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Analyzing the quarterback options

May 31, 2013, 6:00 AM EDT

Brian Kelly BCS

Everett Golson intends to return to Notre Dame after his suspension. That’s the good news. But for Brian Kelly and his coaching staff, there’s no planning for good intentions, and right now the quarterback depth chart looks vastly different without Golson at the top of it.

The once robust quarterback group had a very tough spring. Most wondered how Kelly could keep five scholarship quarterbacks happy. Gunner Kiel’s departure — before participating in spring practice — was the predictable move. But the haymaker Golson’s academic indiscretions put on the overall health of the quarterback spot can’t be understated.

Let’s take a quick look at what’s left of the quarterback depth chart.

QB DEPTH CHART (Years of Eligibility)
Everett Golson (3)
Tommy Rees (1)
Andrew Hendrix (2)
Gunner Kiel (4)
Malik Zaire (4)

While Brian Kelly wasn’t willing to name a starting quarterback in his brief chat with the media, it’s difficult to imagine a scenario where Tommy Rees doesn’t start against Temple. After three seasons in the program and a 14-4 record as a starting quarterback, Rees was regarded as one of the best back-up quarterbacks in the country.

That’s not to say the transition back to leading man will be easy. Anybody who has watched Notre Dame football the past few seasons has seen Rees’ limitations. His propensity to turn the football over in 2011 was one of the main reasons the Irish hit the reboot button on the offense last season. But any damnation of the Irish offense with Rees as its pilot isn’t just premature, it’s silly. Sure, a large portion of the playbook might have just gone in the recycling bin. But with a strong running game and some athletic personnel, an improved Rees will help this offense take a step forward, even if it wasn’t the leap many expected Golson to provide.

Outside of Rees is where things get a little tricky. One of the biggest ripple effects in the Golson saga is the role of Andrew Hendrix. Once looked at by some as the future at quarterback, Hendrix was likely to play out his senior season as a third-stringer before moving on to medical school or a smaller program where he could potentially play out his final season of eligibility.

All of that changes now. Hendrix has always talked about getting his degree from Notre Dame. That will happen this year. But will he — and the coaching staff — make the mutual decision to return for the ’14 season? That might hinge on Golson’s academic progress, and Hendrix’s postgraduate options.

That both Kelly and offensive coordinator Chuck Martin have raved about Malik Zaire’s football acumen isn’t coincidental. That much was apparent at the Elite 11 camps, where Zaire was more impressive than Golson or Kiel, two Irish quarterbacks that came through the pipeline in previous seasons. Yet Zaire is a true freshman with limited experience throwing the football, operating a run-heavy offense for most of his high school career. Many Irish fans want the future to begin now, but with the personnel the Irish have and a stout defense on the other side of the ball, bringing Zaire along slowly seems like the most logical plan of attack.

Yet any hope for a redshirt season is likely out the window. If Kelly and Martin think Zaire can help them win, he’ll be on the field. That could be running a zone-read package. It could be in the red zone, where the Irish struggled mightily last season. It most likely will be in mop-up time or selected series, giving the young quarterback the chance to learn on the job and develop on the practice field. No head coach in college football is more adept at mixing and matching quarterbacks, and Kelly will look back on the season he had at Cincinnati where he played five quarterbacks and utilize that experience this fall.

That experience will help the Irish get through this season. But with the very real possibility that Golson doesn’t return, Rees graduates, and Hendrix moves on, there’s an added priority to recruiting quarterbacks that nobody saw coming until last weekend.

The Irish only had one quarterback offer out before the spring, with that going to dual-threat athlete Brandon Dawkins from Oaks Christian, Jimmy Clausen’s old stomping grounds. But how high the Irish are on Dawkins anymore is anyone’s guess, as the prep quarterback tweeted his attempts at committing to the Irish last week and there’s been no news as to whether either player or team was willing to formalize things.

While the coaching staff has expanded their list to include national names like Arizona’s Kyle Allen and a few select others, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the target list shift from potentially skipping a cycle at the position to Notre Dame accepting the commitment of two quarterbacks next February. If they were able to mix and match a drop-back type with a dual-threat athlete, they could at least restock the two skillsets that departed this spring in Kiel and Golson.

At a position that once looked locked up for the next three seasons, the future has never been more cloudy. Could Golson’s exile be the Wally Pipp opportunity Malik Zaire needed? Will it keep Andrew Hendrix in South Bend for another year? Does it give Tommy Rees the chance to complete a true hero’s journey? All are scenarios that could likely unfold.

But don’t expect Kelly and company to get wrapped up in the hypotheticals. They’ve got too much work to do.


125 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. irishfootball55 - May 31, 2013 at 7:59 PM

    Gunner could have competed for the job at spring practices and depending how he did then made a decision. He choose not to compete and he is kicking himself in the ass.

    • 1historian - Jun 1, 2013 at 8:37 AM

      Have to disagree – “He chose not to compete”. Says it all IMO.

      He IS, however kicking himself in the ass.

  2. ajw21 - May 31, 2013 at 10:55 PM

    Irish55: gotta disagree with 2 things. Mich new qb was their backup and a better overall qb then Denard. He switched to WR to get him on the field until Denard got injured. He has exp but we will still beat them but he isn’t the weak link by any means. FYI: Niklas is big but whiffed on a lot of blocks last year. I hope he improved. Now on the qb position, don’t care if we play one or all three, as long as we win.
    Go Irish!

    • irishfootball55 - May 31, 2013 at 11:15 PM

      Michigan QB is still going to face the game pressure as the starting QB, Denard was a run first throw second QB he made a decent pass once in a while. Denard kept plays alive with his elusive speed and footwork. The new QB at Michigan is not a bad player but alot of QB’s are going to look bad against the Irish Defense. As far as Troy Niklas goes he looked much more comfortable at TE in spring practice. I didn’t think he was a bad blocker last year. His ability to hold on to the difficult pass was more of a concern. From what I saw he looks ready to step into a more prominent role this fall. The QB situation will work itself out. The sky is not falling our season is not shot there are quality options and BK will figure out who is most prepared to lead the offense.

      • papadec - May 31, 2013 at 11:29 PM

        55 – multi thumbs up!!!!!!!

  3. irishpuma - May 31, 2013 at 11:54 PM

    Zaire …..I have seen the rest and they are not the answer nor the future. Zaire is the future plain and simple. The future is now lets grab it and ride to glory!!

  4. 25kgold - Jun 1, 2013 at 2:08 AM

    Dragon Ball….

  5. nchdomer - Jun 1, 2013 at 7:19 AM

    A lot of good comments. Always enjoy this site. My take on the QB situation and our upcoming season is to also be aggressive and not play it safe. However, from my viewpoint, that means going with Rees or Hendrix. One poster a few articles back pointed out that only Oklahoma won a national title with a freshman quarterback. Invariably, a freshman QB means waiting until next year. Not fair to the team that has the talent at almost every other position to win now. It made the BCS title game last year, after all. And if not for Rees, we aren’t playing in that game. Golson would have lost the Michigan and Purdue games had Tommy not come in. With Rees, many of us, me included, see the glass half empty. I think the glass should be viewed as more than half full. Hendrix also has the skill set, though not the experience, to lead the team to victory.

    I see a new poster has spoken to 1964 and another to that year and 1993, which I have been referencing, as well. The key to both of those seasons was, in part, that the quarterbacks that had languished on the bench were told by the coach that they would be the man and not get pulled with an interception. There isn’t a story about Huarte where you don’t read quotes from Ara about how Huarte’s confidence was shaken and that is what needed fixing. No one plays well when they look over their shoulder. I have seen that as a player and as a coach. And I am sure most of the posters here have experienced that when they played sports. Rees and Hendrix are both mature seniors. Pick one and go with him for the season. I think either can lead us back to the title game.

    One final point. The post on the Michigan game two years ago is right on. The secondary lost a game that should have been a route in ND’s favor. The relevancy of the game now is this – with less than 2 minutes in the game, Michigan took the lead for the first time, I recall. Rees immediately led the team to what should have been the game winning score. His only mistake was doing it too quickly. Clearly, he knows how to win and can win in the clutch. I have no problem with him leading us out of the tunnel in the Fall.

    • drdannddad - Jun 1, 2013 at 9:44 AM

      If it is Rees this fall, and I think it will be, I believe he will surprise a lot of people by leading the Irish on a very successful campaign. How successful? I’d say BSC-Bowl worthy.

  6. bernhtp - Jun 1, 2013 at 9:37 AM

    This OFD article makes the points I have been making on this site for a while. While I am not yet prepared to start Zaire, as this article strongly recommends, it makes a strong case. The stronger, more general, case is that someone other than Rees should start.

    This is what I think will happen:

    1. Rees is the presumptive starter, but Kelly will look hard at both Hendrix and Zaire to see if either are able to beat him out. Just like last year with Golson, they don’t need to be better than Rees at the end of fall camp, but need to be close enough that he sees a plausible trajectory with game experience that takes the team beyond Rees’ well-know ceiling.

    2. Rees is a good mentor and the guy you want off the bench in a pinch. He seems to need no warm-up – his head is in the game instantly – and is the best I’ve seen in this capacity. In fact, what seems to happen in these cases is that the opposing defense is caught unprepared for the different style/capabilities Rees brings. The counterpoint is that when the defense gets to prepare for Rees and his limitations, it makes it difficult for the Irish offense and it tends to stagnate. The end of 2011 and the 2012 BYU game (where Rees started due to Golson’s concussion) is testimony to that. His major passing ability was the confidence to throw it to the defensive crowd surrounding Eifert, knowing that Tyler would somehow come down with it.

    3. Kelly hopes that Hendrix and/or Zaire will show enough development to contribute. He may employ the same hybrid strategy as last year with Golson – play a conservative offense with them, rely on the defense, and bring in Rees when their inexperience jeopardizes a game’s outcome.

    • nudeman - Jun 1, 2013 at 12:06 PM

      1. Somewhat disagree. Although he’d never say it, I think Kelly has a near-zero level of confidence in Hendrix. Maybe a series here and there, but as a starter, forget it. It’s not hard to understand why; no pocket presence, everything is a fire drill and terrible downfield vision. To your point, I don’t believe MZ and AH need to be “close enough”; I think they need to be “way better” than Rees. Not saying I agree with that, but that’s what I think the coaches think.There is one thing we know for certain: Kelly is comfortable with Rees. He is definitely UNcomfortable with AH and MZ is just too raw.

      2. I think Rees’s role as “Fireman of the Year” was overrated. His best effort was against Purdue, but was very lucky that rainbow across the field to Goodman wasn’t INT’d; he did very little against UM, putting up 13 points despite the ND defense forcing 5-6 turnovers. As you noted, he was awful against BYU. The revisionists now who keep talking about how he “won’t lose the game for you”, or is a game manager … ridiculous. He has in fact lost games and is is a poor game manager. And he is flat out lousy against any team not named Navy, Purdue or Lower Montana State. His games against ND’s mid and top tier opponents have been terrible. USC, Stanford, BYU, Pitt, MSU … only exception was against UM 2 years ago and he still managed to screw that one up.

      3. Disagree. I think he’s given up on Hendrix ever being a starter and don’t think he really wants to start Zaire either. If he starts him against Temple, he has to start him against UM in front of 105,000 fans on national TV. If he starts him against Temple and DOESN’T start him in Ann Arbor, then he’s got an 18 year old QB who’s been benched on his hands.

      So my conclusion is that regardless of how well they play in camp, Rees will be the starter. And although Kelly will talk about “packages” for AH and maybe even Zaire, you won’t see them much. Remember in 2011, every week he’d talk about a package for Hendrix and that would mean about 5-6 snaps max, then sit for 2 weeks, then another 5-6 snaps.

      So don’t buy into the blather about Zaire or “packages”.
      Rees is the QB this year.

      • bearcatirishfan - Jun 1, 2013 at 12:34 PM

        In all fairness he did play Hendrix the whole second half against Stanford in 2011. Not that the result was great but it shows a willingness to not always go to tommy.

        I think we are all forgetting that Kelly wants to win games as well and he knows his players better than we do, if he honestly thinks Zaire is the best chance to win he will play him. I remember in that usf disaster in 2011 that Rees got hurt, and he was about to send in Gouldstein until Rees popped back up.

        Now I believe the starter will be Rees, but would not be shocked if he tries someone else. The other thing to think about is Rees will need a backup if he gets hurt, Hendrix ain’t that guy so he may try to get Zaire involved from that standpoint as well. The thing I am most disappointed about is another summer of who will be the starter wait and see, I was looking forward to not dealing with that for once.

      • wisner74 - Jun 1, 2013 at 2:00 PM

        Mr. Nude (1historian – I really like your appellation for the man) – If I could get everyone here together in a bar to debate about Tommy Rees over a pitcher of beer, you are the very first guy I’d invite. I often agree with you on other issues, but disagree vehemently with you on TR, and I see you as the leader of the anti-TR pack.

        No one is nominating the kid for the hall of fame, but he is much better than you guys give him credit for. I did a long post on this right after the EG news broke, and was disappointed that it did not draw a rejoinder from you. (Sorry to hear about your family issues; I hope all is well.)

        Almost all of TR’s body of work is from his FRESHMAN and SOPHOMORE years. You may also want to see my more recent post comparing his sophomore numbers to Brady Quinn’s sophomore numbers. Very close, probably better than BQ’s overall.

        I am not going to reiterate my comments about the Michigan game two years ago here, but HE HAD THAT GAME WON under enormously pressured-filled circumstances. It was the first game of his SOPHOMORE year, UM’s first night game ever, national TV audience! I also recall a big-time drive against Pitt that year that pulled the game out.

        You say his performance against top-tier opponents has been terrible? I remember USC two years ago. It was a big deal game for some reason I can’t remember (maybe the first with the new helmets or something?) and the Irish had a week off to get ready. We came out flat as a pancake and USC walked all over us in the first half. Down by two touchdowns at the half, I think. In the second half, TR got us moving. Then he gets dinged and Crist (who I personally respect very much, but he doesn’t have half of TR’s moxie) came in and the infamous 98-yard fumble return happened a few plays later. Game over.

        Rees has lead feet, and a mediocre arm, but he gets everything possible out of his gifts. You cannot ask more of an athlete. Of course he’s made some critical mistakes, but again mostly in his first two years. You show me a QB who hasn’t made critical mistakes, and I’ll show you a QB who isn’t allowed to play much, if at all, in critical situations. Too many interceptions? Let me introduce you to Mr. Brett Favre.

        If you could put TR’s brains, instincts and moxie into a Dane Crist-type body, you would have a future NFL quality QB. No doubt.

      • drdannddad - Jun 1, 2013 at 2:47 PM

        Wisner – I tend to agree. Granted, TR has his limitations, but they are not as extensive as most posters would have you believe. I think playing back-up last year and another year of development/maturity can only help. As an aside, the UM game still just kills me! Instead of getting credit for leading the Irish to a great, historic last-minute win, his effort is largely forgotten due to the generosity of our secondary. It still hurts! Ugh!!

      • bearcatirishfan - Jun 1, 2013 at 3:14 PM

        These are all good points, I also will state that it was not tr that dropped a perfectly thrown long ball against FSU in the champs sports bowl, by #3 that would have at least out nd ahead at the time.

      • bernhtp - Jun 1, 2013 at 3:46 PM

        Nude, your comments are belied by the experience of last year. At the end of the 2011 season with its ignominious defeat by FSU, Kelly decided (with Martin) they needed a new QB despite the fact they played the best one they had. Golson was nowhere near as competent at running the ND offense at that point. Golson wasn’t even as good as Rees after fall camp. But I believe that arrest/suspension or not, Golson was going to start against Navy. Kelly decided that the team needed a QB with more upside capability than Rees could provide. The decision became an amazingly courageous and important one given what happened in 2012.

        So you think that the basis of this decision and its need has somehow changed for 2013? I don’t think so; not for a minute. Kelly has great affection for Tommy, would love for him to be the guy, but knows he can’t be. He’s again going to look elsewhere, albeit some help from Rees. There will be at least a couple of games where the QB will need to step up and do things Rees can’t.

        I mostly disagree with your Hendrix comments. Both Hendrix and Zaire were reported to have a great spring. They both have important capabilities that Rees lacks. They both have eligibility the following year that Rees doesn’t. If Kelly can win games with them early as they progress, with the hope/expectation they will progress to win in the tough games, I think he will try what worked last year. Rees will be THE guy if both Hendrix and Zaire give him no choice, but I personally doubt that happens.

      • nudeman - Jun 1, 2013 at 5:03 PM

        OK bern … so what are you saying?
        Do you honestly think Hendrix or Zaire will start? If so, which one?

        For reasons already mentioned, I just can’t see it; either of them.
        Rees is BK’s boy and that’s that. He’ll find a way to make him the starter, Hendrix will be #2 and get an occasional few snaps, and BK will try to preserve a year of eligibility for Zaire. He’ll only play if he has to.

        And I hope I’m wrong.

      • bernhtp - Jun 1, 2013 at 5:33 PM

        I’m saying that anointing Rees as starter is premature. I’m saying that Kelly wants at least one of Hendrix/Zaire to be able to start, and not just for lowly Temple. Whether either shows that they are ready to lead the team is another issue.

        I don’t know what the outcome will be, but I do believe that Kelly will be watching the QB competition very closely and it won’t be nearly as perfunctory an exercise as many are implying.

      • jrct2450yahoo - Jun 1, 2013 at 5:42 PM

        I can’t begin to imagine how painful it is for you to say that!

  7. irishdog80 - Jun 1, 2013 at 12:21 PM

    I am still waiting for the national media to apologize to Notre Dame for ripping ND after Willingham was fired… for just cause.

    • drdannddad - Jun 1, 2013 at 2:41 PM

      I’m not holding my breath on that one…

      • papadec - Jun 1, 2013 at 3:38 PM

        dog80 & dr – don’t either of you hold your breath on that, EVER HAPPENING!!!!!!!!!!! Especially from espn. Best part of that whole deal (other than the cancer being removed from ND) was Willingham ending up out here, at UWash – and with my son at WSU – I cleaned up on in-state rivalry wagers. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh – how sweet it was.

  8. wisner74 - Jun 1, 2013 at 2:53 PM

    While I’m at it . . . about Purdue last year. . . (This one is not directed at you, Mr. Nude). I am a ’74 grad and I live in Chicago. Being both 60 years old and living only about 100 miles from ND, I have had the great good fortune to have attended probably somewhere between 80-90 games over the years. The booing of Tommy Rees when he came into the Purdue game last year was the second most classless thing I have ever seen at ND stadium. (The first was at a Blue/Gold game in the early ’80s – not worth going into here.)

    I know that this issue was intensely debated last Fall, and yes I choose not to jump into it at that time. But since it has come up again today, here I go:

    We are talking about amateur athletes here. We are talking about 18-22 year old kids. We are talking about kids who almost certainly buy into the same types of values that most of us do. These are kids who almost always do us proud, win or lose. (More on Rees’s mistake in a minute).

    I think there is a very narrow window for booing such people. If they demonstrably are not giving full effort, if they behave badly on the field or hot dog it, if . . . I don’t know, maybe a few other situations, then yes go ahead and boo.

    But Rees was just coming onto the field for the first time that night to try to pull our fat out of the fire. I was there: Section 133 or so, row 15 or so, and I got into a bit of “discussion” with a “fan” from North Carolina, who frankly had been irritating me most of the game with his cry-babying (although I do have to admit it was painful to watch Golson being spoon-fed from the sidelines before every play.) He was in the row behind me, so I could not escape hearing his commentary throughout the game. This guy goes off like Mount Vesuvius when he sees Rees come off the bench, as did probably 10,000 other like-minded numb skulls. Frankly, I was enormously relieved. I thought we were going to lose that game for sure until Rees came in. So I did something I don’t normally do, and engaged someone who had been pissing me off for awhile in a “polite’ conversation. Well, what do you know? Rees does pull it out (and yes, Mr. Nude, he did pull that pass to Goodman out of his ass; but two things, first, you may recall that his primary receiver on that play got held and it wasn’t called, and second, HE MADE THE F***ING PLAY!) After we won, I’ll admit it, I turned around to gloat, and what do you know, he had left the stadium. I don’t know, maybe he had a bus to catch . . .

    Yes, Rees made a huge mistake with the incident with the South Bend police, along with his buddy Carlo (and Carlo’s people). Frankly, I was surprised that he only got a one-game suspension for that. It was bad. I was enormously relieved to hear that he did not knee a cop, as had been originally reported. In my opinion, that would have been worthy of a semester suspension, if not expulsion. But you may have read my post about 18-22 year-olds from several days ago. Anybody remember the golden boy, Rick Mirer, and DeMetrious DuBose getting into the same kind of trouble one year just before the season. Good judgment is not necessarily the greatest strength of kids that age. How about a paraphrase of the New Testament: Let he who never screwed up during those years of his life, cast the first stone.

    So any of you folks who were there and did boo, I will give you credit for owning up to it, and I strongly encourage you to change your attitude about such things. For those of you who weren’t there but say you would boo, I strongly encourage you to re-think your attitude about booing as well.
    Because until that happens, I you’re probably not getting past the bouncer at the door to the tavern on Wisner Street, and I sure as hell am not buying you a beer. Mr. Nude, however, and many others, your seats at Table One are waiting.

    OK, sorry, I think I had too much caffeine this morning.

    • yogihilt - Jun 1, 2013 at 4:33 PM

      Impressive… where’s the bar and what’s the name.. in Atlantic City?

      • papadec - Jun 1, 2013 at 4:42 PM

        yogi – uhhhhhh “wisner74” & “Wisner Street”. Wake up lad, wake up.

      • wisner74 - Jun 2, 2013 at 8:24 PM

        I grew up on Wisner Street.

    • bernhtp - Jun 1, 2013 at 4:56 PM

      I was a few rows behind the ND bench at the Purdue game. I was surprised when I saw Rees and Hendrix told to warm up for about a minute. Hendrix had his helmet on; Rees didn’t, so you would think that Hendrix was the one about to go in, but I had the strong feeling, just by their demeanor, that Rees was going in.

      The booing that erupted from the student section when Tommy took the field was very unfortunate. Whatever you think of his football capabilities, he clearly always gives it his all. He’s always prepared and has the full respect of his teammates.

      The pass to Goodman did float for an eternity. John saved our ass in the way he came back strong for the ball and went up to get it. That one play exemplified the entire season. It certainly would have been a pick-six in 2011.

      I disagree about Rees and the cop. I had too much background to believe the arrest report. Subsequent information only reinforced my skepticism. Tommy and Carlo got suspended because of public perception and being dumb, but didn’t get more because others involved didn’t believe the police story either.

    • 1historian - Jun 2, 2013 at 11:38 AM

      Good piece and thanks for the compliment

    • irish4006 - Jun 2, 2013 at 12:56 PM

      Are you sure the boos were directed to Rees and not Kelly or the decision to pull Golson out? Kelly is a professional who is compensated quite well and should be able to handle the cheers, admiration and the occasional boo that come with the territory.

      I must say that your recent barrage of posts in Tommy’s support makes me think that you are Tommy’s mom and not some mythical ND grad with a mafia name from the 70s. I was one of ‘those Tommy haters’ (isn’t it how you’d put it?), I said I would stop watching ND football if TR started in 2012. I am not saying the same this year, none of ‘those Tommy haters’ is. The team has changed, circumstances have changed, other options are not looking too good, TR 2013 theoretically should be better than TR 2011, our faith in BK is way up etc. etc.

      I find the fanboyish enthusiasm and gushing over things he almost did or could have done a bit odd. That is all.

      • wisner74 - Jun 2, 2013 at 8:57 PM

        Feeling a little defense are we, Irish4006?

        I hate the casual use of the word “hater” and would not use it here, at least not in this context. Didn’t happen. OK, maybe calling you folks “a bit pathological” was hyperbolic, but I am standing fast with the “blowhard” label.

        Thanks for the “mom” reference, because it got me thinking about my own reaction to all of this. Why the hell am I so cranked up about this all of the sudden? Here’s what I’ve come up with: I am more than old enough to be Tommy Rees’ dad, and and almost into grandfather range. I have to admit I am feeling protective of the guy. Like I suspect many thousands of others, I check this site frequently and usually enjoy the commentary, but have rarely posted over the years. So I’m sure I seem like a new presence. I’ve endured the negative commentary about Rees as just part of the back-and-forth, and never bothered to jump into it until now. So why now? I think it is because of my experience at the Purdue game last year. I’ve got to say I’ve been stewing on those boos ever since. They still irk the sh*t out of me.

        We’re all fans, and that means that our attitudes and opinions don’t need to be completely rational all of the time. Fanatics. I have despised the Minnesota Vikings for decades now; I can’t tell you exactly why, and I don’t feel the need to. I am a born and bred Bear fan. So how can the Packers be my third-favorite team (Browns are #2), except during the Forrest Gregg years? I don’t know!

        But I’ve been enduring this rank criticism of this kid for long enough now. It is simply unfair and unworthy of the usual quality you read here. You anti-TR guys have become a giant echo chamber. You reinforce each other, and hearing it often enough you don’t seem to need to ever examine your opinions. As I just mentioned, you certainly don’t need to do that; you’re a fan like the rest of us. But as the saying goes, “Opinions are like a**holes, everybody’s got one.” So you don’t like Rees. Wow, that’s interesting.

        But if you are going to mis-characterize my posts on this topic, and call me “mom,” “mythical ND grad” and “fanboyish” to boot, you need to be ready come up with more than just your opinion.

        Don’t get me wrong, and apparently I do need to repeat myself: I’m not saying that TR is going to the hall of fame or going to lead us to the NC game in ’13. In the perfect world EG would be our QB this season. But what I have been saying repeatedly is we are damn lucky to have him, and he has saved the team’s butt several times in critical situations. We all agree that he has also blown several games. Yes, he does tend to stare down receivers (although that pass to Goodman in the Purdue game was arguably one of the most important plays of the season.) WE GET IT. I’m just looking for a little fairness from you folks for a kid who can’t be more than 22 years old.. How about acknowledging what he does well once in awhile? You don’t like him, great. That’s enlightening. Now tell me why I’m wrong in thinking that under the circumstances, we are lucky to have. My mind can be changed, but not by name-calling.

        You could learn from Mr. Nude, Irish4006. He frequently comes out with controversial observations, but he always has some analysis or rationale to back it up. That’s why he’s “The Man” on this site as far as I’m concerned, and why I like “Mr. Nude.” I know he disagrees with me about Rees, and that’s why I’m hoping that he can come up with more than you have.

      • irish4006 - Jun 3, 2013 at 1:32 PM

        I think you are missing the point here. I have nothing personal against Rees. I am sure he is doing the best he can. My argument was that it was just not good enough for a school like ND. TR could only be stop-gap QB and not the QB of choice. BTW, when Rees got in trouble with the cops, I was not jumping on the bandwagon to call for suspension or anything like that. Kids are kids and $h*t happens.

        My issue with the QB situation was somewhere else. I always maintained that a college football coach should be able to manufacture a QB in 3 years (it is not NFL and you don’t get to build a team over 5 years) out of thin air if he has to and if we had to endure TR one more year, BK was not the coach we hoped he was. BK did get Golson ready for year 3 and we had a great year. He cannot, however, ensure that these kids will not make a mistake and be expelled from the University.

        Apparently I need to repeat myself too. As I said, given the circumstances at hand (unlike 2012), I will support whoever BK puts under center. If Rees is the best option we have now, so be it. I can only hope that Rees 2013 is an improved version of Rees 2011 (totally possible). If someone else can take the job away from him, that too would be a very good outcome.

        I don’t know what additional analysis you are looking for. Buy the pitcher, we will talk. I am just not that excited to have Rees back under center; if that somehow gets under your skin, I am afraid I can’t help you there.

  9. irishfootball55 - Jun 1, 2013 at 2:59 PM

    Props to the posts on this subject, very good well informed opinions. A couple of things to consider when discussing the QB battle. I do think Hendrix gets a real look this fall for one big reason. He has two years of eligibility left. After Rees graduates Hendrix will be the only QB with experience on the depth chart. Zaire will also get snaps and should be a real option for 2014. We can’t assume that Everett will be back in 2014. I think he will but if he isn’t then your looking at Zaire, Hendrix, and two freshmen recruits as our QB options for 2014. This season it’s Tommy Rees job to loose. Brian Kelly used 5 QB’s at Cincinnati and he may use all three this year. Tommy Rees has worked hard every season at ND and did not bitch at all, at least publicly when Golson became QB1.If Zaire or Hendrix shines in fall practice great. As I have said all along Zaire is the future and by far has the highest ceiling you just don’t want to rush him if he is not ready. He is next years starter at this point and if Golson returns then there will competition between Golson and Zaire and both are Kelly types of QB’s.

    • bearcatirishfan - Jun 1, 2013 at 3:19 PM

      Just as a note he only used 5 that year because 4 got hurt including tony pike the eventual starter. I will also submit that he used pike and a guy named zack collaros the next season rather well. He he changed them in and out somewhat seamlessly. My point is he can manage the two QB thing well.

    • ibleedirish - Jun 2, 2013 at 8:54 AM

      I agree that I think Hendrix will get a fair look. But I disagree that it has anything to do with his extra year of eligibility. Brian Kelly has demonstrated (to his great credit imo) that he doesnt care at all about NEXT season. The only thing he cares about is winning now, THIS season. I don’t think it bothers him one bit to start each season with a new quarterback. As much as that may bother some fans, in college football its really the only way to operate. With recruits that sign then change their mind, players that transfer, get injured, cheat on tests, get dui’s etc. you never can tell what the make-up of your team is until the ball is kicked game 1.

      I believe the QB that gives ND the best chance to win now will start. I don’t believe years of eligibility, burning redshirts etc. enters into the discussion for BK at all. Those things are for us fans to debate. For BK, only the present matters, and only the players that are on the team now get consideration. And I like that attitude.

      One last thing. I’ve been as critical of Rees as anyone, but I will admit, I like the kids attitude. Everything about it. If he starts I certainly will support him, no booing. But I will say this. To those of you that think he’s suddenly going to become Peyton Manning just because he’s a year older, please re-watch the BYU game. Why does anyone think things will be different than that?

  10. irishfootball55 - Jun 1, 2013 at 3:07 PM

    Keith please give us the real story on Vanderdoes. I know that the media knows more than is being talked about and frankly I am sick of Joe Davidson of the Sacramento Bee being the Vanderdoes mouth piece.

    • papadec - Jun 1, 2013 at 3:57 PM

      55 – I just read a short item @ IrishSportsDaily regarding EV. The 1st appeal of the LOI was rejected by the ncaa. The family has appealed that. ND not giving up on EV – trying to remind him & his family why he chose ND. With two weeks remaining – he/they are running out of time. Looks like it will be report to ND, OR sit for a year.

      • bernhtp - Jun 1, 2013 at 5:39 PM

        I see little possibility that Eddie will suit up for the Irish, but I also think he will sit a year. Notre Dame doesn’t want a kid to come who clearly doesn’t want to, but will make him pay for creating the entire ordeal so that it doesn’t happen again. Every AD and coach in the country will be with ND here (except for maybe UCLA).

  11. irishfootball55 - Jun 1, 2013 at 4:45 PM

    Two points that are gaining momentum, first is many on the left coast have accused ND fans of posting racial slurs about the young man, actually Eddies personal reporter has written that. I have not read or heard any racial slurs directed at EV4 but I am sure there may have been a few. I dont believe that is a reflection of the true Notre Dame Football fan and frankly I think it’s horse shit that it was even reported. Secondly what is the lie that keeps being brought up that the ND coaches told the Vanderdoes family. Again many rumors but nothing but rumors. I did read what you just confirmed that his appeal to the NCAA was denied. I would still like him to report to ND in June but if he has a legitimate reason, family illness, then it would be understandable for him to seek his release. Anything short of that he should be given two choices, report to ND, the school you freely choose with your parents guidance and play football or enjoy watching football in the fall as you sit the year out. I think it is as simple as UCLA continued to recruit Eddie after he signed his LOI and eventually he had a case of buyers remorse. Now he wants out after he gave ND his commitment when in fact if he doesn’t report that is a scholarship the Irish could have possibility used on another player.

    • 1historian - Jun 2, 2013 at 11:44 AM

      Deny him the release from the LOI, let him sit at home and watch and it’s my bet that he’ll come around.

      IOW – Give him a good look at what he can be a part of.

  12. irishpuma - Jun 1, 2013 at 7:48 PM

    #1 nch domer and a few others……..You are all absolutely crazy if you think we will win the national championship or win a BCS bowl with Rees or Hendrix. (I will be glad to be wrong but not happening) More painful than the poor boos of tommy against Purdue is watching him mis manage and throw lob balls for 60 minutes a game. More painful as well was the half of Hendrix I watched from the 50 yard line against Stanford in 11. On top of this Rees has no eligibility left and even if Hendrix suddenly picked up football he only would have one more year left if he does not leave to go play doctor. Either of these two under center equals an average season at best, (8 wins maybe 9)which be honest is not acceptable at ND. Championship or bust.

    #2 If you buy in to point #1 then why would you not start Zaire and ride or die with him while he progresses? He is the only QB on the roster with 4 years left which makes him the man by default. (don’t give me the redshirt crap cuz that is not happening guaranteed.) I have to believe he is smarter than Golson and I know more athletic than Rees and outperformed golson, kiel at elite 11 camp…a camp Hendrix was not ever invited to. I agree with BERN lets do it and we got Rees in reserve. Who knows Zaire may have that intangible it factor he is a winner and he could pull off 10 wins or he could end up at 6 or 7.

    #3 so if you are still with me and buy in even a little to points 1 and 2 then it is Zaire time. If we are going to win 8 or 9 best case and be stuck with a QB with no experience in 2014 the risk reward is not there. I think it could be 7 win season no matter who we put there but I would rather have the only QB we have on roster long term getting the experience and work since we are not going to be contending for a NC next year anyway.

    Ok begin the bashing.

    • papadec - Jun 1, 2013 at 8:02 PM

      puma – if you are going to base your argument for Z on the long term, I think you have to include Golson in 1914 & beyond.

      • papadec - Jun 1, 2013 at 8:04 PM

        puma – I meant 2014 – I’m trying to do this with the Red Sox/Yanks on the TV, in the next room.

  13. wisner74 - Jun 1, 2013 at 8:32 PM

    Well, puma, I think it’s time to order a second pitcher of beer. I don’t think anyone is saying that Rees will take ND to a championship. All I am saying is that after the EG disaster we are very lucky to have a guy like TR, who has started 18 games and thrown for over 4,000 yards, ready to go. Very few college teams would be so lucky. I also don’t think he gets enough credit for being such a team-oriented guy when so many others would have become problems.

    If Zaire is ready, let’s go, I’m fine with that. Hendrix also has a lot of talent, if he can ever show that he has mastery of the passing game. But it’s awfully nice to have the TR-option, either as a starter or a reliever, and I think many folks are not giving the kid his due.

    • papadec - Jun 2, 2013 at 6:55 AM

      Alright, I’m 70 & my memory ain’t what it used to be. BUT, I sort of remember Keith posting an item, last year, regarding a supposed team uprising in support of TR as starting QB. If that was, and still is, true – wouldn’t they support him this season with even greater effort as a Senior?

      • bernhtp - Jun 2, 2013 at 9:40 AM

        Not quite an uprising, but especially early in the season the team saw Rees better in practice than Golson and Golson have bad games (e.g., Michigan) that came precariously close to losing. Rees was also older, has/had personal relationships with many of the key guys (e.g., housemate with Eifert) and was generally respected as a leader. While they viewed Golson as very talented, some questioned his mental abilities and preparation, and worried that this would cost them games. These reservations went away after the OK game.

        The team would certainly support Rees, but I think they’ve also bought into Kelly’s judgment on the matter, especially after the success of last year.

    • bernhtp - Jun 2, 2013 at 9:31 AM

      We are lucky to have a guy like Rees, but would be luckier if we got to put him in the role of backup and mentor. I’m hoping one of the others beats Rees out and puts him in his best role.

    • irish4006 - Jun 3, 2013 at 1:42 PM

      @wisner, looks like we do need that pitcher. Had I read this post before your earlier one, we would probably not have the argument above.

      The fact that I hated Rees as ‘the man’ at QB has nothing to do with Rees the person, or Rees the backup QB. I too think that we are lucky to have him on the team. This is a luxury that almost no other team has.

  14. yaketyyacc - Jun 2, 2013 at 4:45 AM

    puma. AMEN!

  15. bernhtp - Jun 2, 2013 at 10:00 AM

    OFD has a decent analysis of Hendrix.

    • jerseyshorendfan1 - Jun 2, 2013 at 1:48 PM

      That’s good stuff from OFD bern, thx for posting. Just goes to show you, sometimes you don’t see what’s right in front of your eyes. I watched those games as they were played and I don’t recall being overly impressed with Hendrix at the time. I have said earlier that I’m not real concerned over the loss of Golson and that I’d be comfortable with any of these three rising to the top. In my mind though, I was thinking either Rees or Zaire, leaving Hendrix essentially out of the equation. Seeing this analysis, against a Stanford D that was pretty stout then, I have come to be a Hendrix believer. If he starts, I will even pray to sweet baby Jesus that he doesn’t pull a Ricky Bobby.

      • 4horsemenrideagain - Jun 3, 2013 at 1:10 PM

        is that Jesus as a ninja fighting off evil samurai, or Jesus wearing a tuxedo t-shirt?

  16. nchdomer - Jun 2, 2013 at 11:03 AM

    Interesting analysis by OFD of Hendrix. Thanks bernhtp. In viewing his plays, it seems that what Hendrix lacks is game experience. He really is talented. Perhaps with more playing time he could have developed into the starter. He might still do that. I hear all of the arguments on who should start and they all have merit. If this were two years ago or the start of last year, I could see starting Zaire. But this team is now competing for the top spot. I don’t know if it can get there with any of the QBs in the current mix but a freshman taking you there is long odds and, again, it seems you are playing for next year or the year after if he starts. The best chance for success at the QB spot for 2013 for my money is with either Rees or Hendrix. I still believe you pick one of those seniors and play the season with him. If the team loses a couple games, you can then start looking to next year. I do, however, understand and respect the views of those arguing for the freshman to start immediately. Always fun to debate the starting quarterback issue in the off season.

    • bernhtp - Jun 2, 2013 at 2:26 PM

      While Hendrix wasn’t great in the 2011 Stanford game, he played better than Rees, who was miserable. Hendrix went in the second half with a big deficit, and thus was forced to make bigger plays than comfortable, especially for a newbie.

      I thought that Hendrix had the best performance in the BG spring game. I heard a bunch of dismissive comments about him after the game, which I didn’t understand, and then went back and rewatched the game to confirm my impressions. While the victim of a few easy drops, Hendrix made some really good throws. Also, the rules of the game (no QB contact) didn’t enable him to use one of his big strengths: power running.

      With that said, while the Ricky Bobby thing is comedic hyperbole, there is some truth to him getting flustered and making errors under pressure. Rees is clearly better in this department. Also, there is a reason Kelly has consistently had Rees ahead of Hendrix on the depth chart. It’s now up to Andrew to turn the tables and win the job. He will have the opportunity, IMO.

    • papadec - Jun 2, 2013 at 6:05 PM

      nch – long odds, indeed. It sounded like the Vegas betting line had jumped the Irish to 50-1 on the Golson news.

  17. rdeal23 - Jun 2, 2013 at 2:37 PM

    The facts are this…tommy stares down receivers and if his number one option is not available he will probably still throw it anyway which will lead to a turnover. Hendrix is not comfortable at all in the pocket and throws a gun fastball on every release. Zaire brings hope for the future but is not ready. I have a feeling this will be a frustrating year.

    • papadec - Jun 2, 2013 at 6:11 PM

      23 – keep the faith baby, keep the faith! I think my mantra, for this year, will have to be something like – defense & O-Line will buy the QB enough time; defense & O-Line…………….

  18. irishfootball55 - Jun 2, 2013 at 6:37 PM

    The QB is not going win or loose games for the Irish this season. The TEAM is way to talented that it needs to rely on one player to carry the team. Rees is much better than he was 3 years ago and won’t make the mental mistakes a less seasoned QB would make. Hendrix is talented however he will need to prove he is a better option than Rees which he may in fact do. From what saw of Zaire at spring practice and the Blue/Gold game is a very talented young man with great potential. All the coaches are very high on Malik but he will have to come a long way to beat Tommy out. The statement l made about Hendrix I had heard from another Irish fan who attended the coaches clinic at ND. I understand Brian Kelly is focused on 2013. Trust me he is already with Tony Alford, possibly the best recruiter in college football looking at 2014 a year when they were planning on leaving the QB position off the recruiting needs. If you think this year is going to be interesting just look ahead if Hendrix does not return and Golson doesn’t follow through with his vow to return the Irish will be faced with a depth chart of Zaire and two freshmen. Not ideal at all. I like all of our options at QB, not as much as Golson, however Rees is not as bad as he is being made out to be.

    • nudeman - Jun 3, 2013 at 9:58 AM

      With all due respect, where is your evidence that Tommy Rees “much better than he was three years ago”? Just my opinion but his relief appearances last year were highly overrated in terms of effectiveness.

      And as a starter, he’s just awful. His last 4 starts (not counting the one series against Miami) were BC, Stanford, FSU and BYU. Go check the numbers.

      You say the quarterback is not going to win or “loose” games for ND? Why would you say that? Completely ridiculous. That’s what QBs, good and bad, do.

      • bernhtp - Jun 3, 2013 at 10:58 AM

        I wrote a quick reply to his post yesterday morning, but killed it before I hit reply – it was pretty caustic.

        To Rees’ credit, he stepped in last year and was OK to good in relief when Golson played really badly. He was cool, relatively efficient, and better than times previous in the important turnover department. However, his play as starter – where the defense got to prepare for him – was not nearly so good; it’s been dreadful, as you point out with his last five starts.

        In terms of the QB winning games, I don’t believe that we would have won the OK game or pulled out the Pitt game had Rees played the entire game. Golson won those. When you look at 2011, there were a couple of games “loosed” by Rees and others he failed to win. A look at QB running/sack stats shows a huge difference between Golson (and Hendrix) and Rees.

        This is not meant to disparage Rees, but he just isn’t the guy to win games, and the QB will need to win some games this year.

        After the 2011 season, Kelly announced an open QB competition in an attempt to fix the obvious problem. The result was Golson (though I believe it was his to lose pretty early from what I hear) and the great 2012 season. I just don’t see how things have changed since then given Golson’s demise. There will be a (non-perfunctory) QB competition and I bet that Kelly/Martin have someone in mind winning it who can outrun a cop and cabby.

      • nudeman - Jun 3, 2013 at 12:52 PM

        Seems you’re saying you think that Martin/Kelly want to find a way to start Zaire? I don’t know how I’d feel about that. He might be talented and picking up the playbook fast and all that … but Ann Arbor week 2? Then USC, Oklahoma, ASU in TX Stadium, Pitt at Pitt … Wow.

        Started thinking about this the other day and Zaire absolutely has to play this year. It’s possible, maybe even likely, that in 2014 Hendrix won’t come back and Golson might not get re-admitted, leaving only Zaire as a returning QB.

        I’ll bet you a couple beers in ND Stadium this year that he starts Rees and plays Zaire a little more each week.

        Funny thing is that sort of leaves Hendrix out in the cold.

      • bernhtp - Jun 3, 2013 at 4:08 PM

        They want to start the guy that has the chance to win the most games. They’re seen that Rees doesn’t get them to nearly what Golson (with some Rees help) did last year. We all did.

        It could be Zaire, maybe in could even be Hendrix, it could be a combination, but I don’t think (and I doubt they do either) that it’s Tommy all season long. They want to win and they’re hoping to find/develop the guy that can bring them back to the big game.

        My basic point is that I think their minds are far more open that what I see on this board. If he starts Rees,it will because he has to, not necessarily because he wants to.

      • bernhtp - Jun 3, 2013 at 4:55 PM

        Oh, even if Hendrix did turn out to be #3, I expect him to get some good playing time for reasons I gave a couple of weeks ago (before the Golson expulsion). Kelly want Hendrix back for a fifth, and if I were Andres, I would move on to med school if I weren’t playing. If I did play and did well, I would definitely stick around to compete next year. It’s the opportunity that will keep giving his entire life.

        There are many uncertainties regarding the need to retain Hendrix: Golson’s return, Golson re-ascendancy, injuries, transfers, expulsions, arrests, etc.

        If Rees starts/plays the entire season, while it increases the probability of Golson’s return, it leaves you next year with Zaire, maybe Golson, and whatever recruiting commits that actually enroll as freshmen. This calculus cannot be lost and Kelly and co.

      • irish4006 - Jun 3, 2013 at 5:56 PM

        It is probably too early to tell because of the timing of EG dismissal, the last time the team was on the practice field, he was the starter, Rees the backup, MZ the redshirt new guy. Things will likely be a lot clearer after a couple of practice sessions and we will get a better idea of what BK is really thinking/trying.

        Based on what you are saying bern, I have to agree that it would likely be more logical to try someone else as a starter and have TR as a very capable backup for when things are not working. It is also possible that TR is so far ahead of the other 2, that he is de facto no. 1 with AH the backup. The bottom line is that there doesn’t seem to be one BEST option and it will take some major “stepping up” on someone’s part to get to a 10 (or more) win season. Aaarrggghhhh…

      • wisner74 - Jun 3, 2013 at 7:04 PM

        Mr. Nude – Three years ago was Rees’s true freshman year. You can’t possibly be suggesting that his performance has not advanced since then, are you? I assume you were just saying that for effect.

        I can’t bring to mind all of his relief performances, but are you really saying that the Irish would have pulled out last year’s Purdue game if TR hadn’t come in? How can saving the team’s bacon even in one game be overrated? How much would we have lost to Michigan by last year if EG had stayed in that game?

        That said, I actually disagree with your underlying premise that QBs win or lose games. This isn’t baseball where a dominating pitcher can practically win a game on his own as long as his teammates play decently behind him and get him a run or two. No doubt a really good or bad performance by a QB can have a more dramatic effect on a game outcome than that of any other player on the offense. But how good do you think Brett Favre, or anyone else you like, would have been playing behind the Chicago Bear’s O-line of the last couple years? There is just too much interdependence between players in football. A lousy line (or receivers, running backs, etc.) is likely to have much more effect on the preformance of an excellent QB, than a lousy outfield (or whatever) will usually have on the performance of an excellent pitcher.

        But if you want to stick with your premise that win or lose games is what QB’s do, then I guess Rees won Purdue (and Michigan) didn’t he? He has also won 12 other games in his career. 14-4, isn’t it? That’s not bad. That kind of performance probably gets a pitcher invited to the All-Star game.

      • bernhtp - Jun 3, 2013 at 9:53 PM

        Three years ago? 2011, when Rees played the entire season after the first half of USF (except when he got pulled at Stanford and FSU for sucking), was his sophomore year. Last year’s BYU game, the one whole game he played, was also a crappy performance. Beginning with Pitt 2011, opposing defenses understood Rees’ limitations and played a consistent gameplan against it, and effectively so. He’s OK – not great, but OK – when defenses prepared for Golson, but once they take that old Pitt defensive playbook against hi, he’s completely ineffective.

  19. martyhealy - Jun 4, 2013 at 3:05 PM

    I would love to know if Luke Massa is practicing around campus throwing or catching.

    Let’s keep in mind that Hendrix was chosen to have more promise than Massa, when Kelly switched
    Massa to receiver. It was explained that it was a numbers game and they only wanted four QB’s. Also, Hendrix was chosen over Crist to go in at Stanford after TR was struggling.

    TR has a weak arm, cannot run, makes poor decisions throwing interceptions, had trouble getting play from sidelines or reading defenses quickly translating to delay of game penalties Ok he may have a great football mind, but I am still waiting for him to meditate that ball into a receiver’s hands.

    ND needs to get Hendrix, Zaire and possibly Massa ready.

    Using Zaire this year will show future recruits their competition. If Zaire does great. We will all be happy!
    If he performs average or worse (based on being a true freshman) ND will have no problem attracting elite QB recruits.Zaire can always redshirt a future year if Golson returns.

    • wisner74 - Jun 4, 2013 at 9:25 PM

      I think you people are all nuts. Luke Massa? I doubt he could play QB for Connecticut.

      Bern: I consider you admitting that Rees is “OK” progress. Here are his 2011 statistics (real, actual numbers):

      269 for 411 attempts, 65.5% completion %, 2871 yds, 20 TDs, 14 INTs, QB efficiency 133.4.

      For the 923rd time, no one is nominating him for the hall of fame, but the kid is AT THE VERY LEAST OK!

      We all agree that he has notable physical limitations. We all agree that he has made some horrible plays that have cost us some games, MOST of us also realize that he has also turned in some game-saving performances.

      We all also agree that EG was our best choice for this fall! We are all rooting for someone to prove this August that he can handle the job better than Rees! Personally, I think that Hendrix has the better chance of doing that than Zaire, who is not only a true freshman, but also doesn’t have the passing resume that Golson had coming in. But I can’t tell you why Hendrix would break through now since he hasn’t done so up to now. He’s had his chances.

      I’m just really tired of all of you echo-chamber folks continuing to dump on Rees. Let it go!

      Where would we be now if Charlie hadn’t recruited him, and had only signed Hendrix and Massa that year? Answer me that one, Boys.

      And let’s order a third pitcher of beer. I’m thirsty after this rant

      • martyhealy - Jun 5, 2013 at 7:41 AM

        OK Massa is a stretch! That was just to get back to four QB’s along with Flessinger as a walk on. Rees played better than expected in 2010 going 4-0 as a starter to close out the season. I was not pleased especially the latter part of 2011 with his performance. He was fabulous in the clutch in 2012.

        Maybe, Kelly goes to a primarily two tight end offense reminiscent of the Woody Hayes days running between the tackles, Avoid penalties, Avoid negative yardage plays. Rely on the defense to get better field position. Force the defenses to put eight men in the box and possibly Rees picks up on single coverage and picks apart the defense. I doubt any of the QB’s blows our socks off with a passing attack, but it is important that the defenses have to account for the QB picking up some yards rushing occasionally.

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