Notre Dame quarterback Jack Coan was 2 for 11 on Saturday in the 32-29 Irish victory over Toledo.
Notre Dame scored two touchdowns on his 11 possessions.
Tyler Buchner was 3 for 4
Buchner could’ve been perfect had Kyren Williams not fumbled at the 27 with 3:33 left.
Coan finished off the uncomfortable victory with a five-play, 75-yard drive that ended with an 18-yard touchdown pass to tight end Michael Mayer.
It’s amazing what a difference a week can make in the life of a starting Notre Dame quarterback. Coan was Notre Dame’s brightest spot in a 41-38 overtime victory against Florida State after he completed 26 of 35 passes for 366 yards and four touchdowns.
Coan said on Tuesday that he gets why Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly brought Buchner in.
The Irish offense was in stall mode for long periods against the Rockets. Sure, the offensive line shoulders a chunk of the blame, but there was a difference in how ND moved the ball when Buchner was in there.
“I definitely think we needed a spark at that time,” Coan said of Buchner. “He made some huge plays downfield. He helped us move the ball and he definitely helped us win. I’m thankful for that.”
The Irish went nine straight possessions without scoring when Coan had the ball. Twice, they went four and out. On another series, Coan threw an interception that was returned for a TD.Coan proved his value on his last drive.
Coan proved his value on his last drive.
Kelly didn’t hesitate to use Coan instead of Buchner in the final minutes because he knew that the Irish needed to pass the ball downfield quickly to win.
Buchner doesn’t have the grasp of the offense that Coan does. When Coan gets going in the passing game, he is hard to stop.
The final drive took 26 seconds. Coan’s first scoring drive against Toledo took just 2:15. He was 4 of 4 for 42 yards and a touchdown.
Coan said that he’s fine sharing the job.
“It’s my first time doing it,” he said. “Honestly, it wasn’t really that difficult. I mean, I started and I felt like I picked up where I left off. I just try to do my job and make the right decisions.”
Kelly said on Monday that Buchner helps the running game, which takes pressure off the offensive line.
Coan was sacked six times. Buchner didn’t take a sack and rushed for 68 yards on seven carries. Coan said he thinks he can get better at running the football in zone read situations.
“I’m not as fast as him but it’s something I could work on,” Coan said
Kelly’s comment indicates that which quarterback is in there will depend on the situation.
“It certainly opens up the running game when you have a quarterback that can pull off an end that's chasing a play down from the backside,” Kelly said. “I think the plan all along was to get Tyler some work and that was going to enhance our running game as we transition a little bit there. He helps our running game. We still are in a process of fine tuning what we really want to be relative to the running game and I think we're getting closer to what we feel like is going to be our staple plays. Look, running the ball, for me still is about short yardage, right? Goal line, play action, setting up your play action, and then running when everybody knows you need to run. If you can't do any of those, you don't have a running game. Other than that, the rest of it is what's the best look to move the football downfield.”
Coan understands that Buchner will likely become a bigger part of the game plan this season.
“I knew he was going to come in,” Coan said. “Once I saw him have success over and over again, I knew he was going to become more a part of the game. I think it worked out great.”
Irish Breakdown Content
Become a premium Irish Breakdown member, which grants you access to all of our premium content, our premium message board and gets you a FREE subscription to Sports Illustrated! Click on the link below for more
Be sure to stay locked into Irish Breakdown all the time!
Join the Irish Breakdown community!
Subscribe to the Irish Breakdown YouTube channel
Subscribe to the Irish Breakdown podcast on iTunes
Follow me on Twitter: @MikeHuttonPT
Like and follow Irish Breakdown on Facebook