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Irish Insights

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Notre Dame wants more from Andrew Hendrix

SOUTH BEND – Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly wants more out of quarterback Andrew Hendrix.

The senior is still the backup to starter Tommy Rees, but Hendrix got his first chance to play significant minutes in last Saturday's 35-21 home loss to No. 11 Oklahoma.

Hendrix ran for 10 yards against the Sooners as the Irish's change-of-pace quarterback.

"I don't know that you can go into the game and say, well, I'm just happy with a half‑dozen snaps," Kelly said Tuesday. "The way we presented it to Andrew is, look, you've got to help us win. You've got to help us win football games. So his mindset has to be, look, I want to keep adding more to my plate. I want more and more.

"But he's got to be more effective than he was on Saturday. He can't go in there and we get two false start penalties. We can't miss a wide‑open receiver. We've got to do a better job on our zone read. So if he's going to get more on his plate, he's got to be more productive, and we need him to be more productive."

Kelly reiterated Tuesday that Rees is still the starter, but he also said Hendrix could get to the point that he could challenge for the starting spot at some time this season.

"To answer that question is probably a little bit too premature," Kelly said of Hendrix pushing to get into the starting lineup. "We've got to get him to be more effective when he goes in the game because he's going to go back in the game on Saturday (against No. 22 Arizona State), and he's got to be more effective in that role and then let's look to add on to that, and then maybe get to your initial question of, 'Hey, you know what, I'm going to push Tommy Rees as the starter.'"

Rees started the season strong, throwing for more than 300 yards in the first three games with only two interceptions.

But he threw three interceptions against Oklahoma and has thrown for fewer than 150 yards in each of the last two games.

While Rees is getting heavily criticized in social media, Kelly said he is not worried about that hurting the quarterback's performance.

"Look, if you're the starting quarterback at Notre Dame and you can't handle those things that are inevitably going to come your way after a loss, then you can't be the quarterback at Notre Dame," Kelly said. "It comes with the business of being the quarterback at Notre Dame. You have to avoid the noise, when it's good and when it's bad. And that's just the nature of it. It comes with being the quarterback at Notre Dame."

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