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Rees and Calabrese cleared for school and workouts

Jun 26, 2012, 11:15 AM EST

South Florida v Notre Dame Getty Images

It hasn’t been a secret that Tommy Rees has been taking summer classes and working out with his teammates as the Irish undergo offseason workouts in preparation for the 2012 season. But head coach Brian Kelly hadn’t yet commented on the future of his embattled quarterback, who ran afoul with the law on the last day of spring classes, resulting in embarrassing arrests for two Irish players, includes four outstanding misdemeanor charges for Rees and one charge for linebacker Carlo Calabrese.

The South Bend Tribune’s Eric Hansen had a chance to catch up with Kelly at the Irish Legends charity golf classic, and the head coach opened up about Rees Calabrese’s status with the team while the legal process is still being worked out.

“They are cleared to stay in school. They’ve been cleared from me to participate in all workouts,” Kelly told Hansen. “When all of these things come together, we’re not going to wait a long time. We’re going to try to get this thing to the point where we know exactly where they are. We want to move and get all of this done.”

Come together seems to be the operative term, and means that their discipline will likely hinge on the result of the legal process. For Rees, that means finding a resolution to the misdemeanor charge stemming from the quarterback allegedly kneeing the arresting officer in the abdomen. Calabrese, who is charged with one count of misdemeanor intimidation, will also likely need to reach an agreement that lessens the charge.

That Kelly is letting the legal process play out while showing faith in his players isn’t surprising. He did the same thing with wide receiver Michael Floyd after Floyd’s DUI arrest. While Kelly stripped Floyd of his captaincy and suspended him indefinitely through the spring, Floyd earned his way back onto the roster after being allowed to workout with the team and take classes in the summer. Kelly also dolled out discipline to tight end Mike Ragone after a marijuana possession charge, keeping the matter in-house when an incident like that had usually been played out publicly in the past.

“It’s never a one-size-fits-all situation,” Kelly told Hansen. “This is over 20 years of me being a head coach and having to look at each individual and what the sanctions are. We’ve gotten all of the reports. I’ve gotten a chance to meet with both of them, and we’ll get this thing rolling.”

Rees’ status with the Irish added another wrinkle to a four-headed quarterback battle that the rising junior controlled for most of the spring, only to struggle during the Irish spring game. Rees has started 16 of the last 17 games for Notre Dame at quarterback, yet played his way back to the competition late in the year as the Irish offense struggled with turnovers as consistency.

 

 

  1. keelio19 - Jun 26, 2012 at 12:58 PM

    I’m not real sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing. Kelly could very well just be letting Rees take summer classes and workout with the team because he knows Rees isn’t going to be starting this year or even the back up and punishing him is pointless. Or Kelly is really that concerns with the QB position that he feels he better have Rees preparing for the season incase Golson and Hendrix don’t pan out. It sounds to me that there are not going to be much repercussions except for within the football team, maybe everyone gets to punch Rees in the face one time and that’s his punishment (I’m In!). Also the fact that the charges were dropped down to misdemeanors may just give Kelly the reason to not punish him so severely since their only misdemeanors. Interesting development, but still not enough IMO to really pull much from..

  2. ndgoldandblue - Jun 26, 2012 at 2:00 PM

    I have a theory. This may sound ridiculous, but hear me out. If Rees trots out against Navy as the starter, it could be because Kelly has hedged his bets with Gunner. We’ve seen in interviews with Kelly that he really likes Gunner. Kelly says that he’s a very cerebral quarterback, that he always has his head in the right place. He also says that he’s incredibly coachable. The only negative thing that Kelly has ever said about Kiel is that he’s raw, but that’s to be expected out of a true freshman quarterback.

    I mean, think about it. What have been the common complaints about Hendrix and Golson? Just from what we’ve seen and heard, with Hendrix, he’s a very smart kid in the classroom, but he can’t wrap his head around Kelly’s spread offense. He’s also mistake-prone, and he has some accuracy issues. With Golson, the mental aspect seems to be quite a challenge for him as well. He looks great on the field, but has a lack of control over the huddle and the other players. He has trouble lining his players up, and even getting the snap off before the play clock runs out. I mean, they had to turn the darn thing off for the spring game just so the offense didn’t get overly penalized.

    Just from what we’ve seen and heard out of Kelly, I don’t think the man has a whole lot of confidence in either Hendrix or Golson. I find this unfortunate, but it gets me excited for Kiel’s emergence. Is it possible that, by starting Rees this year (if that happens), Kelly has already planned on making Gunner the starting quarterback for the 2013 season?

    I don’t know. Perhaps, Kelly thinks that the Irish could do just as well this year with Rees as the starting quarterback as they could with either Hendrix or Golson. Perhaps he thinks that the ship has sailed on those two (which would be a bit premature for Golson if you asked me). Perhaps he sees the greatest upside with Kiel and he doesn’t want to create another controversy next year and the year after. Besides, how many years in a row can we have a starting quarterback battle before things start to look sad?

    If you ask me, I think the Irish should get the number-one ranked quarterback out of high school (number two by some ratings systems) in the game as soon as possible. I’m doubting Gunner would transfer after one year, but I’m not so sure the guy would hang around for four years before getting a chance to start. That would be the case if Golson was named the starter. I don’t know. What do you guys think?

    • nudeman - Jun 26, 2012 at 2:25 PM

      I don’t think there’s a lot of “looking down the road” for ND or any other major program
      It’s a win now business. Case in point, BK knows that if they throw up a stinker this year, the wolves will be howling for his dismissal. No luxury of a 4-8 rebuilding year.

      As for your theory on Kiel, all I think we can reasonably conclude is that if Golson or Hendrix doesn’t win the job NOW, they never will. And that bodes well for Gunner.

      I concur with your assessment on AH and EG, but the consistent whispers are that BK really wants Golson to step up and grab the job by the throat.

      All that said … what about next year when Zaire is in town?
      Everyone seems to be extremely high on him as the ideal BK Spread QB.

      • georgegipp - Jun 26, 2012 at 5:49 PM

        Nude – just curious to know, given all that’s happened, who do you see under center in Dublin? Do you think BK’s long standing bias towards TR was eroded by the spring game and/or arrest?

        I agree that it really is now or never for EG and AH. Both are at the stage where game experience (and the majority of 1st team snaps in practice) are most important for their development. If they don’t get that this year, it’s hard to see how they eventually become starters (except perhaps injury).

        Let’s hope EG works really hard over the summer and makes it a no-brainer for BK come August.

      • nudeman - Jun 26, 2012 at 6:55 PM

        georgegipp
        I am about one message away from having a formal injunction issued against my ever commenting on ND QBs again. Especially if I mention TR. But I’ll do it anyway.

        It sounds like Golson, while not being given the JOB will be given every OPPTY to win it. I can see a scenario where that happens, and I can see a scenario where he blows it and TR gets the job. I will also go out on a limb and say AH is the least likely to win it.

        Sounds like it’s TR or EG, but throw in the x-factor of Rees’ looming punishment, and it really gets murky. Then I think you’re looking at a tandem of EG and AH.

        Probably haven’t told you anything you didn’t already know.

    • italianirish - Jun 26, 2012 at 4:44 PM

      What you’re suggesting is he let Rees start for three years, then not play him in his senior year. That seems pretty far-fetched to me. If Rees starts and finishes this year, I think we’re stuck with him for another year after that.

      • irish4006 - Jul 2, 2012 at 1:43 AM

        Dude (Italian)! What does starting for three years have to do with 2012? It’s not like he was lighting the fields on fire with his QB play. Every year is a new year and it is reasonable to expect that the best man for the job will be the starter, at any position, not just at QB.

  3. bearcatirishfan - Jun 26, 2012 at 2:14 PM

    Kelly is a win now kind of guy, if Goslon can provide wins now he would start him. Tony pike in cincinnati was 3rd on the depth chart until injuries provided him the opportunity to play. He was so uncertain about his QB situation he tried to get Ben mauk a 6th year of eligibility. Yes 6th due to injury. So I’m not so sure he’s a guy looking that far down the road. Even if gunner does start the next year you got Malik coming in, so QB controversy is here to stay. I think he really just likes having a lot of great talent, and uses the best guy he can. Even when he had tony pike for year two, he would have zack collaros come in to run a few series, because he earned his way onto the field with good play.

  4. mwmg42 - Jun 26, 2012 at 4:13 PM

    I have been wondering this for a while; why can’t ND think about running Hendrix with Golson like Florida did with Leak and Tebow…in the end I guess I just don’t wanna see Rees on the field.

  5. cpfirish - Jun 26, 2012 at 4:47 PM

    Why is BK so in love with TR!!?? If he is the starter we are looking at a 6-6 year. We all better hope EG gets ahold of the offense!! I dont see ND beating any good teams with TR as the starter.. I am really hoping that BK is leaning towards EG for 2012.. He has all the talent in the,world.. Please BK do not start TR I cant do another season like the last two!! Go irish!

    • mwmg42 - Jun 26, 2012 at 10:32 PM

      I couldn’t agree more…Just imagine the bowl game how after Floyd went out Rees looked pathetic at best. Guess what, Floyd’s gone and Rees isn’t the run threat Golson or even Hendrix is. If you have Wood, Atkinson or any other burner tailback with a potential running qb then we should either get better match-ups at wideout (less double) or danger out of the backfield. I obviously want the Irish to win but if we do lose I don’t wanna see Tommy’s face, he has had his chances.

    • BurroTrailAlum - Jul 4, 2012 at 3:22 AM

      Great 1st Q. I feel your stat guess is high with TR as starter. Something happened to the kid and he hasn’t been same since. You can see it in his eyes.
      What is all this EG talk?? Searching for Lancelot or Holy Grail??
      AH came in Stanford game nearly blowing out the “other Andrew”‘s full game stats in a half!!The “other Andrew” is now making $Millions in Indy, Not dissing EG, but our Andrew is already a Known Quantity at spread and he can spread them. BK cannot keep pulling QBs at 1st Int!

      As for Kiel, he may be good, but he couldn’t beat my little HS in the State playoffs. Just saying … don’t believe in hype. He is a Freshman and probably not a Robinson or Hanratty / O’Brien Freshman.

  6. bernhtp - Jun 26, 2012 at 5:08 PM

    I think it is also important to point out that no final decision has been made/announced about any possible punishment. This might still include game suspensions, especially for Tommy.

    From a pure practical perspective, Kelly really wants TR practicing, sharp, and ready if/when he needs him. From a PR perspective, game suspensions (assume appropriate) mean more than keeping someone out of practice.

    • joeschu - Jun 26, 2012 at 5:49 PM

      It is also important to note that BK can’t/won’t do a lot until the justice system’s processes run their course. Any punishment he’d hand down now would serve to either harm the player’s defense (admission that ND found guilt before the court did) or could prove to be too light (say, if he is actually convicted).

      While there’s a big part of me who wants to see anyone-but-Rees at QB, it is both premature (and stupid) to start wishing a punishment on a kid just because they don’t take good care of the football at critical times against hated rivals.

      Let it play out. This is only “important” because we’re still in the pre-camp doldrums of summer.

      • bernhtp - Jun 26, 2012 at 6:06 PM

        Kelly can certainly suspend them from the team anytime he wants pending legal resolution, but I also think that Kelly is doing it right under the circumstances.

        If you recall, I was one of the few defending Tommy and Carlo shortly after their arrest. This was when most people were calling for their heads. I believe(d) that there was a significant context that mitigated their crime, though I still expect them (TR at least) to be plead to some misdemeanor(s), get probation and/or community service, and ultimately get some punishment from the football program. I am betting on suspension for the first two games for Tommy (less for Carlo), though I have no inside information or special insight into the matter.

  7. 10of14 - Jun 26, 2012 at 8:44 PM

    Ladies and Gents, I travel for a living with my job. Trust me; if the pilot thinks that what looks to be stormy weather to me is ok for him to fly the plane, I’m in and trust him…he wants to live as much as I do. The same with Kelly. He will not have a job long if he chooses his “pilot” based on who he likes personally. For his own sake and to “stay alive” he will choose the QB that gives him the best chance to survive. I don’t attend practices and if you don’t either, you have no right to judge. If Golston, Kiel or any QB other than Rees truly is better, I suggest they start busting their arse better in practice. For the most part, all any of us have seen is the “best of” high school clips against subpar competition. What happens in practice each day is the key and whether we like it or not, Rees must be the better looking QB during the trial period.

    • idratherbeinsouthbend - Jun 26, 2012 at 11:01 PM

      If i could give this comment more than one “thumbs up” without dumping my cookies, clearing my cache and switching browsers, i would.

      In case you haven’t noticed yet, i’m a BIG fan of people who can see more than just their own perspective….and 10of14…..today, you are that man.

      Well said.

  8. yaketyyacc - Jun 27, 2012 at 6:15 AM

    what, are we doing Hamlet, to start Rees,, Golson, Hendrix or Kiel, or not to, that is the question?
    MAKE A DECISION. as sgt Friday used to say, “just the facts, ma’am”. Fact: Rees decision making on and off the field is fair. does not make for a successful season. he’s out. It seeems to be hinted that Golson is “dumb” and can’t learn the playbook entirely, but is a tremendous athelete. so, let him learn the percentage of plays he is capable of and use him for those plays. Hendrix, again fair, and he is out. Kiel, cerebral, canon arm. fits the system like a glove. so, let him get the jitters out of his system against Navy, with Golson adding to the winning offense.
    ah, the offense. too predictable. Brady, Manning, rogers threw to seven different receivers, etc. in the win today. vary the running more.

  9. BurroTrailAlum - Jul 4, 2012 at 3:40 AM

    Why is Rees still at ND?? After strong arming, the charges were reduced to Misdemeanor from Felony, but still stuck. Obviously, the kid screwed up Big Time off the field, but has on the field, too. Several players in past years have been sent home for a lot less.
    Equity, or you lose control.

    Against Stanford, “Our Andrew” in 30 minutes nearly equaled the “Other Andrew”‘s output in 60 minutes. The proof is in the pudding. Still realizing that EG hasn’t played 1 minute yet.

    It seems that BK has some “poor lil puppy” syndrome for TR. He’s left him in where most would’ve pulled him, and put him back in where most would’ve left him warm the bench.

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