With starting quarterback Jimmy Clausen slowed by a turf toe injury on his right foot, sophomore backup Dayne Crist got plenty of time in practice this week to show how he has progressed.
Crist took the majority of snaps with third-string quarterback Evan Sharpley also getting time when Clausen was out Tuesday. Crist and Clausen shared snaps Wednesday before Clausen took most of the practice time Thursday to get ready of Saturday's game at Purdue.
Coach Charlie Weis said he was impressed with Crist, especially when he was in the No. 1 role Tuesday.
"I think it was interesting to have to watch when he has to run the team," Weis said. "You lose that security blanket. When your the No. 2 guy, you go in the No. 1 guy is going right back in. When the No. 1 guy is standing on the sideline in shorts, the team is counting on you to run the team. The team is always looking to see how you are going to respond. The thing I was pleased with the most with practice on Tuesday was that element. He just went in there, it's my team now guys lets go. That was good to see.
"He has a lot of natural leadership about him. When you're not the starter it's tough to act like a leader. Because it's not really your team. When given your opportunity to step in there, like he has this week, he handled it very nicely. Probably had a tad bit nervousness on Tuesday, but that eased as the practice went on. The nervous signs weren't evident on Wednesday."
Crist's performance in practice this week may have earned him some playing time against Purdue. And it may be more than mop up duty or if Clausen struggles with his injured foot.
"I'm glad he got as much work as he did," Weis said. "Tuesday, he got a ton of work. He got most of it, and Evan got a little of it. Evan's gotten work each this week too, to have him ready to go as well. Even today when Jimmy got more, Dayne got a lot and Evan got a little too just to make sure we had everyone covered
"I was surprised with Dayne. The thing I was concerned with the most early in the week was him running the operation. That was actually the thing he did the best on Tuesday. As the week went on he looked a lot more game ready. I could see a possibility of him getting some action (against Purdue) as well."
Crist has played in two games this season.
Crist was in for two plays in the second quarter against Michigan State last Saturday. He filled in after Clausen was sacked and injured his foot and threw the final pass of the second half.
He made an appearance in the first half and played all of the fourth quarter in Notre Dame's 35-0 blowout of Nevada. But he only threw two passes in that game for 17 yards, as the Irish ran out the clock against the Wolf Pack in the final quarter.
Crist is 3 for 4 for 16 yards with an interception this season.