First off, I would like to clarify one thing: I am not sleeping on EG. In fact, I am not doing anything close to that. I believe Everett Golson has a fantastic chance to win the starting job in the fall. However, the point I will be trying to make is that he should be forced to unseat Andrew Hendrix, who in my opinion, is the best option at this point in time.
More on this, after the jump.The Everett Golson bandwagon has taken the Notre Dame fanbase by storm, with more and more people joining everyday. And what is there to not like about him? He was a stud in high school, looks the part, and played impressively during the spring game. He has a great future ahead of him.
But remember when the toast of South Bend was Mr. Hendrix just a few months ago? After all, his last two games were against two of the best defenses in college football and he held his own unlike the incumbent Tommy Rees. However, if you listened to Irish fans now, you'd think that he is just as likely to start as Rees because of all the buzz for Golson. What happened? Did his skills depreciate over the winter? Did he insult Father Hesburgh?
The answer to these questions is a resounding no. What has happened is that the Notre Dame family seems a little too eager to turn the keys over to an extremely young and talented quarterback who has never taken a snap in college football, but since everyone has seen his YouTube highlights he must be the next Tony Rice/Charlie Ward/God.
But from now on, let's focus on Hendrix. Usually, his detractors have stated three major flaws in his game:
- Lack of field vision (Throws into coverage, takes too many sacks)
- Throws the ball too hard
- Didn't play well against Stanford, Florida State and in the spring game, so he doesn't have what it takes
The first thing on this list is without a doubt his biggest issue. We've seen him rifle the ball towards a drifting linebacker on many occasions and he's paid for it. Luckily, this is also the most fixable aspect of his game. I have to believe that sooner or later, CBK is going to get this whole quarterback thing right, and part of that involves letting his quarterbacks know that it is unacceptable to throw the ball in a safety's gut or hold on to the ball for ten seconds.
The second complaint on this list is just utterly false, but the word is not throwing "hard" it's throwing with "touch". A gigantic difference. Throwing "too hard" is just a ridiculous excuse for why Hendrix is not qualified. We were sick of Tommy shot putting the ball and throwing wounded ducks, so now we're going to bench the Voodoo Child for throwing too hard? Are we going to whine if EG throws even harder?
That is not the issue, the issue is Hendrix throwing the ball with not enough touch. In his defense, against Stanford he does make some nice throws that actually show a lot of touch (See 1:40, 4:50, and 6:41 in the video below). If Hendrix can hit those throws with more consistency, this offense will be hard to stop through the air.
Notre Dame vs. Stanford (2nd half Offense led by Hendrix) (via TXNDFan11)
In response to the third gripe about Hendrix, I have two numbers: 25 and 6. Those were Stanford's and Florida State's respective rankings in total defense last year. According to some sources, the Voodoo Child was thrown into the Stanford game having never practiced some of the plays he was supposed to run. This is just utterly insane to think about. I suspect that most people look at his stat-line (14-32 with two INT's) for those two games and assume that he cannot be a capable starter. Again, this is simply false.
I believe that Hendrix played very well considering the circumstances in those two games, having been put in a 21-0 hole at Stanford and then handed a slim lead against FSU. In both of those games, he set up all of Notre Dame's touchdowns through play-making ability that Rees did not have. As for the spring game, how much can we really take from that performance? As it has been well-documented on OFD, the B-G Game has seen such stars like Junior Jabbie rise above the pack.
Now let's focus on what Hendrix brings to the offense that Golson may struggle with. First off, it's obvious that CBK likes players who have experience. As it pertains to the current QB situation with Rees' future in limbo, the edge clearly goes to Hendrix, who had to go up against two top 25 teams in extraordinary situations last year. EG may have great potential, but Hendrix has already shown us his in real action against some of the best in the country. Having been in the system for a full year longer then EG has, there is no reason to think that Hendrix will not improve this next year and overshadow the average ND fan's wet dream.
One area that Hendrix also has an advantage in is the run game. I also love what EG brings to the table in terms of running/escapability, but his small stature and previous injury problems are reason to pause. Meanwhile, Hendrix is a downright bowling ball when on the run and has already taken some nasty hits from the defenses he has faced (See: 2:15 in the video above).
The Voodoo Child has also been extremely effective running the speed option, making all the correct reads and gaining huge chunks of yardage. In the three times Hendrix ran the speed option against Stanford, the Irish gained 37 yards (Credit goes to one of Burger's reviews for that one). And if Hendrix can increase his mobility and vision in the pocket, there's no reason to suspect that he cannot be a superstar for our beloved Irish.
Feel free to add your own comments below, and remember: Definitely don't sleep on EG, but keep a wary eye for Hendrix.