Crist gets his last chance to shine at Notre Dame

Dayne Crist has been through it all.

Comparisons to Jimmy Clausen. Multiple knee injuries. Tough competition from fellow quarterbacks on the roster.

Dayne CristICONSenior Dayne Crist was named the Notre Dame starting QB on Tuesday.

But the Notre Dame signal-caller will have one last chance to excel as a college player starting Sept. 3 when the Fighting Irish begin what many ND fans hope is a march toward a BCS contest -- or a high-profile bowl at the very least.

Head coach Brian Kelly gave the senior Crist the starting nod over sophomore Tommy Rees on Tuesday morning, ensuring the ND faithful that Crist is the right man for the job. Now, it's up to the player who's found it difficult to stay healthy to help the team meet high expectations nationally in Kelly's second season.

When he made the announcement at his presser Tuesday, Kelly said he expects Crist to be his starter all 13 weeks of the season. If he stays healthy, expect that to be the case despite strong competition from Rees. While Crist has not wowed us with his talent quite yet, quarterbacks often need a full year in Kelly's system before making the big jump in the second season, which is exactly where Crist and the offense stand this fall.

Crist is expected to improve in the accuracy department after having completed just 59 percent of his throws last season. But he has a strong arm and should make better decisions with the football this fall.

The 6-4, 235-pounder will have a strong receiver trio of Michael Floyd, T.J. Jones and Theo Riddick, a solid rushing attack paced by Cierre Wood and Jonas Gray, as well as a steady offensive line protecting him. All the pieces are in place for offensive success.

And if he does happen to get sidelined due to injury, Kelly has a very capable backup ready to step in and keep the spread attack clicking.

But after some trying times in South Bend, Crist is unquestionably hell-bent on making sure that doesn't happen.

Email dave.miller@nationalfootballpost.com or follow me on Twitter at Miller_Dave