Outlook for Irish is promising

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SOUTH BEND, IND. (AP) - Notre Dame’s goal of making a BCS bowl lives. The Irish are on a roll with a four-game winning streak heading into a bye week before playing Southern California at home.

And now they have a new dimension and threat on offense.

Sophomore Andrew Hendrix, playing as a change-of-pace quarterback behind starter Tommy Rees, gave a glimpse of how the spread might look in the future _ and how successful a running quarterback can be.

Hendrix ran strong and fast and was accurate with his limited passing attempts during his first college action in Saturday’s 59-33 romp over Air Force.

Hendrix broke off a 78-yard run, completed all four of his passing attempts and carried six times for 111 yards, making him the first Irish quarterback since Carlyle Holiday in 2001 to gain 100 yards rushing.

He ran out of gas on his long run and was ruled down at the 2 or he would also have scored a TD in his first game.

Rees threw four first-half TD passes Saturday, was not sacked and had no turnovers for a second straight game.

He’s 8-1 as a starter and will continue to get most of the playing time. And Kelly made it clear Saturday that Dayne Crist _ benched after the first half of the season opener _ is still No. 2.

But just having Hendrix’s athleticism expands Kelly’s offense and gives defenses another area to defend. Mostly, Kelly said, Hendrix’s abilities will help Rees improve.

“When you know you have to prepare for triple option and the ability for the quarterback to run, you put in one less coverage to cover (star receiver) Michael Floyd,” Kelly said Sunday.

“You put in one less blitz package to get after Tommy because you’re afraid you may get caught in that when Hendrix is in the game. It just protects him more when you have that kind of versatility to your offense.”

The emergence of Hendrix likely means freshman Everett Golson will not see action this season and then have four years of eligibility remaining.

“I think you guys can figure out what the rotation is going to be at this point,” Kelly said. “You know what I would like to say, but I’m not going to say it.”

Kelly was also asked if Golson, a two-sports high school star from Myrtle Beach, S.C., might join the Irish basketball team.

“It really depends on some of the things that we talked about privately. Everett and I have made an agreement relative to basketball and he’s got to take care of those things first before we entertain basketball,” Kelly said.

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