September 4, 2011 // Notre Dame Football

Rees Looks Like Notre Dame’s Starter

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Tommy Rees started the second half in relief of Dayne Crist and played well enough to force a change to be made on the quarterback depth chart. (Photo / IconSMI)

Tommy Rees may not look like a typical starting college quarterback when you see him without a football uniform on, but on Saturday afternoon he certainly looked like Notre Dame’s starting quarterback during the 2nd half of Notre Dame’s season opening loss to South Florida.

Ress lost the starting quarterback derby to Dayne Crist last week and at the time Brian Kelly said that he anticipated Crist being his starting quarterback for all 13 games in 2011.  Well, one game into the season, it looks like that won’t be the case at all.  While Crist struggled in the first half despite the presence of a strong running game, Tommy Rees moved the Irish offense with much more consistency and put points on the board.

A few plays into the game, Crist was making it obvious why he was named the starter last week.  He completed 6 of his first 8 passes for 95 yards and moved the offense to the one yard line before Jonas Gray’s fumble was recovered by South Florida and returned 97 yards for a touchdown.

Crist had the Irish on the move again to start the second quarter with another trip inside the South Florida five yard line.  After a touchdown run by Cierre Wood was called back for holding and a potential touchdown pass was dropped by TJ Jones, Crist made a terrible throw to Theo Riddick that was intercepted for a touchback.

After that interception, Crist was just not the same.  Despite missing on only two of his first eight attempts, Crist ended up completing just one of his next seven attempts for no yards and the interception.

Enter Tommy Rees.

Rees, 4-0 as a starter last year, started the second half for the Irish and like Crist’s first drive, he marched the Irish inside the USF 5 yard line.  On first and goal from the five yard line Rees fired a pass to TJ Jones on a crossing route, but the sophomore receiver never looked for the ball and it careened off of his head and into the arms of South Florida linebacker Michael Lanaris for Notre Dame’s third red-zone turnover of the game.

Rees rebounded nicely though and on Notre Dame’s next possession he connected with Tyler Eifert for 37 yards on 3rd and 10 and then two plays later he threw a pretty pass to Michael Floyd for a 25 yard touchdown for Notre Dame’s first points of he game.  By the time the game was over and the lightning stopped, Rees threw for 296 yards on 24 of 34 passing (70%),

Stats aside, Rees also carried himself with more confidence and composure even after bad plays like the interception that hit Jones in the head.   Once things started to snowball for Crist you could just tell he was losing his confidence.

Now, Rees was far from perfect.  After the second weather delay, Rees came out and threw an interception on the first play.  He had Tyler Eifert streaking down the field on a wheel route with single coverage.  Instead of throwing it up for Eifert he scrambled and forced a throw across his body into double coverage and got picked off.  Plays like that are going to happen with a young quarterback though and if Notre Dame has to live with the occasional interception  in exchange for 300+ yards of offense in a half, then so be it.

Despite some poor decision making from Rees, there was a lot to like about his game and the progress he made this off-season.  Rees showed a stronger arm that allowed him to make throws he couldn’t have made last year.  For instance, his 37 yard completion to Eifert was fight in a very tight window – a window he couldn’t have made it through a year ago.

Brian Kelly was non-committal about his starting quarterback for next week when Notre Dame travels to Michigan, but anyone who watched Saturday’s game knows Rees made the decision for him with his performance and honestly, its the only decision he can make after today.

I sang the praises of Crist all summer long as the answer for Notre Dame at quarterback because he has a much stronger arm and great mobility, but as we learned today those two things don’t matter much when passes aren’t delivered accurately.

Rees, whose arm has definitely gotten stronger since last year, showed much better accuracy and touch on his passes.  Notre Dame wide receivers dropped a lot of passes on Saturday and it’s not a coincidence that most of them occurred when Crist was in the game.  Rees just delivered a more accurate and catchable ball.

While Rees may not look like he came straight from central casting like Crist, he looked every bit of the part while he was on the field and it looks like he should be the starting quarterback for the rest of the season.

Comments to this Article

  • natureboy commented on September 4th, 2011 at 1:40 am

    Hope you and BK are right about the 13 games, Frank.

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  • pjh commented on September 4th, 2011 at 2:06 am

    into the arms of Oregon linebacker Michael Lanaris ????

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  • roy arnn commented on September 4th, 2011 at 2:22 am

    Wow, who says Rees doesn’t have a strong arm?
    According to Frank, a Rees pass was deflected all the way from South Bend to Texas! Better check Jones for a concussion…

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  • spiceyirish commented on September 4th, 2011 at 2:34 am

    I lost all my confidence in Crist after the 2nd possession when he threw a 5-yard pass on a 3 and 9. His career has been marred by injuries and his quick tendency to rush his passes is a direct effect of those knee injuries. Crist career at South Bend is basically over. Rees is the No. 1. I’m sure Brian Kelly will give ever opportunity to have Hendrix and Golsonto take the No. 2 spot.

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  • scottym commented on September 4th, 2011 at 7:40 am

    I have been calling for Rees to be the starter all through the spring and summer on multiple ND sites and all everyone does is laugh at the notion. Well if Rees had started that game yesterday ND is 1-0. I am not knocking Crist but there is more to playing QB than just physical tools. Don’t believe that just ask Tom Brady and Joe Montana

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    Ultimate Irish Fan replied on September 4th, 2011 at 11:19 pm

    When the shit hits the fan, Crist just gets “soiled”. Rees, on the other hand steps up to the plate.

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    S.F. Bill replied on September 6th, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    As someone who grew up in San Francisco, and watched Joe Montana every Sunday, not to mention following the Irish during his time in South Bend, I will second your opinion on Rees. They said Joe was too small to. Like Rees, 6′ 2″ — supposedly! Doubtful.

    Yet all Joe did was win games for the Irish and the 49’ers. With his leadership and unflappability.

    I see a lot of Joe Montana in Rees. Particularly how he moves around to find the right angle to pass. And his unflappability is a HUGE asset. I’m looking forward to seeing what this kid will do this season.

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  • cav commented on September 4th, 2011 at 9:29 am

    Here is what I saw, I saw a team in the first half that believed all the hype they had been hearing the whole off-season and were stunned when they were down 16-0. They were in complete shock and you could see it on their faces, especially Crist and Riddick.

    After a 2 hour weather delay, I saw a team that was hungry and fired up that outscored USF 20-7. All the mistakes in the first half cost ND the game, but this might be a blessing. This team is not where it needs to be yet and losing this early will be a wake-up call that there is still work to be done. Kelly was right when he said you can’t start winning until you stop losing.

    We found out that Wood can be a dynamic back and I wonder how many yards he could have had if we didn’t have to throw on every down in the second half. We found out that Rees is much more comfortable in this offense than Crist. We also found out that our defense is pretty good, but there is room for improvement here as well.

    I was upset after the 1st half, but encouraged after the 2nd half. I like the fact that we didn’t start with a cupcake game because our flaws were exposed and one of those is that Crist doesn’t know what to do when teams drop 7-8 in coverage. Rees still threw for almost 300 yards and USF knew he was going to throw.

    While it is possible that next week could be a loss, I think the team will rally around Rees, fix the mistakes, and look more like the team that ended 2010 then the team that started 2010. If we have to start 1-1, I ‘d rather have that win be against Michigan.

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  • Teo commented on September 4th, 2011 at 9:32 am

    We have two decent quarterbacks who played poorly yesterday. I have no idea what I would do if I were Kelly. I suppose I would go with Crist, the starting quarterback who made a few poor decisions yesterday, because I announced last week that Crist was the starter for 13 games. But, I can see the appeal of Rees, who I actually said should start the season given his 4-0 record last year as a starter.

    Either way, though, both guys have to make much better choices when running the offense.

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    Joe Schulz replied on September 4th, 2011 at 9:46 am

    How can you possibly say that both QBs played poorly? Crist finished like a whipped dog and Reese threw for almost 300 yards and, but for a missed FG and one bad drive for the Defense would have won the game! Good grief what does the young man have to do to get your praise?

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    Teo replied on September 4th, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    Was I watching the same game? Two interceptions and a few late passes over the middle. In the final drive, when we needed to go down field, Rees was tossing short passes. These worked in South FL’s prevent defense, but we burned a lot of clock.

    I have seen Rees play much better. We all have.

    On the other hand, the more “gifted” quarterback looked, as you say, like a whipped dog. But for the first drive, Crist played pretty poorly and I think Rees is the guy.

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    JohnDC replied on September 4th, 2011 at 8:06 pm

    Thank you. I have nothing against crist, he seems like Avery nice young man, but all Rees has done is probe himself game after game. I wish more Irish fans would realize this and give him the credit he deserves.

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    cousinnap replied on September 4th, 2011 at 10:24 am

    I agree with joe how can you say Reese plyed poorly – did he play great – maybe not – he got points on the board moved the ball when they knew he was going to pass and looked like he knew waht he was doing – Reese is the starter – Crist may be moved down to number 3

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    scottym replied on September 4th, 2011 at 10:28 am

    If not for Rees they would have been shutout. One of the interceptions was not his fault

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  • Jeremy M. commented on September 4th, 2011 at 9:45 am

    Teo-

    Not sure how you think Rees played poorly. 300 yards in one half when the defense knew we were passing.

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  • George commented on September 4th, 2011 at 10:02 am

    Rees played very well. Made a few mistakes, but at least he got us back into the game and will make us very competitive from here on out. Look how much more productive Floyd and Eifert became with Rees in the game. Crist was going nowhere. Crist couldnt muster one single point in the entire half… SHUT OUT

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    nathanrmarshall replied on September 4th, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    Really because Crist got them into the red zone twice and Gray fumbled and TJ dropped a TD pass, and then Dayne threw the INT. And then receivers dropped two more first down catches on 3rd down to close out the half. Thats why Daynes #s looked so pedestrian two lost drives to 3 and outs that shouldnt have been, a dropped TD pass that then results in an INT and a fumble at the 1. 95% of that was not Dayne it was the rest of the team.

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  • Guy commented on September 4th, 2011 at 11:29 am

    When you are forced to throw the ball almost every down, chances are that you will eventually get picked off. Reese did a tremendous job yesterday under crappy conditions. Receivers not looking for the ball when the pass hits them resulting in an interception. Reese did not commit one personal fowl out there. We had 4 of them. Discipline was totally lacking with our team. It’s one game. Better learn quick, because it only gets tougher. Notre Dame kept the mostly non-productive SFU offense in the game. Even our rock solid field goal kicker sucked. I bet even the water boy probably forgot how to fill up the Gatorade container. I’m surprised that the band remembered how to play the fight song!

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    John1985 replied on September 4th, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    You don’t throw that pass when the receiver is not looking. If he wasn’t looking yet, you can’t be sure he will. This wasn’t a timing route trying to hit the receiver on the break. To further your point about others misstakes, Crist didn’t drop 5 catchable throws, fumble on the one, fumble a punt or commit any personal fouls. If Rees would have started, the game could have easily turned out the same way.

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    Guy replied on September 5th, 2011 at 9:26 pm

    Hmm. Saw Kellen Moore in the BSU game hit receivers all day long before they looked on timing routes. The announcer even commented on it. I was very supportive of Crist, but he obviously showed a lack of confidence and the team seems to respond to Rees. I think there’s a certain IT factor that QBs have to have and I just don’t see that in Crist.

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    John1985 replied on September 5th, 2011 at 10:04 pm

    The key words are timing and route. The interception that hit Jones was not a timing route. I’m sure if Rees keeps throwing 2 INT’s a half, he’ll show us that IT factor. Should have benched Riddick and Jones before Crist.

  • Guy commented on September 4th, 2011 at 11:30 am

    See, I’m even crappy. Can’t spell Rees’ name right. Personal fowl- Spelling. 5 yard penalty, loss of down!

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    irisheye62 replied on September 4th, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    Guy-Like the sense of humor.
    I’m rolling.
    Heck, during the game I went out and bought a southern comfort–it was as numbing as being down 16-0 along with the teams deer in the headlights look. Here is hoping that Michigan will have a big disappointment in the night game next week. SFU had speed on top of capitalizing on ND errors. They were awake -we were not after the fumble. If we played today the game is 40-13 Irish. ( I know if If’s and buts were candy and nuts -we’d all be fat and jolly)
    GO IRISH -the season is STILL VERY YOUNG.

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  • IrishChan commented on September 4th, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    Crist couldn’t muster a point in the 1st half? He drove the offense down USF throat only to have his power back fumble the football for a 97 yard TD. Then he responded by driving the ball down the field AGAIN only to have a TD called back and a TD pass dropped.

    His receivers were dropping balls like CRAZY! Balls that were absolutely catchable! I still believe the Crist can lead the team to victories.

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    John1985 replied on September 4th, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    Agreed.

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    nathanrmarshall replied on September 4th, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    Absolutely and thank you for saying this. I felt as if I was the only one who saw this.

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    Ultimate Irish Fan replied on September 4th, 2011 at 11:27 pm

    You ARE the only one who still thinks Crist can lead our team! Didn’t U see the total panic & loss of confidence on his face after our first possession & the unfirgetable turnover turned TD by USF? I don’t blame Brian for leaving Crist in to finish the quarter – but I’m glad & relieved he had the guts to pull him for the 2nd half. As a QB – U either “have it” or you don’t. Crist doesn’t have “it”. Rees does. Just sit back & watch. Especially in 2012 & 2013.

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  • Ep commented on September 4th, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    When Crist is in, I feel unsettled. When Rees is in, I feel more at ease. Crist is another accident waiting to happen. Rees is a champion waiting to happen. Give Rees the job and by his senior year he’ll be confident and doing great. Crist’s time s over.

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    John1985 replied on September 4th, 2011 at 6:08 pm

    I feel just the opposite. If we aren’t going to play Crist. Put Hendrix in and see what he can do. Rees is a nice backup.

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    JohnDC replied on September 5th, 2011 at 12:29 am

    Why do you consider Rees “backup” material? Because he was a 3star recruit? Is that why? If he was a 5 star you’d be singing his praises.

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    John1985 replied on September 5th, 2011 at 11:30 am

    Wow! You must be able to read minds to tell me what I might be thinking in a hypothetical scenario. I could care less about recruiting stars. In my opinion, he’s a back up, because he does not have the ability to extend the field. He has yet to have a pass for over 40 yards, and in only 3 games has he had passes of over 30. A defense does not have to respect a deep threat, because he can’t get the ball down field. I recall that he tried a couple, and they were ugly. He’s very accurate for 15 yards, but the further out you get his accuracy quickly diminishes. Too many picks. Ten in six full games and a couple of brief appearances. At this point, on his own, he cannot win a team a game. He can not make mistakes and not lose a game. Unfortunately on Saturday, he threw two costly picks. While everyone puts the Tulsa loss on Crist, I put it on Rees. Crist played 6 plays. For me that is a loss for Rees, so I don’t consider him undefeated.

  • Patrick commented on September 4th, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    I love how all the people on here who praised Crist are eating there words right now. His biggest weakness is his head and he proved that. Start Rees and we’ll go 10-2. Start Crist and it’s 6-6.

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    notredmirsh7 replied on September 4th, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    10 -2? i wish! I love the irish but do you guys honestly think we are that great? I will go with what i said at the being of the year a 9-3 or a 8-4 reguler season and bowl victory is where we are at. we have some big issues to solve first.

    get some recivers floyd is all we got right now

    get a qb for this system.

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    jack replied on September 4th, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    Yes, 10-2 is capable. They commited 5 turnovers and lost by a field goal. Last year Miami committed 5 turnovers and ND hung 34 on them. If this team doesn’t beat itself, it can easily win 10 games. Both lines looked good.

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    Kip replied on September 6th, 2011 at 4:41 am

    That’s the problem Jack, this team does beat itself. Heck, you could say that about any top 25 team in the nation, “If we don’t beat ourselves we can win 10 games.” DUH!! If a team takes care of the football and doesn’t make mistakes they will win. Unfortunately Theo Riddick wet the bed when it mattered most. He is scared to catch a punt with people running at him and his confidence/focus was immediately lost..note his multiple drops. I thought Coach Longo was going to have this team mentally tough and all the hard work was going to pay off. Well, at least for game one, it obviously didn’t work for everyone. I would start Toma against Michigan. Crist is done for the season too. Quit defending him and saying it was other peoples faults. Sure, they dropped passes and he would have led them to two touchdown drives, but it was his body language and lack of leadership that showed. He was distraught after those plays and shower zero emotion. You want a level headed quarterback, but heck, at least show some “want to” and let the team know you are going to lead them back out there and score! I wish he would get as fired up as Brian Kelly. It is good to see him that emotional. Some people didn’t like it, but does he pat them on the helmet and say “It’s OK, we’re Notre Dame, people expect us to do this?” NO way, good for him. If a player can’t handle someone yelling in his face, he won’t be able to handle adversity on the field either. Go IRISH, GO TOMMY REES!

    Michael the Archangel replied on September 5th, 2011 at 1:11 am

    Rees seems more at ease, but Crist, being the better athlete, is better suited to run Kelly’s offense – so it’s a catch 22.
    What we gain with Rees is a better passing game; what we might lose is the mobility and athleticism Kelly prefers in a QB. I’d give Crist the start, and be ready to pull him if he shows the uncertainty he displayed during PART of his start – he got little help from most of his offensive, and I do mean offensive, supporting cast

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    John1985 replied on September 4th, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    If Rees can keep throwing two interceptions a half, the offense will be in great shape. We’ll probably even go 11-1. Bench Jones. Bench Riddick. Toma supposedly had a great Fall. Give him a shot. It doesn’t matter if you are a playmaker if you don’t catch the ball.

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    nathanrmarshall replied on September 4th, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    Your comment is ridiculous. Eating their words? If you really watched the game and not just the stat line you would see that Crist got no help. I am even more of a believer in Crist now because after the INT, which was right after the dropped TD pass by Jones, he threw a nice ball to pick up the first only to have Riddick drop it. And then on the next drive same thing except Eifert dropped it. And then Kelly succumbing to the boos of him running the ball and he pulls Crist for the rest of the team performing so terribly.

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  • C-Dog commented on September 4th, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    It’s not all about the QB. Rees does appear to be the choice right now. However,there still seems to be a lack of mental toughness. Other than Floyd, the receiving corps looks not too tough. Talented and speedy, but not tough. Also, Gray seems to need some toughening. Mental toughness means working on all the little elements such as holding the ball when running up the gut, knowing someone will try to rip it. It just cannot take three to four games to get going.

    My concern is more for the rest of the team. A better power running game would solve some of this. Just look at LSU, possibly, the SEC’s national champ this year.

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    Teo replied on September 4th, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    This is absolutely the case. The quarterback is important. But receivers dropped a lot of good throws from both qb’s, and Gray fumbled early in the game and defensive players missed assignments.

    There is a question of mental toughness here. We’ll see how next week goes in Ann Arbor.

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  • notredmirsh7 commented on September 4th, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    All this crist and rees talks. mark my word I told my friend last week before it’s all said and done. Andrew Hendrex will be are starting qb. with golston behind him. But I do agree rees had a very good half of football. I believe that crist is an awesome qb but his problem is number 1 is his knees gives him problem when he throws. and number 2 he was recruit as a pro style qb and he is not a spread qb. i hate to say this. he was stupid not to transfer after last season knee injury.

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  • John1985 commented on September 4th, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    I highly disagree that Rees was better. Most of Crist’s incompletions (5)were drops of easily catchable balls. Rees only suffered 1 drop. The interception off of Jones was Rees’ fault (he even said so). There are routes where the qb throws before the wr is looking, but those are designed to get to the wr right after the break. You don’t throw to a receiver that still not looking after crossing that far over the field. While Rees’ arm strength is better, it’s not that good. He still can’t make all of the throws especially when he has to move.

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    Kip replied on September 6th, 2011 at 4:48 am

    Rees said so because that’s what a good QB does…shoulder the blame. There is a reason Coach Kelly was yelling at T.J. Crist didn’t have easily catchable balls. His pass to T.J. on the slant was well defended and his pass to Eiffert was well behind him when he was wide open. He throws a 4 yard pass on a 3rd and 7 and then missed high to Michael Floyd on an EASY slant route to move the chains on the next drive. REES might not be able to make all the throws, but he has the confidence to make them and this isn’t a deep route developing offense anyways. It is a quick strike, get the ball to your playmakers offense. Crist might have had some drops, but the biggest drop was in his confidence. I think deep down, Crist would have rather sat on the bench than continue playing. He was still wildly innacurate, and couldn’t handle BK yelling at him. Did you not notice his Deer in the Headlights look on his face. He was in WAY over his head.

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  • cav commented on September 4th, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    Wow, I’m reading a lot of posts on this site and it is truly the end of the world. Fire Kelly, bench the whole team, and we will start off 0-4. Maybe I missed something, but the 2nd half of the ball game, we outscored them 20-7.

    I was thinking about the whole situation and Rees was the guy who was there when things turned around last year, not Crist. Crist hasn’t played in a meaningful game since Oct of last year. He was not the one leading the team to 4 straight victories, Rees was. The offense just seems more comfortable with Tommy in there. Putting Crist back in there to start the season just broke the flow from last year, it was axs if the offense had to adjust to whole new QB once again. I know Crist has all the tools, but Rees has the trust.

    We do not need a QB that lights the world on fire, we need a guy that can manage the game. The defense held them to 245 yards and 16 points. We should win these games every time. I for one, do not think this is the end of the world, I think it is a team that has some work to do, but can still win 9-10 games.

    It’s year 2 people, none of the great ND coaches won a National Championship in year 2. This team is still growing, Kelly is still recruiting his kind of players, and this team still needs some time. The foundation that is being built here is so much different than the previous coaches. I’m so sick of our microwave society that is ready to pull the plug so fast.

    It wasn’t that long ago that we were all complaining that we couldn’t stop anybody. This team has given up an average of 11.2 points over the last 5 games it has played. This offense racked up over 500 yards in the game. If we don’t shoot ourselves in the foot and we blow this team out. We have a lot of positives to build on, so I for one am going to enjoy next week. Yes it is another big test, but that is what I love about ND, they play good teams week in and week out.

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  • storespook commented on September 4th, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    Well, yesterday’s game was quite sickening to watch. There were many negative things that have been clearly stated here (and other blog/forum sites I have read). There are objective and subjective aspects that make eup the QB position. Though Dayne has many of the objective, it is the subjective aspects I believe he is lacking and where Rees appears better acclimated. I believe at this point, Rees should be the starter b/c this team responded better in his presence versus Crist’s (even with the fumble, dropped balls, the picks, etc that happened in the first half). We are still playing though with a mismatched offensive game scheme/plan-QB type and that is frustrating. I would hope to see Goolsen move up and even play the offense that Kelly is actually wanting to fully implement. Rees can run it, but, it reminds me a lot of the 2006 Florida squad that had Chris Leake playing QB in a similar spread option that b/c he was a good athlete & passer (and having good athletes on that team), they were able to have the year they did. Look what Tebal was able to accomplish in Meyer’s version of that offense the following 3 years. To me, it feels similar where we have 2 QB’s more situated for the offense Kelly wants to truly run and doesn’t fully b/c of some “physical” limitations of both Rees & Crist. The defense played well, given the offense put them in a position that wasn’t too favorable to start with on way to many occasions. I would also suggest to Coach Kelly he review some of the taped segments of his sideline demeanor and think about whether some of his responses to what was occurring on the field was helpful to the team. This loss (and more so the manner) occurred because some “noggin” space of the players were not focused and the coaching staff DID NOT have this team ready to play at it’s fullest. I’m not advocating Kelly get out of town (as I have read on different fan forums today)nor am I booking a ticket on Fairweatherfan airlines, but, there better be some differences in the upcoming weeks or we will have a long 2011 fall. I think a fair and reasonable time schedule to fully assess a program is 3 years (and there are many out there that agree with that).If things like yesterday are occurring on a continued basis into next year, then, if I were AD, I’d fly down to Alabama, meet with Nick Saban and offer him a blank check he wants to fill in to become a headcoach at a university located in South Bend (Ok, Ok, I am dreaming). My grandfather played football for Rockne back in the 20’s. I love Irish football. I just hate losing games we probably should have won. GO IRISH!

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  • George commented on September 4th, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    Highly disagree that Rees was better?? haha! It isnt really an opinion but a matter of fact that not only Rees WAS better yesterday but Rees IS better in general. Crist might have all the tools, ideal size, smarts, ect, but when it comes to the actual game, he cannot get it done OBVIOUSLY. He’s not accurate. The end. The team simply responds to Rees much better. Rewatch the game if you dont belive that. Crist had some bad breaks, so he’s not to fault for theloss, but Rees turned the game around. Look at his stats…. and all that during obvious passing situations. Plus Rees hasnt lost a game as a starter yet. Doest that mean anything?!?!? Give the guy the benefit of the doubt for Christ sakes…. at least till he loses one.

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    nathanrmarshall replied on September 4th, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    Crists stats would be ten times better if his recievers would have caught the balls. These werent a drop on 1st down where you have two more plays to pick it up these were third down drive killing drops. Nomore plays except to punt. That makes a ll the difference in the world.

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    George replied on September 4th, 2011 at 8:39 pm

    Receivers dropped balls for both QB’s, including passes off the helmet. Forget stats then, if you’d like. Just look at the scoreboard. Zero points first half, three TD’s in the second. Crist got benched for a REASON. It certainly wasnt because he was doing everything right while the blame lied squarely on the receivers. If his throws were really on the money then he would have stayed in the game. But he’s inaccurate. Sorry but thats his downfall. If you think Kelly made a terrible mistake by pulling Crist, then you should make that your argument. If you think ND would have won if Kelly left Crist in the game, then state that. Again, Rees is 4-0 as a starter, including wins against USC, Utah and Miami. I dont understand why people want to simply disregard the fact that Rees is undefeated as the starter. I always thought winning vs. losing was somewhat important. Rees played pretty well and made a game out of it coming off the bench. The offense just responds to him better than Crist. If Crist gets back on the field then I want him to do great more than anyone. But I dont see that happening. He’s a senior. He should have been ready.

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  • cav commented on September 4th, 2011 at 3:32 pm

    Just listened to Kelly’s Sunday Press Conference and he said something very interesting. He talked about how Rees doesn’t seem to let the pressure of the game get to him. Doesn’t seem to get overly anxious about anything and just goes out and plays. After hearing that, I thought about Crist and he does seem to get anxious. Rees just always seems calm and Crist doesn’t seem to respond well to the pressure. Kelly indirectly called out a few of his players saying they need to get used to playing in front of 81,000.

    He said they are still evelauting who should start, but by the way he was talking, it looks like they are going to be moving back to Rees as the starter. Said they had a meeting at 4 and then they were going to talk with the QB’s before announcing the decision.

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    nathanrmarshall replied on September 4th, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    Sounds to me like Kelly is making Dayne the scapegoat. I watched the game and it looked as if Dayne got right back into the game after the INT but the receivers weren’t in it. Riddick played terribly other than 2 nice catches but he had costly drops and the muffed punt.

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  • George commented on September 4th, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    If I woke up tomorrow with my head sewn to the carpet, I wouldn’t be more surprised than I was when Ruffer missed that FG

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    Ultimate Irish Fan replied on September 4th, 2011 at 11:30 pm

    Amen, Brother. Amen.

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  • irisheye62 commented on September 4th, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    BTW, I’m glad we did NOT open with a cupcake like Akron such as the local team did here in Columbus, Ohio. The North High Street Institution media is speaking of “overcoming the difficult odds set against them off the field by conquering on the field.” LOL-they played Akron! ( Sorry ladies and gentlemen I had to vent ot some fellow Irish fans because C-town, North High Street in the land of the nut ( buckeye) is a bit much to take day after day 24/ 7 /365.
    Furthermore, the crowd, media and my neighbors always have “suggestions” as to what Notre Dame ” should” do.
    Yep, I’d rather lose to SFU then beat Akron. Crazy sounding yes-but the air in Columbus, Ohio is thick with venom towards every other team and making excuses for the pathetic thugs whose GPA might muster a 2.0 in basketweaving ( which is more difficult than most think )
    GO Irish

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  • nathanrmarshall commented on September 4th, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    Its funny how Crist wasn’t the same after the INT when 2 out of his last 3 incompletions 2 were drops. Drops that would have gone for first downs. Everyone iscting as if they watched the game but really only listened to ESPN to tell them that Crist finished 7/15 for 95 yds and an INT so obviously he played terribly. He had a TD dropped, then he had two first down passes dropped. He only had 95 yds because of these drops. They stalled drives into 3 and outs when both should have been first downs. He was on point and no one was doing anything to help him, why did no one else see this?

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    Kip replied on September 6th, 2011 at 5:03 am

    Because his pass to T.J. wasn’t a TD drop. It was a difficult catch to make because the defender had GREAT coverage. Crist made a good pass but if he puts it lower instead of throwing high(which he always does on slants…see Michael Floyd overthrow) he catches it easy. Also, Eifferts third down drop should have been an easy pass and catch but Crist throws it behind him and makes him adjust while running full speed and reach behind him. Should he have caught it? Yes. Did Crist make it twice as difficult? Yes. Once again, inaccuracy haunts him. Riddick had a dropped pass which was placed well, but I don’t even know what planet Riddick was on when Saturday rolled around. If he was overwhelmed by 81,000 AT HOME, wait until he plays in front of 100,000+ at the BIG HOUSE, at night when the fans will be wasted and belligerant, and on national TV. I almost don’t want to watch. Start Goodman at PR, and Toma at slot and ease Riddick into the game since he obviously couldn’t handle the bright lights last week.

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  • Irish commented on September 4th, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    Yesterday was truly one of the wierdest games I have ever seen. Unfortunately for Crist, if we score on the opening drive we most certainly go on to win and this controversy is mute. I applaud Rees for what he did yesterday and maybe the guy is just a gamer, but the coaching staff had 6 months to figure this out and I trust their opinion on Crist. You have to wonder at this point though if the team has given up on Crist and wants Tommy in there. The QB decision of who to start at Michigan will be critical to the rest of the season. If Crist goes out and has a bad first half his career is done, if Tommy goes out and they don’t look productive then what? I honestly think I would give Crist one more shot. You can’t blame him for everything that happened yesterday, it was one of those games that wasn’t meant to be. Additionally, Tommy has proven he can come off the bench if need be, we don’t know if Dayne can do that.

    It’s time to circle the wagons, we weren’t going undefeated anyway so we can still win 9 or 10 and have a great year. USF is a pretty solid team and you can’t beat good teams playing like that. Maybe the pressure is off the team a bit and the expectations now gone the hunger can really come back.

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    Teo replied on September 4th, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    I think the biggest question is where is Crist? His worst throw, in my opinion, was the Lattimore interception in the back of the end zone. That — there is just no way you can make that throw in that location. It has to be high enough so that only the receiver can catch it.

    The kid has a great arm. It seems to be his head that is the problem. To be sure, if we score on that opening drive when Crist essentially marched them 80 yards, things may be completely different and he may not have needed so many completions at various points in the first half. But that is not how it happened.

    And we needed a lot of key passes.

    It’s frustrating because I know the kid has a great arm.

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    Ultimate Irish Fan replied on September 4th, 2011 at 11:34 pm

    You need a LOT more than a good arm to be ND’s starting QB. Tommy can handle the pressure, BK’s tirades, 81,000 fans & a lot more. Not bad for a 19 yr old who has already earned the starting posistion in my book. Don’t look back, Brian.

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    Chuck replied on September 5th, 2011 at 10:43 pm

    But of course it’s the head that’s disjointed with Crist. It all goes back to last season’s concussion.

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  • Brandon commented on September 4th, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    I think everyone is overreacting after the loss. I was a Crist believer before the game, but I have changed my mind. He does not have the mental toughness. There are players who practice well and players who PLAY well. Although, I don’t think Rees is great. I do think he gives us a better chance of winning. He is much more accurate and smart with the ball. The first interception was the receivers fault, not his.

    On a positive note, we turned the ball over 5 times and ONLY lost by 3! Our defense looked good and 9 of the points were because the offense was given the ball at the 20 yd line and 7 pts were off of a fumble. USF really only drove on ND one time the whole game. Notre Dame did move the ball almost every drive and the running game looked good, mainly Cierre Wood. I still believe we can win the majority of our games and that some of our turnovers were just fluke occasions. I think if we played USF 10 times we’d prob beat them 8 times. Those turnovers would not happen every time. I’m gonna stay patient and I’ll make more judgments after the Michigan game. #LetUsPray #WeAreND

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  • JohnDC commented on September 4th, 2011 at 8:21 pm

    What really bothers me about this qb debate is that I feel like a) people are not giving rees enough credit for his level of play and b) I feel a lot of this Is simply because Rees was a 3 star recruit and crist was a 5 star recruit. If Rees had 5 stars next to his name a lot more people would be fine with him as the starting qb. you think if crist was a 3 star recruit, so many people on this message board would be defending him? The answer is No.

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    George replied on September 4th, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    I couldnt agree more. And just for the record, Crist didnt get his 5th star until real late.

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  • Damian commented on September 4th, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    I live in an area with a lot of Penn State fans. When I see Dayne Crist play, I can’t help but see some of their former quarterback Anthony Morelli. They are different quarterbacks in a lot of ways and I think Crist is better technically. But the similarity is they are both headcases. Morelli had a cannon for an arm, but any time something went wrong, he just completely loss confidence and would start fumbling and throwing interceptions. Crist is the same way. He can certainly outduel Morelli on the field if all is going well, but as soon as things don’t go his way, he falls apart. Rees is much better in that regard. He makes a mistake, next series he can go out there and put together a touchdown drive. Starting the year, I agreed with Frank that Crist was the best starting quarterback, but I had reservations because I saw some of those traits in Crist. I saw it again yesterday. Unfortunately, if Crist is a headcase, it is not likely he will ever grow out of that. Morelli was one until he graduated, and at this point I just don’t see Crist be any different.

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  • Matt commented on September 5th, 2011 at 9:53 am

    Rees just has the intangibles which can’t be taught. He is a winner, doesn’t get rattled, and the ND team appears more confident when he is in the game. Crist could have been a good one, but injuries, and as mentioned, not being the best fit for the spread offense have hurt him. He deserved his chance to be the starter and maybe if a few plays go differently, he goes on to have a great year. But, it wasn’t meant to be. The great ones seem to take advantage of their opportunities like Rees has so far and should continue to in the future.

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  • cav commented on September 5th, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    Crist’s last significant playing time was the Navy game and he had that look of not being comfortable. I watched him on Saturday and he had that same look.

    On the other hand, here are some comments from Brian Kelly:

    “Tommy goes in there, and the game is not difficult for him,” Kelly said of Rees’ performance in a comeback that fell short. “He’s obviously got to get better in a lot of areas, but he doesn’t go into the game and appear at any time to be overwhelmed or anxious. We had some guys that were a little anxious in their first game. He doesn’t have that. He’s always seemed very comfortable running out on the field. It’s always been a strength of his.”

    The formula for success last year was Rees managing the offense and establishing a running game. Kelly said Rees is better this year, so let’s see Rees and a running game at the Big House.

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  • Peter commented on September 5th, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    Seriously does anyone really want to go to a BCS game and play the likes of LSU, Florida St., Oklahoma, Alabama….not me! We are obviously not there yet and until we get a someone who can run a Kelly style offense look for similar results up and down the schedule. Golson is more of what we need….sit back and bite your nails for a few more years then watch out!!!!

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  • George commented on September 5th, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    I’d rather lose in a close, hard fought BCS bowl than mop the floor with some scrubs in a Hawaii Bowl or Sun Bowl. Im looking forward to Golson starting down the road too, but right now Im more concerned with beating the teams on our schedule. And to address the jist of your comment, no, I dont think anyone considers ND to be a top, TOP tier team right now, or anytime THIS year. But certainly we shouldnt fear a BCS bowl game.

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  • Patrick commented on September 5th, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    I consider ND a top tier team – based on what they showed me between the 20’s on Saturday. Let’s not forget USF is a very good team – and they had no answer for Wood, Floyd, etc. The problems revolved around two things – 1) mental errors and 2) Dayne Crist’s play.

    What I saw from Crist Saturday was EXACTLY what I saw last year. Lack of mental toughness, lack of leadership and to put it plainly, bone-headed passes. And, what I saw from Rees was exactly what I saw last year – precise passes, accuracy and the ability to command a drive.

    This is a no-brainer to me, bench Crist and start Rees. Dayne has had over a YEAR to mentally and emotionally prepare himself, correct his mistakes and live up to the hype. He failed miserably. I don’t care how tall he is, how big he is, how hard he throws. NONE of it matters in a game.

    That can’t be said for Rees. Yes, he isn’t the biggest, fastest or hardest thrower. But he wins.

    I seem to remember another Notre Dame QB like that . . . what was his name . . . . Joe Montana.

    So stop focusing on size, on paper stats – and focus on REAL stats. Crist in the game? 0 points. Rees? 20. Start Rees last week and the USF game is a W.

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  • LittleJohn commented on September 5th, 2011 at 11:22 pm

    I have begun following Notre Dame because I like Brian Kelly, who coached here in Grand Rapids for GVSU. It doesn’t take me long to read people, and I could see in the Michigan game last year that Crist should not be the quarterback. Yes, he has a pro quarterback’s body, but you just never know how a player will respond at the next level, especially when they are hyped ahead of time. When I was in grade school I dominated in football. I expected to be good in high school but my body did not keep up with the other kids, and my confidence was not there, and my first 3 years in high school were a nightmare. I finally recovered by senior year, but it was a huge mental battle to do so.

    I could see right away with Crist that he did not have the right mindset for college football, he was not the right leader for the team, and I felt he cost them games last season. I also felt his injury was a blessing in disguise. Finally young Rees stepped up and helped them salvage the season, even beating Miami in spite of throwing all those interceptions. I have not been confident about Crist since last season, I just do not see that passion and heart from Crist, and never have. You got Kelly just about popping blood vessels over there on the sideline, and then there is Crist…

    So, Rees is a player. Let the kid play. If I was gonna put money on this Michigan game, I’d bet Michigan is gonna win if Crist starts, but if Rees starts, and after this humbling they just had, why can’t Notre Dame have a blow-out game under the lights in the Big House this Saturday night? I would put my money on Notre Dame if Rees is their leader.

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  • cav commented on September 6th, 2011 at 12:45 am

    Here is the real issue a lot of people are struggling with. ND is not a national powerhouse anymore and we get so mad when they don’t win because we still think it is 1988. USF wasn’t intimidated by ND, they expected to win. It is going to take a few more games like the Utah and Miami game last year before that will happen.

    Since Holtz left, ND has gone 99-74, which is a 58% winning percentage. I am a fan of ND, but I’m also facing reality. Brian Kelly has a mess to clean up because there has been 14 years of mediocre football. Anything over 7 wins is an improvement and we should be estatic if this team wins 9 or more games. Kelly keeps talking about the process and one of the things he has to remove from ND is the loser mentality. That feeling of here we go again when Gray fumbles the football. Most of these players have been on those teams that suffered though that including Crist. Rees, on the other hand, wasn’t, which is why he is calm. He wasn’t here for the heartbreaks that was the norm for Weis last 2 teams.

    So, I’m choosing to focus on what I see is a tremendous positive, this defense has given up an average of 11.2 points over the last 5 games. Kelly is recruiting studs to the defense on the line and in the secondary. This Longo is transforming these guys right before our eyes. Also, despite all the mistakes, this offense did put up over 500 yards and outscored USF 20-7 in the second half.

    I want to see how this team plays in Michigan, it will tell a lot about there character. Who knows, maybe they beat the crap out of them and we can start talking BCS again.

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  • Kip commented on September 6th, 2011 at 5:17 am

    Three keys to the Michigan game:
    1) Tommy Rees has to be the starter. Everyone plays better with him, he doesn’t get rattled, and his calming presence will likely settle the nerves of the other guys (Riddick in particular) that seemed to be a bit shaken. Rees also knows how to get the ball to our playmakers. Michael Floyd had 2 catches in the first half, 10 in the second. Sure we passed more, but Rees feeds the ball into Floyd because he has enough sense to realize the man is a stud.

    2) Contain Denard Robinson. Michigan ran the ball well against what some people considered a “solid d-line” of Western…but I am not buying it. Western is not solid and Michigan hasn’t been tested. I don’t think South Florida will be as good as Michigan in the run game but I would say we are twice as good as Westerns front 7. We can shut down their run but a frightening site last weekend was how easily we lost contain to B.J. Daniels. He doesn’t have the speed of Denard, but if he did, there would have been some huge gains. Michigan has went to a more traditional style of offense so Denard isn’t running as much, but when you play Western Michigan you can afford to stay in the pocket and work on your skills as a passer. When things get rough and pressure is applied, his natural instincts will take over and he will become a threat to run again. We MUST contain him this year. We had too many missed tackles and bad angles agains this guy and must shore that up.

    3) Special Teams. Ben Turk was atrocious. I am willing to bet he shanked more punts in that one game than he does in an entire practice of doing nothing but punting. He HAS to get that fixed because the field position battle is going to be huge in this one. David Ruffer missed a chip shot field goal which makes that two in a row dating back to last year. Hopefully it was bad footing or something that caused it, but he is a critical part of our team. Punt Returns were the worst. I don’t know what is needed to get Theo Riddicks’ confidence back, but he HAS to catch every ball and make some plays. If not, please stick John Goodman back there to fair catch everything. I wish we still had that walk on guy from a couple years back who NEVER fair caught anything. I forget his name, but Riddick should get the film out and look at him. You aren’t going to return to glory by being afraid to get him by gunners on the punt return team. Man up, catch the ball, and make some plays.

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