Skip to content

Kelly puts his faith in Rees as his quarterback

Aug 2, 2013, 2:07 AM EST

Rees Kelly

Notre Dame is ready to kick off the 2013 with preseason expectations higher than they’ve been in South Bend since Brady Quinn was returning for his senior season. And while some fans can’t help but think about what could have been with returning starter Everett Golson back at quarterback for a second season in the starting lineup, head coach Brian Kelly is thankful that he can turn the offense back to senior Tommy Rees.

“We just think that we’re very fortunate that we have a returning starter at quarterback when you lose your starter from the national championship game,” Kelly said today when talking to ESPN 960 radio in South Bend.

Kelly didn’t have much of a choice after Golson was exiled for the fall semester after some academic improprieties. But for those Irish fans worried that the Irish playbook contracts with Rees back in the saddle, those concerns might be unfounded.

Sure, Rees won’t be the runner that Golson was last season, when he led the Irish in rushing touchdowns. But don’t expect the playbook to shrink this season, as Rees has a mastery of Kelly’s playbook that Golson can’t touch.

That includes running a tempo offense, something Notre Dame fans have been waiting to see throughout Kelly’s three seasons in South Bend. While it’s becoming an annual August rite, Kelly sounds more than confident that finally this season Rees will be able to run the speed attack Kelly was known for in his pre-Notre Dame days.

“I think we can,” Kelly said, when asked if the Irish offense will be able to run an up tempo, no huddle offense. “I think he makes it easier for us to play with fast tempo. A lot of those plays are call it and haul it plays. You can call them and go. That’s going to be easy for Tommy.”

“I think we can play fast with Tommy Rees.”

While Kelly will no doubt field similar questions when he kicks off the ’13 season with his opening press conference at noon on Friday, he laid the groundwork in his 45 minutes answering questions on the radio. And while he covered some interesting topics that we’ll get into after his more formal media session tomorrow, Kelly also did his best to extinguish another popular narrative about Rees’ alleged athletic deficiencies.

Kelly talked about the great offseason and summer his senior quarterback had, both as a leader and in Paul Longo’s training program.

“As a leader, he’s been outstanding,” Kelly said of Rees. “But more importantly, when I got a chance to look at some of the numbers physically, you wouldn’t think that when you looked at Tommy and Andrew Hendrix, that he’s stronger than Andrew physically.”

Kelly cited Rees’ bench press numbers, where he put up 225 pounds ten times. He also talked about some additional quickness and mobility, which will certainly help in the pocket.

While Kelly talked about Hendrix’s ability to potentially contribute as a complementary part, and Malik Zaire’s progress as a developing player, Kelly’s confidence in Rees was apparent. The relationship has come a long way in one calendar year, when Rees didn’t take a rep with the first team throughout all of fall camp.

With an ugly suspension and a season on the bench tutoring and supporting Golson behind him, Kelly is confident that Rees can be the leader that steps up and leads an Irish team Kelly believes can once again be in the thick of BCS title consideration.

“We’ve been together now going on four years. We’ve seen some good time and we’ve seen some bad times,” Kelly admitted. “He clearly knows the offense, he’s got great respect in the locker room, great command.

“Tommy knows what he needs to continue to work on — strength, conditioning, all those things. And he’s gotta make good decisions. If he does that, we’ll be in great shape at the QB position.”

Follow @KeithArnoldNBC

Latest Posts
  1. Moore says Notre Dame treated Frozen Five fairly

    Jan 28, 2015, 2:55 PM EST

    Notre Dame v Stanford Notre Dame v Stanford

    Kendall Moore’s football career did not end as planned. The fifth-year senior never saw the playing field after being pulled from the team in August as part of an academic dishonesty probe that kept DaVaris Daniels, KeiVarae Russell and Ishaq Williams out for the 2014 season — and school year — as well. (Eilar Hardy returned to the team in late October.)

  2. Irish land late official visit from safety Arrington Farrar

    Jan 28, 2015, 2:24 PM EST

    Arrington Farrar

    Brian Kelly took a trip to Atlanta and made his in-home visit to see safety Arrington Farrar. Things went so well that Farrar decided to take his final official visit before Signing Day to South Bend.

  3. Report: Notre Dame adds former UM strength coach Aaron Wellman

    Jan 27, 2015, 4:55 PM EST

    MVictors.com MVictors.com

    Notre Dame strength coach Paul Longo has a new lieutenant. And he’s crossed enemy lines to join the Irish staff.

  4. Irish host safety recruit Justin Reid

    Jan 26, 2015, 11:26 AM EST

    Justin Reid

    Notre Dame has a final need in their recruiting class. And over the weekend, they sold Louisiana safety Justin Reid that he could fill it.

  5. Mailbag: Sunday delivery

    Jan 25, 2015, 2:28 PM EST

    Jarrett Grace Jarrett Grace

    A special Sunday delivery of the Mailbag. Let’s get to some questions.

  6. As expected, Eilar Hardy to transfer for fifth year

    Jan 25, 2015, 11:16 AM EST

    Navy v Notre Dame Getty Images

    Safety Eilar Hardy will finish his college football career elsewhere. After four seasons in South Bend, Hardy will earn his Notre Dame degree and be free to play out his eligibility in another program.

  7. Mailbag: Finding the right 85 guys

    Jan 23, 2015, 1:04 PM EST

    Matthias Farley

    With less than two weeks to go before Signing Day, recruiting is the focus for the Irish coaching staff. But as we crack open the mailbag, we cover a bit more ground than the usual will-he or won’t-he that comes along with the first Wednesday in February.

  8. Prentice McKinney flips commitment to UNC

    Jan 22, 2015, 11:32 AM EST

    Rivals Rivals

    One of Notre Dame’s long-time verbal commitments is no longer planning on joining the Irish’s 2015 recruiting class. Texas safety Prentice McKinney took an official visit to North Carolina last weekend and flipped his commitment to Larry Fedora’s Tar Heels on Wednesday, dropping Notre Dame’s recruiting class down to 22 players and just two safeties.

  9. Mailbag: Now Open

    Jan 21, 2015, 9:51 PM EST

    New Mailbox

    Can we follow up last week’s excellence with another solid week of questions? Drop them below or @KeithArnold.

  10. Irish recruiting efforts coming into focus

    Jan 21, 2015, 1:43 PM EST

    ESB

    While the Irish coaching staff traverses the country taking in-home visits, Notre Dame’s staff is close to putting the finishing touches on a stellar recruiting class. The additional of Aliz’e Jones pushes the Irish into a consensus Top 10 class — quite an accomplishment considering this was supposed to be a smaller group.

  11. DaVaris Daniels to enter NFL Draft

    Jan 20, 2015, 12:29 AM EST

    Taylor Richards, DaVaris Daniels Taylor Richards, DaVaris Daniels

    Star-crossed Notre Dame wide receiver DaVaris Daniels’ career with the Irish is over. After two seasons and two significant suspensions, Daniels decided to forgo any additional eligibility he has at the college level and turn professional.

  12. Kelly hits the recruiting trail to bring back Stanley and Day

    Jan 19, 2015, 3:00 PM EST

    Notre Dame v Syracuse Notre Dame v Syracuse

    Say this for Brian Kelly. He learns from his mistakes.

    And after losing Stephon Tuitt and Troy Niklas after just three seasons in South Bend, Notre Dame’s head coach made sure he had a final say before Ronnie Stanley and Sheldon Day made their stay-or-go decision.

  13. Keivarae Russell gives update on off-field progress

    Jan 19, 2015, 1:44 PM EST

    Notre Dame at USC AP

    KeiVarae Russell gives a promising update on his future in South Bend via (where else?) social media.

  14. Mailbag: So many questions, so little time

    Jan 16, 2015, 1:04 PM EST

    HO HO

    Lots to discuss in our Friday mailbag. Position changes, 85 scholarships, Reggie Ho and more.

    (Collective thumbs up to all of you.)

  15. Irish land elite TE recruit Alize Jones

    Jan 15, 2015, 2:51 PM EST

    MyLVSports.com MyLVSports.com

    After being committed to UCLA for months, Las Vegas tight end Alize Jones has flipped his pledge to Notre Dame. The bluechip recruit is widely acknowledged to be the best tight end in the country and plays high school football with current Irish commit Nicco Fertitta at Bishop Gorman.

  16. Dead period over, home stretch to recruiting begins

    Jan 15, 2015, 2:19 PM EST

    Arrington Farrar

    The first College Football Playoff is over. And with less than three weeks to go before National Signing Day, the dead period has ended and the home stretch in recruiting has begun.

  17. Mailbag: Now Open

    Jan 14, 2015, 10:45 AM EST

    New Mailbox

    There’s plenty to talk about. Have a question? Drop it below or on Twitter @KeithArnold.

  18. Ronnie Stanley to return for senior season

    Jan 13, 2015, 7:00 PM EST

    Notre Dame v Syracuse Notre Dame v Syracuse

    Notre Dame junior Ronnie Stanley announced Tuesday that he will return for his senior season, giving the Irish one of the best left tackles in college football for another season. After being projected by some as a first round pick, Stanley made the decision to return for 2015.

  19. What does Ohio State’s championship mean for Notre Dame?

    Jan 13, 2015, 2:36 PM EST

    Kelly Urban Meyer

    It can happen. The right head coach can survive adversity and win a national championship. We saw that Monday night when Urban Meyer’s Ohio State Buckeyes manhandled Oregon on their way to a 42-20 victory.

  20. Coney, Dew-Treadway, Hoge and Tillery officially enrolled

    Jan 12, 2015, 6:55 PM EST

    247Sports.com 247Sports.com

    The first four members of the 2015 recruiting class begin their time at Notre Dame on Tuesday, with classes starting for early-enrollee freshmen Tevon Coney, Micah Dew-Treadway, Tristen Hoge and Jerry Tillery. All four freshmen will take part in winter workouts and spring practice, set to start in early March.