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Lynch returns to campus, other notes

Apr 10, 2012, 12:26 PM EDT

aaron lynch Sack

It appears the drama surrounding Aaron Lynch‘s absence from practice before Easter Break has come to an end. Both Irish Illustrated and are reporting that Lynch is back on campus. One source has confirmed the same for me as well. As noted by Brian Kelly when he spoke with the media last week, this has always been the plan.

That said, with a long holiday weekend and not much football to discuss, rumors and speculation were rampant, and Lynch’s return to the field Wednesday will likely be the only thing to end a mysterious absence that was simply explained as “personal reasons.” Whatever the reason for heading to his mother’s home in Ohio, the Irish defense is certainly fortified with Lynch in the lineup, and he’s expected to build off a freshman season that saw him lead the Irish in sacks.

We’ll hear more from head coach Brian Kelly on Wednesday, but for now any national crisis seems to be over.


While 2013 recruiting commitment James Onwualu isn’t the most decorated prospect on the Irish board, he has done more than his fair share to help build recruiting momentum for Notre Dame, working with quarterback Malik Zaire and offensive lineman Steve Elmer to help bring the once slow-blooming recruiting class into double digit commitments.

ESPN RecruitingNation’s Jared Shanker wrote an interesting article about the Cretin-Derham Hall running back/wide receiver, and the training regimen that’s helped turn him into one of the Midwest’s better prospects. Under the tutelage of Ted Johnson, another former Cretin running back and now a trainer in the Twin Cities that counts Michael Floyd among his clients, Onwualu has built power in a very untraditional way.

Johnson’s program is all movement and technique based. Instead a stack of 45-pound plates, the only weight working against Onwualu is his own frame. The emphasis is improving Onwualu’s posterior chain, an area Johnson said is where most athletes suffer injuries at in the collision sports.

At the Under Armour junior combine, Onwualu was one of the worst testers at the bench press, but he ran circles around his competition at the remaining drills.

Surprisingly still, strength is what separates Onwualu from his peers, his quarterback at Cretin-Derham Hall says.

“His strength allows him to break tackles anywhere on the field,” quarterback Conor Rhoda said. “He can turn a 10-yard hook into a 60-yard touchdown.”

The gripe with normal weight lifting programs, Johnson said, is they are set up to accommodate the lowest common denominator and not the elite athletes. A close friend of former Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis, Johnson said that was the case with the strength and conditioning program there, and it is the same issue with the programs throughout the country.

“You walk into a facility and see what the philosophy is: They got five million pounds of weights and that’s all they do,” Johnson said, “and it doesn’t necessarily translate into performance. All we need is space.”

The strength and conditioning program during the Weis era has already been beaten and buried, so there’s no use rehashing that now. But it’s interesting that Johnson has stayed in touch with Weis, and it’s clearly a different training perspective that Johnson adhere’s to, and one that’ll likely be healthier for maturing athletes still in high school.

Onwualu will be an interesting prospect to watch develop. He’s a unique athlete — as this article attests to — and his testing results at various combines show some of the skills that he’s developed. While his forty time isn’t at an elite level yet, he’s shown explosiveness in shuttle and short burst exercises, which help explain why he’s impressed so many schools. Combine that with the off-the-field intangibles and leadership that he’ll be bringing to Notre Dame, which are on display just about daily with his work on other Irish recruits, and its easy to see why Onwualu has been one of the Irish’s most valuable recruits.


Over the weekend, veteran scribe Lou Somogyi had a great answer when asked if he could remember a more maligned returning QB than rising junior Tommy Rees. His response was one that should raise more than an eyebrow or two of Irish fans, and serves as a wonderful reminder that college careers aren’t defined after two seasons. If they were, most people would have long forgotten about national champion Tony Rice.

Rice was one of the most maligned, doubted QBs I ever saw after that first varsity season of his. Tons of people saw him strictly as a one-dimensional athlete who was “not the answer” to take Notre Dame to the Promised Land as a quarterback.

Put him at running back, move him to receiver, have him return punts or kickoffs … but please, do not use him at QB. You can absolutely not beat great teams, like Miami or Michigan or USC, with an option QB. Miami especially proved that by the way it would stop Oklahoma option QBs such as Jamelle Holieway or Charles Thompson. (Of course, these same people didn’t note how Miami crushed drop-back passers even more.)

Somogyi went on to talk about the perfect prototype for the 1988 Irish offense: six-foot-five quarterback Kent Graham, who wowed Irish fans and reporters with his prodigious arm and high school reputation. At the time, the prevailing wisdom was — as Somogyi put it — “YOU CANNOT WIN AGAINST TOP TEAMS LIKE MIAMI WITH A #%^&*$ OPTION QUARTERBACK! WHEN IS THAT IDIOT HOLTZ GOING TO RECOGNIZE RICE CAN’T GET IT DONE!!!”

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told by readers or Irish fans that Notre Dame will never be able to win — especially against top competition — with a one-dimensional quarterback like Tommy Rees. Thanks to Lou for pointing out the wonderful parallels between that offseason and this one.

Now if only the similarities continue between the ensuing seasons…

  1. nudeman - Apr 10, 2012 at 1:08 PM

    1) It’s training “regimen”; not “regiment”.

    2) This will not be the last Lynch melodrama. As bern said on another post, he’s a total badass and the type of top 150 type who ND usually can’t get/doesn’t want. So this is just part of the package.

    3) I remember the Tony Rice era well. And yes, he was maligned. But comparing him to Rees is off base. Rice was unquestionably a great athlete. Fast, strong and a powerful (if erratic) arm. I can still see him racing down the near sideline for a 65 yd TD run vs USC in the Coliseum. So while he wasn’t the most refined QB, he was an elite physical talent. Tommy is none of those things and that’s what is driving ND Nation crazy right now.

    • Keith Arnold - Apr 10, 2012 at 1:45 PM

      Fixed. Thanks, Nude.

    • chicagoirish23 - Apr 10, 2012 at 1:53 PM

      Nudeman, I finally agree w/ you on something. I was only four when Rice was sprinting towards a national championship so I can’t really comment on how maligned of a QB he was entering that year but I think it’s safe to say that the guy had something he could do and do well. I like Tommy Rees, he is a good kid and truly is the right kinda guy for Notre Dame. However, the one thing Tommy is suppose to do well is getting the ball out quickly and safely. Sadly, that wasn’t the case this past season. Unlike Tony Rice, I think there are too many physical limitations on Tommy. He can’t throw the deep ball, he can’t run and he can’t protect it. I’m sorry, but being able to check the protection or switch to a running play doesn’t make you a game winner, it just makes you a game manager. I won’t be mad if Tommy wins the competition, I’ll be dissappointed in the other QBs on the roster if they can’t prove they are better but if Tommy leads ND on to the field, I’ll cheer for him like I do for all of them. If he plays poorly I’ll want Kelly to pull him but I’ll always want anybody that puts on the uniform to do well.

      • bb90grad - Apr 10, 2012 at 3:36 PM

        Chicago, you make me feel old; I was a soph at ND when Rice enrolled. All we knew is here’s a really fast kid from South Carolina. Almost forgot that Terry Andrysiak was the starter until injury.

        The ongoing QB discussions/comparisons continue to lead me to the same question: how long should it take for anyone to “learn the offense”? With Blair Kiel there was an Irish QB who started as a freshman and played most of 4 years. I am a fan and definitely not a coach, but were offenses back then that basic? It’s not like they still had straps on the unies to drag guys through the line.

        Can someone with more x’s and o’s enlighten?

      • poppyitis - Apr 11, 2012 at 5:25 PM

        bb90grad…..Talk about feeling old !!! I was 58 during the Rice era and enjoyed all his years. As a passer he was ‘something else’ but made up for it in other ways. As for Tommy, I too wish he was more athletic and explosive, but he isn’t so we need to live with it. I am SURE he does his very best. I would like to see Golson Hendrix and Keil out and about, but I will accept whomever Coach Kelly starts. Only he knows the situation and background of the other 3 and I am sure he WANT TO WIN as badly as we fans. So accept what he decided and root for whomever it is. Looking forward to his year. I still see year 2013 as the YEAR WE RETURN !!!!!!

    • andy44teg - Apr 10, 2012 at 5:43 PM

      The ONLY thing that Tommy Rees and Tony Rice have in common (other than the Notre Dame thing) is their initials. ANNNDDDD that’s it……

    • 1historian - Apr 12, 2012 at 1:20 PM

      1) Chill
      2) Happy Easter

    • 1historian - Apr 12, 2012 at 1:29 PM

      Reply #2

      I was in line to purchase a ticket for the 1994 Blue-Gold game (the day after Richard Nixon died) and there was a gentleman standing in line behind me who turned out to be Tony Rice. I didn’t recognize him but someone else did. He shook some hands, posed for pictures, and acted like the class act he was – and remains.

      I grant you folks your passion for ND and her football team, but the fact remains that the great majority of you are elitists, and you strongly suspect that your s..t doesn’t stink. It does.

      No matter what you think of Tommy Rees the fact remains that he is about 21 or 22 years old and he is doing his best.

      Driving ND Nation crazy? Gimme a break.

    • 1historian - Apr 12, 2012 at 1:30 PM

      There remains, of course the question – why should the MAN who led Notre Dame to the National Championship only 6 years prior be required to buy a ticket?

  2. seanb20124 - Apr 10, 2012 at 1:23 PM

    Let’s go Lynch

    • dickasman - Apr 10, 2012 at 1:25 PM

      Becareful what you ask for, he might….

  3. dickasman - Apr 10, 2012 at 1:28 PM

    I just want somebody who can play the position at least act like it. He did it for couple games but let the best man win this year. Don’t care who it is but dam it, play good kid!

    Good article on James Floyd. I do some odd workouts myself. THE REST OF THIS HAS BEEN DELETED BY KEITH. COME ON, MAN.

  4. mmanor01 - Apr 10, 2012 at 1:37 PM

    I am starting to route for Tommy. I obviously want the best man for the job and would love to see what Golson is made of, but it would also be great if Tommy turns into a star.

    • nudeman - Apr 10, 2012 at 1:51 PM

      I assume you mean you’re starting to “root” for Tommy.

      • Keith Arnold - Apr 10, 2012 at 2:46 PM

        Hey spelling guy… Enough.

      • nudeman - Apr 10, 2012 at 3:37 PM


  5. yllibnosredna - Apr 10, 2012 at 2:01 PM

    Good to hear Lynch has returned to campus…For that scenario, everything turned out as Kelly indicated. I completely agree with the prediction that Lynch will offer some future on/off field drama, but I think ultimately, he’ll remain at ND (at least through his Junior year) and, over the next couple years, spearhead a front seven that will likely be the best ND has had in close to two decades…How refreshing that is!

    As far as the Rees/Rice comparison, gotta agree with Nudeman as well on that one. May be wrong, and maybe he’ll pan out and progress into a very efficient, minimal mistake, successful quarterback. After all, Clausen seemed to evolve tremendously from his sophomore to junior year in the pro-style system. However, unlike with Quinn (from ’04 to ’05) and Clausen (from ’08 to ’09), I’m having a hard time seeing Rees getting much better and improving “tremendously” into his junior year. I think incremental progress is more likely with Rees because of–I’m sorry to be so redundant here–his low ceiling, athletically. Realistically, how much room is there for improvement with Rees–a few less turnovers, slightly more arm strength, a tad more quickness? With Tommy at the helm, I don’t exactly see this transforming the ND offense into an Oregon Spread attack (a la Thomas, Barner, and James in ’10 and ’11), which–correct me if I’m wrong–Kelly said his offense is suppose to resemble back in 2010.

    We’re quite a bit removed from last season and still months away from next season so it’s easier to be a bit more objective (and less pejorative) in assessing Rees when you’re not watching him throw directly into the teeth of an FSU defense (in the red-zone no less), and I’m still willing to trust that the coaching staff has a better sense of which QB has the most upside and presents success for 2012…However, it’s going to take a mammoth transformation from Rees for me to believe he’s the best guy to run the offense in 2012…Logically, for the spread, Golson or Hendrix seems the better choice despite some growing pains.

    • joeschu - Apr 10, 2012 at 2:41 PM

      That’s a very well written and logical comment. Thanks for sharing. I agree with almost everything you said, but frustratingly, I also went back to KA’s original article, and we’re validating the entire Somogyi argument.

      My only nit with this observation is the flaw others have pointed out. Keith talks about the negative feelings surrounding Rice, because he was perceived as “one dimensional.” That’s the crux of this whole thing, Rice had a dimension. He was a great runner who was surrounded by great athletes and a spectacular D. I don’t think you can call “Game Manager” a dimension, and when you turn the ball over like TR did last year, you certainly can’t call it a strength.

      • nudeman - Apr 10, 2012 at 2:56 PM

        A few other ND QB comments:
        1) You have to assume that the coaches are as painfully aware of TR’s ceiling as we are
        2) My guess is that under sodium pentathol they would admit they want EG/AH to emerge
        3) The fact that we are hearing just the opposite (that they are NOT emerging and TR is playing well) is a testament to the fact that we have overrated the other two.
        4) AH is too excitable and lacking in poise to take the job and keep it. He would have some stellar moments then just rip our hearts out with turnovers and crazy decisions.
        5) Don’t know what to think about EG since we’ve seen none of him. But this is his second Spring and he ran the scount team last year, so he’s not a total newbie. The fact that he isn’t overtaking TR – admittedly “yet” – is very disappointing.

        If TR wins the job, it says more about EG/AH’s lack of development as it does about TR’s.

      • joeschu - Apr 11, 2012 at 9:06 AM

        The problem isn’t this spring, it was not seeing it last spring.

        Dayne and Tommy both spent the spring game short-hopping passes and looking generally miserable. All the talk was of them being 1 and 1A, but there really wasn’t any body of evidence pointing to their ability to play championship football.

        What saddens me is how BK publicly discusses how players need “scar tissue” to be effective. Live fire reps in the game help players adjust and get that sense of calm amidst the chaos necessary to make winning plays. Yet, he made no such move to get Hendrix good game rep’s. Even some mop-up duty would have been helpful, but he went to Dayne in that situation.

        I caught a lot of hell on here for calling for Hendrix after the Michigan game. I was lambasted for saying that we should be thinking of the future, and told it was unacceptable to maintain anything less than a “win now at all costs” attitude. Well, here we are. I seriously doubt Hendrix would have “cost” ND any more games last year. Moreover, we never saw him outside the limited “package” they put in for him. Maybe he doesn’t have what it takes, and Nude’s #4 is true. I’d rather have had that confirmed in game situations before jumping to that conclusion and spending another spring and summer camp “fairly” splitting reps. If Nude happens to be wrong, I’m sure we’d all prefer to talk about Hendrix making “the jump” this year instead of hoping that Tommy’s status as “a gamer” keeps it close against OU and USC.

        I know hindsight is 20/20, but at some point you have to put your chips in the middle. We’ve been playing the “safe bet” with Rees for a long time. We dabbled in the Hendrix bet, but never gave it a full chance, and we’ve been holding back on EG. Let’s take a look at the options:

        1) Go all-in on Rees, get others prepared to spend 2012 as backups, and get Gunner his rep’s on the scout team. This is clearly the “safe” bet. Most likely result is 8-5’ish, but you know you’re probably not going to go 4-8. You’ve basically written off the Goldrix duo at this point, and you’ll go in to 2013’s spring sessions wondering if Gunner can “unseat” the game manager again.

        2) Go all-in on one of the Goldrix’s and get the other ready to back up which ever one you name starter. Rees leads the red hat brigade, and Gunner gets his rep’s on the scout team. Split the Goldrix reps about 75/25 to the named starter and ride him. The upside of this offense with a running threat at QB is a lot higher, and you might even be able to score with the big boys. Maybe you get that “signature” win, and you could put up 9-10 wins. The problem is, if both suck, you could also be looking at 4-8. The upside, even if you go 4-8 (based on QB, not CB play), you have Gunner waiting in the wings for 2013.

        3) Go all-in on Gunner now and hope he follows a Quinn-like career arc at ND. 4-8 is a definite possibility in this scenario, but the future upside is massive.

        And here, ladies and gentlemen, is the conundrum of ND football. We have idiots saying that anything short of 9 wins this year puts BK on the hot seat. I’m not a huge BK fan, but putting him on the hot seat, at this point, is the stupidest thing any ND fan could ever do. We need him to make program-building decisions, not covering his six. Rees is the safe bet, and if the seat is cooler at 8-5 than it is at 4-8, expect to see Rees in Dublin, and prepare to spend fall shouting obscenities at your TV.

      • nudeman - Apr 11, 2012 at 11:23 AM

        Good post. You’ve nailed the options.
        I say “turn the page”; “bite the bullet”. They could play Luke Massa at QB against Navy and they won’t lose. Let AH or EG run the team, gain some scar tissue and go from there.

        But we’ve seen how timid BK is with these guys.

        So he’ll start Rees.

      • irish4006 - Apr 11, 2012 at 8:17 PM

        With kudos to both posters, joe and nude, may I add the following – BK will be in his 3rd year in 2012. While you can only play the hand you are dealt in the first year and, to some extent, the second year; you can’t take forever to get a QB ready to run your scheme. A good coach should be able to pull a QB out of thin air with 3 years under his belt at a program. “Rees is the best option we have” should not be the answer in spring. You have 3 others who are clearly more gifted and better high school resume than TR. If they can’t learn to run the offense in the amount of time they are given, you probably need to look at your scheme and simplify until you find the right guy (next Quinn, or Clausen).
        I don’t know about hot seat or cold seat, I will be pretty upset if we are making the same lame mistakes with a stationary QB who can’t throw accurately beyond 10 yards for yet another year. Also, I am not saying ND needs to be in the NC game this year for BK to prove his coaching prowess, but not producing a QB in 3 years will do a lot to prove otherwise. He did a lot more with a lot less at Cincy, I am hoping he has an ace or two up his sleeve. I wish the Dayne Crist/Brian Kelly chemistry worked out a little more and we wouldn’t be having this damn argument right now about TR.

        Keith should be ashamed of bringing up the Rice/Rees analogy, with or without the disclaimer in the last sentence – “Now if only the similarities continue…” Rees is not Rice, not even Carlyle Holiday.

  6. dmac4real - Apr 10, 2012 at 3:03 PM

    Is there really any positives to TR though? Because im just not seeing any. Just sayin.

    • nudeman - Apr 10, 2012 at 3:36 PM

      Nice kid
      Can beat average/poor teams (Army, Navy, USAF, Maryland, Wake)
      Checks into good plays (allegedly)
      Has never thrown 5 INTs in a game (to my knowledge)
      No outstanding traffic warrants or felony convictions
      Will graduate, I assume
      Loved by Keith

      • chicagoirish23 - Apr 10, 2012 at 4:53 PM

        I didn’t think you were funny until the last line.

      • Keith Arnold - Apr 10, 2012 at 5:49 PM

        Nude has me pegged. I might as well be Tommy Boy.

        My only statement — and I’ve made it continually — is that somebody needs to beat him out.

        Chuck Martin said it best. “We don’t choose who plays. You do.”

      • nudeman - Apr 10, 2012 at 6:17 PM

        It’s been a long time since I started a Tommy thread.

        But when you say things like
        1) if he improved on the deep ball, the offense would be “just fine”; and
        2) Rees compares on the same level with Tony Rice … (actually that was Somogyi, but you agreed enough to reprint his words)

        Almost no one agrees with you on either of these points; further I think you go above and beyond the call of duty in defending this young man’s play, to the point of saying things that aren’t defensible by the evidence or any subjective analysis.

        Whoever here said Rees is “no dimensional” vs Rice’s one dimension is exactly right. He’s slow, can’t escape a rush, has questionable arm strength, is careless with the ball, and makes bad reads.

        Please BK, end our long national nightmare. It is time for the keys to be handed to the next guy, and I almost don’t care if it’s that walk on from Moeller.

      • 1historian - Apr 12, 2012 at 2:02 PM

        nude m’lad – I know you covet your role as the resident Mr. Snarky, but sometimes you’re just plain snarky, and I for one, hope that’s not the best of you.

    • dmac4real - Apr 10, 2012 at 8:32 PM

      Its funny how people can give a thumbs down, but nobody can give solid reasons…interesting.

      • nudeman - Apr 10, 2012 at 8:57 PM

        Then again the thumbs down/up thing has never been explained.
        Is thumbs down because you disagree? Or because you think it’s a post riddled with inaccuracies or dumb stuff?

        Is a thumbs up because you agree?
        Or because even though you disagree you feel the post was well written, informative, humorous, etc?

        As of now it’s right there with the Grassy Knoll as one of life’s mysteries.

    • jimbasil - Apr 10, 2012 at 9:24 PM


      I don’t think Lou’s thoughts on TR vis a vis TR holds too much water with the posters here. Ask him again if he really is interested in keeping that position.

  7. gpatton90 - Apr 10, 2012 at 4:13 PM

    The only way Rees should be starting is if 1) he improves dramatically AND 2) he’s proven better than all the other contenders. I can’t see any way that both of those criteria will be met. And the first condition is more important. I would rather see EG / AH at the helm even they haven’t proven themselves better that Tommy during the spring / early fall. The team needs to invest in a future difference maker, even if it means growing pains in 2012. We can’t afford to waste even another game with TR running the offense if indeed he is close to his ceiling.

    As for Rice, I was a student at ND during the Rice years. That kid was an amazing athlete, he had swagger, and most importantly, a will to win, which was more than enough to overcome his deficiencies. It also helped that Holtz understood his talents and structured an offense that heavily emphasized the running game, putting him in position to best utilize his talents. That’s why I’m heavily in favor of AH / EG. We have a potentially great offensive line, and multiple talents at running back ahd tight end. Let’s use these strengths while we develop one of these two quarterbacks. We will be SET for a fantastic year in 2013 and I wouldn’t be surprised if we overachieve, for a change, in 2012.

  8. mmanor01 - Apr 10, 2012 at 4:14 PM

    I cannot understand how AH/EG are not emerging as the “go to” guys. This is practice we are talking about with a simplified play book. What else can Kelly do to gives these guys a chance? Tommy shouldn’t even be in the same league as these athletic studs.

    This probably doesn’t make sense or even a fair comparable, but if Denard Robinson transferred to ND at the beginning of Spring practice would Tommy beat him too? If yes, then what is Kelly using as a measuring stick to determine his #1 QB?

  9. fentocamarillo - Apr 10, 2012 at 5:11 PM


    Great post. The Tony Rice reference certainly stirs some fond memories of better days. I can also clearly recall screaming at the TV for Lou to stop playing it so close to the vest, stop praising every academy team as if they were a perennial top 10 and yes, if admonishing him for his sideline antics…more than one face mask pulled by the beloved coach. Having said that, he was the master motivator and one of my favorite coaches of all time.

    Now to the present. It appears to this casual reader of this site that TR is getting more than his fair share of attention, that the young and untested are already being judged on virtually no body of work and those that have produced, be it good or bad, are discarded to the trash heap inn favor of the next man in. I heartily endorse the comments of chicagoirish23. Come next September, I will, without reservation, support the best 22 players on the field at any given time. Perhaps others should provide that same support, but don’t wait until September to do so. There is no time like the present.

  10. barneysbullet - Apr 10, 2012 at 6:49 PM

    WOW GUYS…there’s some AWESOME dialogue going on here. Keep it up!! See, it CAN be clean AND fun.

    And, Keith, thanks for chiming in more often; for coming down off of the throne and mingling with us blue collar folk.


    (sorry – got a bit heady there)

  11. jimbasil - Apr 10, 2012 at 6:54 PM

    I agree with Lou and his statement on Tony Rice, but I don’t see how TRees issue can be associated with the TRice issue other than they are both initialed “TR”.

    Rice is/was a dynamic athlete, Rees is not. Rees, though not a terrible QB and could easily be considered decent to good in light of his record is not the answer, but it’s not about his record (which is a team thing and Rees’s case the most important ingredient in his wins), it’s about the teams losses and why the losses.

    Tommy hasn’t those certain physical skills to keep up with his team nor does he have the ability to make those physical plays needed to take the team to the next level. The real question is, do the others (AH, EG, GK) have the necessary skills to be equal to this offense’s level of ability and hopefully take them to that next level of play, dominant? That should be the only consideration when choosing this year’s QB.

    Sadly, if TR were to be the starter, then the others aren’t strong enough to do the job; scary. My question in this is, because of Kelly’s miscues (as I see them) with handling the QB situation (the past two seasons), I’m would be deeply suspicious if Rees is named ND QB starter. To be clear, I will be holding my breath no matter who is named, mostly because of Kelly’s choices and mishandling the QB’s last year (IMO).

  12. fnc111 - Apr 10, 2012 at 9:11 PM

    Hilarious how Tony Rice is being compared to TR, destined for 7-5 every year under Kelly. I guess it’s better than CW’s 6-6 seasons.

  13. irishbornraised - Apr 11, 2012 at 12:57 AM

    Rees is supposedly a playbook whiz, In one year, he mastered a playbook that turned AH into “A chicken with its head cut off”, EG’s “Head Spin” and made GK “Overwhelmed”. The coaches do know what they’re doing, we can’t sit here and criticize them when we have no idea what’s going on behind the scenes. Brian Kelly isn’t an idiot, if Manti te’o were the answer at quarterback, I have no doubt he’d be lining up under center (How about that thought huh?). That being said, Tommy is just a temporary transition QB, not a win now QB. BK needs to get into a rhythm in which a QB doesn’t start until he’s in his RS Sophomore year, and Tommy is buying us that time.

    P.S Someone speculated that the DC USC fumble was just his way of sticking it to BK because he knew his ND career was over. I like everyone else believe that DC is a great, humble, faithful ND man, but didn’t it look like he was TRYING to bat that ball between his legs? Food for thought

    • jrct2450yahoo - Apr 11, 2012 at 9:23 AM

      Your PS doesn’t deserve a comment it is in such bad taste.

    • nudeman - Apr 11, 2012 at 11:03 AM

      The DC “intentional” fumble is the dumbest thing I’ve ever read.

      Not only would he never do that (I don’t know ANY player who would, btw), but arguably if they score, he could have been back in the driver’s seat as the starting QB. He did a helluva job on that drive up to that point.

      • irishbornraised - Apr 11, 2012 at 2:01 PM

        Not only did I say that I didn’t think it was true, but I said it was just something that some guy put on the web, we all know and love Crist, but I would think Nudeman of all people would question DC’s loyalty to BK. I don’t believe it, but it’s interesting, and would actually provide an explanation

    • houstonirishfan1976 - Apr 13, 2012 at 11:25 PM

      “Tommy is just a temporary transition QB, not a win now QB”

      That transition is about it go into its 3rd season…when would you recommend that people stop calling him a transition QB?

      • irishbornraised - Apr 14, 2012 at 4:13 AM

        Well if AH or EG are good enough to cut it, they will, and also they need to get into a rhythm of not starting a QB until they are in their redshirt sophomore/junior season

  14. jerseyshorendfan1 - Apr 11, 2012 at 1:44 AM

    It is refreshing to come to this site to read all the new arguments as to why Kelly shouldn’t start Rees. Seriously, hasn’t this issue been beaten to death on this site? Glad Lynch is back though. I personally think Rees will start and play most of the opener vs Navy. We haven’t been hearing any headlines about Golson or Hendrix during camp and I think it will come down to a question of experience for Kelly and Tommy does have more than a couple of wins under his belt and knows the system. Kelly can’t afford to come out of Ireland with a loss. That would be a PR nightmare that would demoralize this team from the get go. It would be like that fumble vs USF…..dead before we get started. Navy will be one of the most crucial games next season for these reasons and I feel Kelly will defer to Rees’ experience. As much as I’d like to see someone else at QB, I wouldn’t fault Kelly for starting Tommy in Dublin as I can see the logic there. Don’t necessarily agree but I can see it.

  15. prophetjcb - Apr 11, 2012 at 8:15 AM


    Simply because I don’t want my head (or yours) to explode, I feel compelled to write simply to say I completely understand the point of your TR/TR comparison – which was NOT to say that they are clones, but that there was a time when the expert Irish fan base openly questioned whether we could win with Rice under center, and that the chief gripe against him was his “one dimensionality.” I never for an instant thought your post was claiming that Rice and Rees were similar athletes or QB’s. It was just food for thought, and for the rabid masses so eager to discard Rees (of which I admit I have at times been a member), something to consider.

    And here’s the point, as you, Keith, have consistently and accurately stated. We as a fan base can say all we want about Tommy Rees, and the 1001 reasons we will never be a true national contender with him at the helm. But the coaches – and they may agree with our overall assessment – watch these guys every day, and make their decision based on who they feel puts us in the best position to win. Believe it or not, they want to win more than we do so that they have jobs, and the notion that they would be blinded by anything other than the desire to win is just ludicrous.

    As some have pointed out, the sad thing is that none of the others have stepped up to beat Tommy out. Yes, they may need time to do that. But I think most of us thought that by now, at least one of those other guys would have blown Tommy away by now. Yes, they might have a higher upside – but if they can’t beat out Tommy Rees RIGHT NOW, then they aren’t a good as I thought they were, and maybe they never will be.

    One final point is that after losses to Michigan and USC and Stanford, talk immediately turns to Tommy Rees, and I do realize that’s part of the reality of the QB position. And yes, in some of those games Rees did look overmatched. But can we all admit that the entire TEAM looked overmatched in those games? We don’t have the talent or depth those teams have, and that will never be easy for us to accomplish. In each of our losses last year, except the USF game, we lost to programs that have better talent top to bottom than we do. It’s that simple. This includes, BUT IS NOT LIMITED TO, the quarterback position. But as with the other positions, I assume we are going with the best we’ve got.

    And, to bring this full circle, we won a national championship with Rice because we were loaded with talent up and down the roster. We were stacked with talent top to bottom, the best talent in the country. Rice played his part but did not carry that team, and didn’t need to. We can all long for those days again, but as we do we can’t blame Rees for all our problems in the present. I know his shortcomings well. But until he gets beat out, he’s the best shot we have.

    • schuey73 - Apr 11, 2012 at 10:21 AM

      I agreed with everything you said except that we were overmatched against Michigan. We had more talent than Michigan. We outplayed them for most of the game. 5 turnovers (many of which when we could have easily scored) and defensive breakdowns in crunch time are why we lost.

      I thought we were pretty evenly matched with USC, but they were more ready to play at the beginning of the game, and again we had some devastating turnovers that completely changed the momentum.

      Stanford, however, was the better team.

      • nudeman - Apr 11, 2012 at 11:12 AM

        Schuey has this one right.

        Vs. UM, they survived a completely erratic performance by Rees and HAD THAT GAME in the palm of their hands until … never mind.

        I for one am sick of how well Rees knows the playbook and how many games he’s started and how he’s a coach’s son. He just can NOT play at a high level. Period.

        It is time to turn the page.

        There is ZERO chance they go to Ireland and lose if they start AH or EG. Let them run the team, put some pressure on the defense (which Rees simply can NOT do), get some experience, get some more the next wk against Purdue, and go from there. If BK keeps playing him then it will be another exasperating 8-4 year.

        The Rees era needs to end.

    • Keith Arnold - Apr 11, 2012 at 1:44 PM

      Well done, Prophet.

      Nowhere am I comparing Tommy Rees and Tony Rice as athletes. Just pointing out the approval rating of both after their sophomore seasons.

      I’m completely over discussing Tommy Rees as the starting QB. Whoever wins the job — and somebody needs to beat him out — needs to play better.

      That I think Rees can play better, and well enough to win 9-10 games, might make me seem foolish, but I’ve seen so many noodle armed QBs with good heads on their shoulders win in college that it’s not outlandish. Josh Heupel couldn’t throw and had no knees. I could name a dozen others. None were ultimately judged after their sophomore seasons.

      Want Everett Golson to play? Me too. It’d be fun to watch. But until he, or Hendrix, or Kiel can beat out Rees, they aren’t playing.

      Chuck Martin turned the biggest dog on the Irish roster into a potential first round pick in two seasons. Tommy doesn’t have the physical skills to be a first rounder, but don’t think that he won’t improve with Martin at the helm.

      If you people think we’re going to get an accurate assessment of the QB play out of the coaching staff during media interviews, you are nuts. Just enjoy the ride, stop treating Tommy Rees like he ran your dog over, and let’s see what happens.

      • irish4006 - Apr 11, 2012 at 8:36 PM

        Very well said…

        I agree with you in that if Tommy does improve, it will be a great thing. If he doesn’t and continues to be the starter, some dogs may indeed get run over, by their Irish fan owner. They will be so disoriented after the OU, UM, USC games; may just forget to check the mirror before backing out of the driveway.

  16. bernhtp - Apr 11, 2012 at 9:02 AM

    Eric Hanson believes the starting QB will likely be Hendrix. I tend to agree with him.,0,6645105,full.story

    • nudeman - Apr 11, 2012 at 11:18 AM

      Good article, but based on what I saw Chuck Martin say about Hendrix not seeing the field well, I don’t think it will be him. I think it will be TR. Sigh …..

      • bernhtp - Apr 11, 2012 at 11:28 AM

        As the beat writer, Eric talks to everyone along with some first-hand observation. He lives and breathes the program. He gets to see the body language beyond the spin in public statements. While things are far from decided, I tend to respect Eric’s judgment here.

      • nudeman - Apr 11, 2012 at 12:24 PM

        Agree on Hansen. Solid.

        If I was a betting man, I’d bet against Hendrix for a couple reasons:

        1) My own observations, which are that he’s excitable and lacks poise. In a perfect world he’d get lots of reps and time to overcome that, which he would. But this isn’t a perfect world.

        2) By far more important are Chuck’s comments. Saying someone “doesn’t have good field vision” is fairly damning. It’s not like saying “he needs to work on x, y or z”. Field vision is what makes a guy with slightly above average physical skills like Joe Montana an all time great. Conversely, the graveyard of football is littered with uber talented, big arm guys who just couldn’t see open receivers and defenders. Mix in this being a year when above all they want to significantly reduce turnovers, and AH is in danger of being the “package” guy again.

        At the time of this writing, it looks like Tommy.

  17. fentocamarillo - Apr 11, 2012 at 12:16 PM


    Not that I have any desire to spar with you regarding TR, but a simple look at his stats vs. Michigan tell a different story that what you imply. He guided that team to the go ahead score… 60 yards in 3 plays in :30 seconds…That was the stuff Montana packed. And please don’t go there, I am not stating he is the next All American, but your memory needs a jolt and the game in Ann Arbor was his crowning achievement only to be stolen in the blink of an eye. Anyone for changing the subject?????

    • nudeman - Apr 11, 2012 at 12:29 PM

      We’ve been over this a thousand times on this page and no one wants to see much more on the topic of the UM game, especially from me. I readily acknowledge that the final drive was well done, and yes, was even Montana-like.

      But by himself Rees turned the ball over 3 or 4 times that game; and his whiff on throwing a pass at about the 5 yard line was just horrific. A game killer.

      I’m not saying he lost the game. But he played a big role. You can’t argue with that.

      • Keith Arnold - Apr 11, 2012 at 2:14 PM

        He also won the game for ND, until the defense imploded. Lotta goats in that one. Rees probably is outside the top five.


      • nudeman - Apr 11, 2012 at 2:44 PM


        1) You seem to be in an admonishment mode; admonishing people for debating this. Relax. Without us debating and arguing over this and other subjects, there is no blog

        2) Will Rees get better?
        NOT guaranteed, as you seem to think. If I asked you after the 2nd or 3rd game last year if he’d get better with a few more games under his belt, you’d have said “yes”. Well guess what? He got WORSE as the year went on. His games against USC, Stanford and FSU were terrible. And frankly he wasn’t all that great against Maryland or Wake either. So I’m not buying that there will be HUGE step forward this year.

        3) At some point BK just has to bite the bullet and play the more talented guys.
        If he’s afraid to play AH or EG against friggin’ Navy and Purdue at home, then he’ll NEVER trust them and should just release them from their scholarships.

        4) MY opinion: If he starts Rees against Navy then BK has become timid on the big stage. And if he continues to start Rees then he will regret it.

  18. houstonirishfan1976 - Apr 11, 2012 at 1:47 PM

    One of the many things that drive me crazy about Tommy is that he doesn’t stand up straight. He slumps his soldiers. Many times this doesn’t mean bad posture, it means a lack of confidence. P
    For instance, people who are confident walk with their head up, they don’t look at the ground to avoid eye contact with people. Check out pictures of the 4 QBs standing around together. Based on the way they appear and the self assuredness that they exude, I’d rather have the walkon be the starter over Rees.

    Rees is a game manager (and not even a good one based on his turnovers), not a game changer. All you need to do is look at him to know it is true.

  19. fentocamarillo - Apr 11, 2012 at 4:06 PM

    I repeat, anyone for changing the subject???

  20. houstonirishfan1976 - Apr 13, 2012 at 11:21 PM

    irishborn…”Tommy is just a temporary transition QB, not a win now QB”

    That transition is about it go into its 3rd season…when would you recommend that people stop calling him a transition QB?

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