Jun 6, 2013, 1:40 AM EST
Editors Note: While there’s no doubt that Rees will be the starting quarterback against Temple, the headline of this story has been tweaked to be a little less definitive, as talking at a banquet hardly construes an official announcement.
UPDATE: It appears that Kelly did more than hint at Rees being the frontrunner for the starting job. Per an updated write-thru by Steve Kaminski at MLive.com, Kelly clarified his stance that Rees is indeed going to be the starting quarterback, at least heading into fall camp.
The quote has been adjusted in the body of the story.
Brian Kelly wasn’t comfortable naming a starting quarterback last week. Tasked with replacing Everett Golson after an academic suspension cost him the 2013 season, Kelly punted when asked who will take over behind center, instead willing to give seniors Tommy Rees, Andrew Hendrix and true freshman Malik Zaire a chance to win the job.
But when speaking at a gathering at Grand Valley, where Kelly built his professional life and coaching career, he identified Rees as his starting quarterback. The decision shouldn’t be a surprise, but it begins to clarify the offensive game plan moving forward.
According to MLive.com, Kelly discussed the state of the Irish football program after being honored with the Leadership Award during Grand Valley’s Enrichment Dinner.
“We always move forward,” Kelly said, via MLive.com. “I don’t live in the past, and I don’t spend too much time in the future. I live in the present, and in the present, we have Tommy Rees. We have Tommy Rees, who is an established player, and he will be our starter. We think Andrew Hendrix and Malik Zaire can contribute, but Tommy will be our starter.”
“We are under construction right now,” Kelly added. “It’s 2013, and we are putting our football team together. But the foundation is there, just like it was there at Grand Valley and when we left Central Michigan and Cincinnati. We think we have a good foundation.”
Rees has spent his fair share of time in the starting lineup for the Irish, winning the final four games of the 2010 season before taking over for Dayne Crist at halftime of the season opener and playing out the rest of 2011’s 8-5 campaign. When turnovers doomed an Irish offensive that was the most explosive of Kelly’s era in South Bend in 2011, the head coach adopted a new, more conservative offensive philosophy, one that he road to the BCS Championship game, even with a rookie quarterback starting and Rees playing the role of super sub.
Somebody has to start as No. 1 on the depth chart heading into offseason conditioning, so this headline shouldn’t surprise people, nor should the timing. That said, expect Kelly to prepare all three arms with a package that could help the Irish win. For Rees, that’s a veteran signal caller that’s got a mastery of the offense. For Hendrix, it’s hopefully taking advantage of his size and power. An with Zaire, the Irish have a dangerous option trigger man who is also impressing both Kelly and offensive coordinator Chuck Martin with his grasp of the offense.
Still, it’s Rees’ job heading into summer voluntary workouts — not exactly a surprise for one of the team’s leaders and most experienced offensive players. But after meeting with members of the team after they returned to South Bend, it appears that Kelly is confident that Rees can get past the turnovers that plagued him two seasons ago and play good enough football to win games.
Feb 26, 2015, 3:24 PM EST
Gone are Cody Riggs and Austin Collinsworth. Returning is a safety position that’s struggled, another transfer, a young cornerback on the rise, and (hopefully) an exiled potential star.
Welcome to the Notre Dame secondary. New coaching, same scheme, different players, and one of 2015’s great unknowns.
Feb 25, 2015, 2:34 PM EST
As we get a few extra weeks to prep for spring practice, let’s open the mailbag.
Feb 24, 2015, 6:56 PM EST
A position that looked like a huge question mark entering the 2014 season ended the year with an embarrassment of riches. After watching Will Fuller emerge with a record-setting sophomore season, the loss of DaVaris Daniels and departure of TJ Jones didn’t do anything to slow the Irish passing game down.
Feb 24, 2015, 1:34 PM EST
None of Notre Dame’s coaching changes are official yet. But more arrows point to North Carolina defensive line coach Keith Gilmore joining the Irish staff in the same role.
Feb 23, 2015, 12:43 AM EST
There might not be a deeper unit on the roster than the offensive line. After a lack of depth made it nearly impossible to practice at full speed heading into the 2012 BCS title game, Notre Dame enters the 2015 season with a two-deep most teams would pay for.
Feb 20, 2015, 10:48 AM EST
Whether it’s the Siberian Express rolling through most of the country (sorry, guys) or the grand reshuffling taking place on Brian Kelly’s coaching staff, Notre Dame announced a delay in the kickoff of spring practice.
Feb 19, 2015, 11:44 AM EST
After an incredibly impressive run at the position, Notre Dame enters spring practice with nothing but question marks at tight end. After Brian Kelly watched Kyle Rudolph, Tyler Eifert, Troy Niklas and now Ben Koyack churn through his program, he’ll spend spring trying to figure out what exactly he has at the position.
Feb 18, 2015, 11:47 AM EST
On Tuesday, a flurry of reports had Brian Kelly focusing in on the final pieces of his reshuffled coaching staff. They include two likely additions, one transition, and a position shift.
Feb 18, 2015, 11:18 AM EST
A few days after safety Avery Sebastian announced his intentions, Notre Dame made the commitment and graduate transfer of the former Cal safety official. Sebastian will enroll in graduate school and join the team in June.
Feb 17, 2015, 4:12 PM EST
After missing out on a running back in the 2014 recruiting cycle, a once crowded depth chart now only features Tarean Folston and Greg Bryant. Two backs that once worried about having to find snaps will now have all the work they could ever want, with the majority of spring spent doing everything they can to stay healthy.
Feb 16, 2015, 2:20 PM EST
One of the most impressive statistical seasons in school history was flushed down the toilet when Everett Golson could not stop turning the football over. With fumbles, poor decision-making and some plain bad luck plaguing Golson’s otherwise exceptional season, Brian Kelly chose Malik Zaire to be his starter for the Music City Bowl.
Feb 16, 2015, 8:45 AM EST
Finishing up a holiday weekend with part three of the mailbag.
Feb 14, 2015, 7:18 PM EST
Let’s continue with the mailbag, starting with my guess as to how the quarterback battle this spring ends up.
Feb 14, 2015, 1:42 PM EST
Notre Dame has its next two-sport athlete. Sophomore wide receiver Torii Hunter Jr. has joined the baseball team, UND.com announced.
Feb 13, 2015, 11:55 AM EST
We’re going to break up this mailbag into a few different sections as well. With a lot of changes swirling through Brian Kelly’s football program, there’s plenty to cover on a usually slow February weekend.
Feb 12, 2015, 10:18 PM EST
Brian Kelly hinted that Notre Dame wasn’t finished adding players to the roster on Signing Day. And on Thursday night, Kelly and the Irish coaching staff shored up one of their major deficiencies by adding Cal graduate transfer Avery Sebastian.
Feb 11, 2015, 1:38 PM EST
Just days after losing Tony Alford, it looks like Brian Kelly is making a large move on his offensive coaching staff. Multiple reports have Boise State offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Mike Sanford joining Notre Dame’s offensive staff.
Feb 11, 2015, 12:14 PM EST
Wasn’t this supposed to be a slow week? We’ve got coaching searches, potential transfers and so much more going on. Spring practice begins in three weeks. Let’s get a mailbag going. Drop your questions below or on Twitter @KeithArnold.
Feb 10, 2015, 1:08 PM EST
Tony Alford is off to Ohio State, with nothing but class displayed. The long-time Irish running back coach and recruiting coordinator joins Urban Meyer as his running backs coach while padding his resume with an assistant head coach title as well.
Feb 9, 2015, 1:52 PM EST
Brian Kelly very nearly had to replace another key assistant. That’s because Inside the Irish has learned that offensive coordinator Mike Denbrock turned down the heading coaching job at Central Michigan to stay at Notre Dame.