Blue and Gold Illustrated

Preseason 2021

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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30 PRESEASON 2021 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED BY PATRICK ENGEL T ommy Rees spent his offseason re-engineering parts of Notre Dame's offense, as was always the intent. Notre Dame's offensive coordina- tor never planned to throw his 2020 playbook and tendencies on his 2021 roster, because the 2021 team's weak- nesses and strengths are different than 2020's. Spring practice was for learning more about personnel, testing out ideas and putting together a baseline offensive identity. Training camp, though, is time for answers and clar- ity with the depth chart. It offers a chance to form a more developed outlook for the offense. Through about 10 days of camp, the outlook seemed shy of elite. But the Fighting Irish have identified most of the players they think give them the best shot of reaching that height. QB1 There's no more doubt. No more leaving the door cracked open. No more sentences about Notre Dame's potential opening night quarterback that must include "if." Jack Coan is the Irish's starter. One week into fall camp, head coach Brian Kelly made it official in an Aug. 14 tweet. "All three quarterbacks distin- guished themselves in the spring and preseason camp," Kelly's tweet read. "Clearly, each has the skills necessary to lead, but Jack proved to be more consistent and therefore, going into our opener, gives us the best chance for success." The announcement ends a quar- terback competition that began in January after Ian Book's departure and lasted through spring, but felt more like a formality as summer progressed. Kelly admitted after the first day of fall camp the team had "a pretty good sense of where this is going to go." Not because primary challenger Drew Pyne scuffled, but because Coan's performance since arriving and his experience at Wisconsin were simply too much to usurp. He came to Notre Dame in January as a gradu- ate transfer with 18 career Big Ten starts. He's the first transfer quarter- back of Kelly's 12-year tenure. Coan started all 14 of the Badgers' COMING TOGETHER Notre Dame names starting quarterback and sees clarity emerging at receiver, offensive line Graduate student Jack Coan, who started 18 games at Wisconsin before transferring to Notre Dame, was named the Fighting Irish's starting quarterback for the season opener at Florida State Sept. 5. PHOTO BY CHAD WEAVER

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