Champs Sports Bowl later this month.

Nearly a month of film study and extended varsity work at practice, plus a game day package for the Champs Sports Bowl should be ample preparation for Notre Dame's late-season competitor under center.

And after head coach Brian Kelly's players make it through finals week (currently underway), Andrew Hendrix's game day role vs. Florida State should begin to come into focus.

"I'm really not sure and I'm not sure Coach Kelly knows either," Hendrix said following Saturday's practice. "With Dayne (Crist) not here, I'm taking a bigger role with the (second string) and I still get certain reps with the 1s. It's early in the bowl season so as the practices get longer I'll probably know more about that."

It's doubtful a true quarterback rotation will be employed; Irish fans can thus expect starter Tommy Rees to take the lion's share of snaps but it's likely the "Hendrix Package" will be greatly enhanced.

Hendrix noted Saturday he knew 75 to 80 percent of the playbook entering the Stanford contest. To fans, that number is a bit misleading.

"We install in spring ball and summer camp the entire offense and the basis of it throughout the season," Hendrix explained. "Whether a (particular opponent) defense runs a certain look, we'll put in plays that attack that look. Those are the specific plays created for a (specific) week that I really didn't get reps on because I was running plays for a package that I was comfortable in.

"Really only the last 20 percent of the playbook that's involved each week is what I wasn't familiar with. And that's team specific, so when we're done with that team, it really doesn't matter if I've run that play or not because we probably won't run it the next week."

Pressed into second half duty in the season finale, were there plays the Irish ran with which Hendrix was unfamiliar in the 28-14 defeat?

"None at all. I hadn't run some of the original playbook in awhile because I was the package guy. That's what I worked on to make sure that when I went into the game, I knew those 10-15 plays very well and I could apply them to the defensive scheme that was presented to me. So when coach Kelly told me I was going to play in the second half, he asked me what I felt comfortable with, and I think he probably had a pretty good idea that it was our basic offense (those) plays still work very well. They're just not a one-time (specific) play so to speak."

Media widely speculated (this site included) that Hendrix should be the starter for the Champs Sports Bowl. Kelly never hesitated naming Rees the main man, noting "I didn't want any debate within our program. I wanted our guys to know, here's your starter; here's where we're going."

It was a decision the team-oriented Hendrix took in stride.

"I really didn't have a reaction. I figured that was what was going to happen and I totally support that. Just to hear him say that I'm going to play vs. Florida State is pretty unbelievable," he said. "I'm going to take that and work to help this team win a bowl game."

With an expanded playbook at his disposal.

IrishIllustrated.com Top Stories