The Notre Dame fan base has mixed feelings on Tommy Rees being named offensive coordinator for the Fighting, and that shouldn’t surprise anyone. Rees was the most polarizing player in the last 25 years for Notre Dame. On Wednesday though, Rees received one gigantic – literally – ringing endorsement from former Irish great Quenton Nelson.
The Notre Dame great turned NFL All-Pro offensive guard had this to say on Twitter this morning.
Great news for Notre Dame. He’s as sharp as they come, has played the game at a high level, and a Coach players are gonna go out and play their ass off for. Congrats Coach Rees, deserved. https://t.co/QUxZRK2qwR
— Quenton Nelson (@BigQ56) January 14, 2020
Nelson is only two years removed from being on the Notre Dame roster and overlapped with Rees during his first year back with the program as a coach in 2017. He wasn’t the only one to endorse the move, either. Sam Mustipher, another former Notre Dame offensive lineman, took to Twitter after news broke.
Awesome. Excited to see how Coach Rees’ knowledge and passion for the game along with his understanding of the demands that come with playing at ND affects the offense. https://t.co/RTZr8tes5b
— Sam Mustipher II (@smustipher53) January 14, 2020
Their words echo the reported sentiment of the current team, though – they all love Rees and endorse his promotion.
The Tom Rees promotion is interesting for a multitude of reasons. One of them is this is what the players wanted internally. Maybe that’s causation. Maybe it’s coincidence. But it’s significant to the chemistry of this upcoming offseason.
— Pete Sampson (@PeteSampson_) January 14, 2020
The jury is still on this hire obviously, and only time will tell if Kelly made the right move entrusting the direction of the offense to his former quarterback turned coaching protege. One thing is obvious though, Kelly prioritized the relationship the players had with Rees in the wake of reports that Chip Long was let go because he was unable to connect with the players on a personal level. Long reportedly was not well-liked by the players on the roster, and that is apparently not the case at all with Rees.
Rees’s age will be brought up a lot by critics of the move, but Rees is only a few years younger than LSU’s Joe Brady, who just parlayed one year with the Tigers into a move to the NFL with the Carolina Panthers. Los Angeles Rams head coach, Sean McVay, was also only 31 years old when he was named as a head coach in the NFL and was around the same age as Rees when he was named offensive coordinator for the Washington Redskins.
Those who have played while Rees has been on the Notre Dame staff seem to like the hire though. Whether or not that does anything to change the minds of those who were against Rees ever even being a candidate remains to be seen.