Notre Dame quarterback Dayne Crist is close to making the final step towards mastering coach Brian Kelly's spread offense.
Kelly said Crist has been able to make nearly every throw that is being asked of him but one – a ball-control completion.
"We had 13 incomplete passes that were all ball-control throws," Kelly said. "When we clean that up, he will possess the things necessary to lead our football team as far as we can go.
"That is the area in his maturation. He is making the big throws, he is making the big-field throws, the vertical throws, the dig routes, he's doing a great job on his possession reads.
"It's the ball-control throws that we have to make. Those are the ones that consequently can end up winning the game for you."
Crist said the shorter throws have been a point of emphasis as the Irish get ready to play host to No. 16 Stanford at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.
"I think that was one of the areas I was most poor in this past weekend," Crist said of ball-control throws. "Overall, I feel a definite comfort level within the offense. I feel I'm getting better every week. That is something I'm going to try to improve as we progress through the season, and not be content where I'm at."
Crist said not making the short throws on swing routes and checkdowns is something that will come with more experience.
"You can talk about in practice and get a certain look in practice, and in the game when its live bullets, it's a little bit different," Crist said. "It is not something either one of us is very worried about. The most important thing as an offense is scoring points and scoring enough points to win. We haven't done that the last two weeks, and that is something we want to improve."
One area Crist doesn't need to improve on is his performance on the road.
In his first road start last week in an overtime loss to Michigan State, Crist set career highs in completions (32), attempts (55), yards (369) and touchdowns (four). His passing touchdown total was the most in school history for a quarterback making his first career road start.
"I definitely felt very comfortable," Crist said of playing on the road. "Throughout my entire career, through high school and some of the limited action I've had in college so far, I just love playing on the road.
"I think that is a pretty special environment. Granted, I love playing it front of home fans, but there is something pretty cool about playing in a place where everybody hates you and screaming against you. Really, all you have is the guys you traveled with.
"I think that is an exciting opportunity. Some people would say that is overwhelming, but I really enjoy that."