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Crist shines light on offseason

With interviews shut down for the offseason, ESPN’s Bruce Feldman scored a great one with quarterback Dayne Crist a few weeks ago when he was on campus visiting the Irish.

Feldman covered all sorts of ground with Crist, and while you might need a subscription to read everything, here’s a little taste of what Dayne had to say.

On adjusting to the tempo of the new offense:

It was something that I’ve honestly never seen before. It was just like learning an offense or a route concept or protection. You literally had to learn the tempo. In our meetings, coaches were explaining, “We want you to spring to the line.” We thought, OK, they meant hustle. But this was to a whole other level. You had to practice it within practice. We’re moving now. It was something that each position group had to learn, so it wasn’t just the X’s and O’s and the technique of what their position asks for but how to actually operate at that tempo. It was a challenge for us, just like everything else has been.

On dealing with a coaching staff on the hot seat:

As much as your coach tells you not to worry about it, or that it comes with it, it is tough sometimes, I’ll admit that. This is the guy that recruited you and one of the reasons that you’re at this place. But as a player, you just control what you can control. It was tough for me, because that was when everything was going on with my knee and I couldn’t do anything. I’m in a hospital bed all drugged up and turning on a TV and this was what I had to watch. It was tough.

I had a great relationship with Coach Weis. I had a great relationship with Coach (Ron) Powlus and his family. They were really like a second family to me. We would go over to coach Powlus’ house all the time. They were great to me. I had two years in that whole staff. It was a lot more than football involved in the whole mix, but at some point you have to understand that this is sometimes how college football goes, unfortunately. You wish the best for those guys and you embrace the new staff. You just work as hard as you can to get going right away. I realize that I don’t have that much time left, and there’s plenty of guys on this team that want to win.

On his new found leadership role on the team:
I just try to lead by example. I’m making sure of everything that I need to be taking care of. We all have a common goal, so it’s easy to say the right things and get guys going in a positive direction. This was explained to me during recruiting, that as a quarterback at Notre Dame, everyone knows who you are. And hopefully you can leave a positive legacy behind you.

On battling some of the preconceived misconceptions about Notre Dame:

I was one of those kids, too. I had never been to Notre Dame before. I had never seen snow in my life. Had I not made this trip (in my junior year of high school), I’d be at SC right now. It’s like trying to explain what Disneyland is to other people. Sure you can explain physically what’s there but, until you’re there having those emotions, you can’t truly explain it.

Once you get here, you realize how diverse the student body is. You really appreciate Notre Dame for Notre Dame, and you understand why there are kids here from Nigeria and all across the world, much less all over the country.

As much as people have to remember that this will be Crist’s first year truly playing at a collegiate level, there are a ton of smart college football people out there that think Dayne’s going to play football at a very high level. He’s a guy with an elite set of physical tools and has really impressed everybody on this staff and the previous staff with his intangibles and leadership.

Feldman’s question on misconceptions was a follow-up on a question that he asked Louis Nix, and it highlights just how important it is to get recruits onto campus and let them actually experience Notre Dame instead of having to rely on what they may have heard on the recruiting trail or growing up.

Notre Dame fans -- and Matt Barkley -- should be happy that Crist made that visit during his junior year of high school.