Below is a collection of quarterback-related comments from today's session with head coach Brian Kelly:
Q: The quarterbacks, when you start preparing for Navy on Monday, do you have to then have the idea in mind of exactly how you're going to operate with the quarterback situation?
"Yeah, I think we're getting closer to that. Certainly as we start to prepare, it's not going to be a 50/50 proposition. We're moving closer towards that as we move into actually working against Navy."
Q. How soon do Andrew and Everett and Gunner, how soon do they need to know from you this is how it's going to go?
"I think probably Monday we sit down and talk about how the reps are going to be distributed. But there's still so much learning, so it wouldn't be as cut and dry as say, here's my No.1. The door will still be open for growth during that week, but we'll start to separate the reps a little bit."
Q. Everyone seems to think if you play two quarterbacks that's dicy and tricky. In your experience how can that work, if that's the actual plan going into a game?
"You know, I've played two quarterbacks only because I've had to play two quarterbacks. I don't think I want to play two quarterbacks. I'd rather have one guy make himself known to everybody that he's the starter. Always love to have a No.2 that can go and win for you. I wouldn't subscribe to the fact that two is really where I want to be. We still want to be with a singular quarterback."
Q. For you, is evaluating the quarterback position different than evaluating any other position, and if so, how?
"Well, you know, he's got so many more things on his plate than any other position on the field. I don't know that the other 21 have as much that-- first of all, he's got to take care of the football, he's got to communicate to the offensive line, he's got to be able to take all the signaling.
"I don't think you can compare that position with any other position on the field, so as it comes to the evaluation, there's so many different columns that he's got to be able to check off. If you're a defensive lineman, get lined up, be really excited and get to the ball. There's more columns. It requires a lot of attention to film study and making good decisions, and those guys have to do a ton of film study, as well.
"There's no other position that requires the kind of attention that the quarterback position does. Differently, yes, I guess that answers the question that you have to look at the quarterback position differently because there's so many other things he's responsible for that no other position has that same responsibility."
Q. Going back to the quarterbacks really quickly, being the guru you are at that position and the history you've seen there --
"That's one word that as the head coach at Notre Dame I don't think I get a chance to put that one on myself. Guru is...
Q. Given your experience--is it as fluid a situation coming into camp when you have four guys, taking everything into account going back 22 years?
"Experience, I've had a lot of experience, yes, good and bad. Well, it's been unusual in a sense that the guy with the most experience is not going to be the starter for Navy, so that's a little bit unusual. But it's been great, it's been fun to work with young quarterbacks that are learning every day. As a teacher, that's-- and it's a captive audience. These guys want to get better. They want to be the starter.
"Probably in my career, it's probably been the most energized for me to get out there and teach and coach guys that want to learn, and that's been fun for me. Hope it's fun against Navy."
Q. Going back to the quarterbacks, you mentioned before all the columns. What's the most important column to you for a quarterback?
"Well, it's kind of hard to answer that question. The most important column when he understands the position and is ready to take it on, it's obviously production, how productive is your quarterback. I've got two guys really, because Gunner is not ready to do that yet, although he's done some great things, I've got two guys that I can't rate on production yet because they haven't produced anything.
"So we have to kind of scale it during our practices and say, okay, who's going to be that guy that gives us the best chance to win, and to do that, then you start to look at other columns, like knowledge base, taking care of the football and leadership.
"And then you turn the page and you go, okay, I want accuracy, escapability. So I guess the point I'm making is when you don't have somebody leading into the season that has that production, then you have to be able to use all those columns because you're making the educated guess as to who that next player is and who that starter is going to be.
Q. If hypothetically all the columns are as even as they can be, how do you make the call?
"Well, I think if everything is equal across the board, then you're looking at some of the intangibles, the ability to show poise under pressure, the ability to command a presence. I think some of those things that are not on the column, you start to look at some of those other things that we don't necessarily look at in moving them up the ladder. But I think that's where you start to look and really dig deep to find out who that next guy is.
Q. You just talked about commanding a presence. How does a quarterback develop a presence? What goes into that?
"Well, I think the realization that he's got to bring the other 10 along with him, and especially the offensive line. In our system he's communicating with them every snap. So if there's confusion, if there's not good communication with the quarterback and the offensive line, you'd better pull him aside and talk about presence; you'd better talk about communication; you'd better talk about that most important element, and that is the leadership of the group.
"You just put him out there. Like I said, in 7 on 7 they don't need to do that because there's no linemen there. You've just got receivers running around. But you put them in 11 on 11 and you've got to make some checks and you've got to tell that tackle now that he's got to fan and that this tight end stay in. You develop that, so you create those situations so you can see it, and then if it doesn't happen you can talk to him about it and say, hey, here's a perfect example. That's going to hold you back from being the starter unless you can overcome that. So creating those situations.
Q. Do you plan on waiting to tell everyone who the quarterback is? Obviously you'll tell your guys--
"You're the only one I'm going to tell. It's just going to be a one on one, not a two on one, just a one on one you and I; Jeffers won't be there. You've asked me this question each week. How do you want me to answer it this week?
Q. I don't think I asked that one. "Yeah, you did. When am I going to announce it?"
Q. No, do you plan on announcing it or do you plan on going into the opener with the other team not knowing who the starter is going to be? That's my question.
"You know what? Okay, fair enough. I have not thought about it in those terms, in terms of making a public announcement about the quarterback position because I've never had it in my mind that we were going to get there at a certain time. If it's clear to me that we've got a No.1 and there's a great separation there, then there's a possibility I could announce it. But I have not thought about it in those terms."
Q. When you made the decision to put Hendrix on the field in the middle of last year and you wanted Everett to focus on academics and being on the scout team at that point, the way he handled that situation, did that start to build trust then, or did that really happen at a later time with how he handled going to the scout team and not being a part of things?
"No, I think the individual meetings during spring, because I don't get-- we don't get much time with those guys, so I think it was spring ball, and then how he handled his academics in the summer and all those little things. He's built trust along the way.
"And then you build trust when I'm around you every day, and so this camp obviously was a big proving ground for him, and he's doing well."