It’s not a surprise, given Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly’s past public support of Jack Coan.
Kelly said on Monday that Coan, who was listed No. 1 on the depth chart, is the starting quarterback going forward.
It’ll be Coan with a little bit, and maybe a lot depending on how Coan is doing, of Tyler Buchner sprinkled into the game. Notre Dame (5-1), ranked No. 13 by the Associated Press, plays USC at Notre Dame Stadium at 7:30 on Saturday after a week off.
“From a quarterback standpoint, Jack is the guy that we feel gives us the best chance to win,” Kelly said. “A mixture of him with Tyler Buchner. Drew (Pyne) has done some good things for us, and if we are in a situation where we need to call on him, we probably would. In my mind and in Tommy Rees’ mind, that Jack would continue to start and we would continue to get Tyler more playing time.”
In other words, nothing has changed from the script, which Notre Dame started the season with. That was to make Buchner, who is listed as third string, the change of pace quarterback.
Buchner was more than the change of pace quarterback against Virginia Tech.
After a typically poor start for Coan, Buchner came into the game led the Irish to their first three-touchdown scoring drives.
Buchner was pulled in the fourth quarter after his second interception. His first interception turned into a 26-yard return for a touchdown by Jermaine Waller. The second one also led to a Hokie touchdown. Buchner also hurt his hamstring on the interception. Kelly said he expected him to be ready for USC.
Coan returned in the last 3:55 and led the Irish to two scores, giving them a 32-29 victory.
Kelly is trying to see how his team can get more of the end game Coan.
He made the point that it might be easier for Coan in the fourth quarter because the defense is more fatigued after try to box up Buchner.
Notre Dame has given up 24 sacks this season.
“Let’s look at it from this perspective,” Kelly said. “When has he looked really good? Late in the game when those defensive linemen are chasing Tyler Buchner around. They are tiring out a little bit so that pass rush is not quite the same as it is in the first series or the second series. So, there is a little bit of that. Jack speeds up a little bit on those late drives where the ball comes out a little bit quicker.
"There is more of a sense of urgency. I think it’s a little bit of both. I think the pass rush tends to lay down later in the game as those guys are running sideline to sideline. Then I think Jack’s sense of urgency in terms of getting the ball out is a lot more deliberate. I think we gleaned a lot from that in our bye week in terms of what we need to work on earlier in the game in terms of Jack being more efficient.”
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