Brian Kelly Praising Tommy Rees’s Experience So Far

Tommy Rees- Fall Camp 2013
Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback Tommy Rees (11) throws during practice at the LaBar Practice Complex. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

As a member of the Notre Dame football program, senior quarterback Tommy Rees has truly felt the thrill of victory and the agony of  defeat. From starter, to back-up, and now starter again, Rees is hoping to implement the lessons he learned as a reserve, into a starting role that he has obtained for the second time in his career while a member of Irish football team.

During Brian Kelly’s opening press conference he was asked what the reasoning behind naming Tommy Rees the starter right now, as opposed to letting fall practice play out, and making a decision then? Kelly responded by saying “He was the most experienced, and gave us the best opportunity to win against Temple” While his comment may be a truthful one, it in no way indicated that Kelly and his staff are absolutely set on Rees the rest of the way “ I didn’t name him the starter for all 13 games, I named him the starter verse Temple. My expectations are that he will take the job and continue to lead our football team” While Kelly seems confident in what Rees can bring to the table this year, he was clear in the fact that it is incumbent upon Rees himself to follow though and substantiate that level of confidence.

In 2012 Rees was 34-59, for 436 yards, 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions, but as most know, it was less about stats, and more about results last year. Relegated to a back-up role, Rees saw action in only 9 games, but was extremely instrumental in match-ups against Michigan, Stanford, Brigham Young, and Pittsburgh.

Rees may be a lot of things, but oblivious to the scrutiny he is currently under is not one of them. While Kelly seems to have a softer approach these days, any fan who witnessed the aggressive approach that Kelly displayed on the side-lines towards Rees in 2011, understands the frustration level and the toll that the simple-minded mistakes made by Rees caused Kelly and his staff that year.

The success as a backup in 2012 for Tommy Rees is well documented, unfortunately for him so are the game costing mistakes of 2011. What coach Kelly is hoping for is that Rees has matured as player and a person, and will carry over the success of last year, and the mistakes of 2011 are a thing of the past. It is without question that Rees has a command of the offense and the playbook, but his ability to perform on the field as starter could will help determine how far the Irish of 2013 go in the hunt to return back to the BCS championship game on January 6th, in Pasadena.

With all that said though, it is important to point out the fact that while the Irish will be leaning on Rees an awful lot in the upcoming year, Rees will be just a dependant on them if they want to reach the same level of success as the previous year. While the offensive line looks to be as good if not better than in 2012, the rest of offensive pieces are not so set. The Irish are talented but inexperienced both in the backfield and at the wide receiver position, and no longer have safety valve Tyler Eifert to bail them out of trouble. Trust us when we say there are complex interlocking storylines that are going on, and the success of the Irish this year will be reliant on all the pieces fitting together, and not just that of Tommy Rees – although his piece seems to be the most important.

Kelly and Rees are both saying all the right things at this juncture, but one can only wonder as to how amicable their relationship will remain if the mistakes of 2011 start to become the mistakes of 2013. Irish fans can only hope that Rees’ propensity for turning the ball over at the worst times is a thing of the past, and we are positive that Rees himself is hoping this will be the case also.

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  1. I believe it will be the defense dictating how successful this team will be. I don’t think the fair haired wonder boy is going to be it. I could be wrong maybe the O will show up. It would be so better if EG was playing. Oh well.

    Go Irish

    1. Storespook,

      I share your pain, I’m with you on the defense. It’s entirely possible the defense will be a scoring machine this year.

      Yeah, Golson was my 1st choice and Zaire second. However, we all know about the magical chemistry between BK and Rees. I have no problem with it as long as BK does not lower the bar, and allow multiple turnovers per game with Rees as in the past.

      I’m OK with Rees starting and having success. If not, let the cards fall where they are going to fall. Again, I am with you and Todd, the defense will carry us a long way this year. The offense just needs to come along for the ride!


      1. Thanks JC, sometimes a little kick in the butt to remind me there’s more to the team than just the fair haired wonder boy. Yeah, I hope he is successful. I’d like to think a senior given his experience, would generate more enthusiasm. The QB play under BK at this point overall hasn’t consistently turned out as well as I was hoping when he arrived. I love defense and I AM DEFINITELY looking forward to seeing this year’s D.

        Goooo Irishhhhhh

    2. I agree the defense will have to carry this team much like last year and this group is certainly capable of doing this. I think so far that BK and his staff have kind of Whiffed at the QB position. The staff has done a great job at building this Defense and there are a lot of quality skill position players on the offensive side of the ball, but the QB position has been stuck in reverse since BK arrived. Transfers, poor decisions, bad luck, poor recruiting. I know everybody is high on Zaire but realistically that probably a couple years away with EG coming back next year.

  2. I believe Notre Dame will be better than a lot of people seem to think (AP poll has them 14th and I have seen other publications that have them ranked as low as 20th and 22nd). I think they will be better defensively due to much better depth and I am not worried about their offense. I know losing Golson is certainly not a positive and you simply don’t replace Eifert, but they have a lot of playmakers. I think Daniels, Jones, Atkinson, McDaniel, Bryant, Mahone, Folston, Niklas, Onwualu, Robinson, and others will be fine. They are relative unknowns right now but they will be fine – they just need a chance to play. Certainly, if they can minimize turnovers and stay healthy I believe they can be a top 10 team. On a down note, the injuries have already proven problematic. First Baratti is out for the season and now Mahone (high ankle sprain), Springmann (knee), and McDaniel (missing practices with unknown injury) are listed as injured. In addition, I heard that Spond has ended his playing career due to injury. I am very sorry to hear this – he seems to be a great kid and was certainly playing well.

  3. It is imperative the running game works. They play teams like ASU who
    have great at pass rushers. GO IRIS!

  4. Last year, he and “My People” Calabrese couldn’t outrun some cops. I sure hope he has been working on his speed! Guess it comes down to how well our O-Line does protecting him.

    I am an eternal optimist regarding Irish football. I think Tommy Rees is going to do a very good job and I will be rooting for him all the way!

    Go IRISH!


    1. I think our O-line will do pretty well.

      I’m more concerned about a bunch of unproven running backs who might be unaccustomed at picking up the blitz at the college level.

      I’ve seen that one too many times before.

      You can bet a defensive coordinator like Michigan’s Greg Matheson will test them early and often.

      1. ShazaYAM, 1) I could be wrong. (it happened before – ONCE) But isn’t it “Mattison”? 2) BK’s gotta realize that if you let the opposing defense dictate the game, you lose. I think he already does realize that. And that’s why, in a weird way, BK uses the offense to keep the opposing defense off the field. I know…sounds retarded. But it’s a new way of thinking. And BK is bringing the OLD SUCCESS back to Nota Dame with NEW THINKING.

      2. @ Ron Burgundy – You are correct, my friend. But I ws spelling “Notre” phonically – how it sounds – and I’m from Boston. (just some new thinking…)

  5. i’m rooting for him………mainly cuz i want a winning season………….but i’m taking a “believe it when i see it” approach to Tommy this season

  6. I’m a TR fan but he greatly benefited from the best TE in team history and one of the best WRs. Much different situation this season

  7. Re: old school, exactly! College football players develop exponentially during their short careers. Tommy proved it last year, coming off the bench cold and securing Ws.

    And enough already about Eifert being gone. You said same about Fasano, then Carlson, then Rudolph. ND is becoming Tightend U. Next man up.

  8. Bob, rather than looking back at Tommie’s sophomore year, it may be more relevant (and certainly more optimistic) to look at how he played in the Spring, what he did over the Summer, and how he is performing in camp so far. His command, overall strength, decision-making, confidence and arm strength all seem improved. We shall see, of course. But it is reassuring to have a thinking quarterback under center this year. Intelligence still pays off, especially at quarterback.

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