The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Football: Montana to transfer as Irish look ahead toward spring practice

Observer Staff Report | Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Spring practice doesn’t begin until March 23, but the first roster shakeup of the spring season has already occurred. Notre Dame announced Tuesday that junior quarterback Nate Montana had left the Irish in a transfer to the University of Montana, where he is enrolled for the spring semester.

“After much discussion with Nate regarding his future with our football program, Nate decided it was in his best interests to leave Notre Dame and pursue opportunities at a different school,” Irish coach Brian Kelly said. “I enjoyed working with Nate and he was a valuable member of his team this past season. I wish him and his family all the best.”

Montana saw limited playing time in 2010 as part of a competition to back up junior quarterback Dayne Crist. Montana saw his most extensive action against Michigan, when Crist missed much of the first half due to a head injury; he split time in that game with freshman Tommy Rees.

Rees would eventually take over as starting quarterback after Crist’s season was ended by a knee injury. Montana saw little playing time in the second half of the season despite entering the fall as the second quarterback on the depth chart behind Crist.

By transferring to a Football Championship Subdivision school (FCS) rather than a Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) school, Montana will be able to immediately compete for playing time rather than sit out a year and lose a year of eligibility due to NCAA transfer rules.

Crist and Rees will again compete for the starting position during spring practice, which will run four days a week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday) from March 23 through the 82nd Blue-Gold Game, which is scheduled for Saturday, April 16.

The five recruits who enrolled early — kicker Kyle Brindza, quarterback Everett Golson, and defensive ends Brad Carrico, Aaron Lynch, and Ishaq Williams — will participate in spring practice as their first formal experience with the Irish. The rest of the recruiting class will report for summer camp in June after they graduate high school.