Notre Dame Football: Quarterback Picture Becoming Clearer

Mike MuratoreCorrespondent IAugust 9, 2012

STANFORD, CA - NOVEMBER 26:  Tommy Rees #11 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in action against the Stanford Cardinal at Stanford Stadium on November 26, 2011 in Stanford, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

In reality, Tommy Rees did head coach Brian Kelly a favor.

Thanks largely to his disorderly conduct arrest in May, and subsequent Residential Life suspension from the opening game against Navy, Rees is not receiving first-team reps in the first week of Notre Dame's fall preparatory camp practices.

Because of the suspension and the necessity to ready another QB to start in Dublin, Ireland on September 1st, Kelly is saved (most likely from himself) from feeling compelled to keep Rees in the rotation for first-team reps and keep him legitimately in the competition.

Also, seemingly dropping further behind (and probably headed to a redshirt) is true freshman Gunner Kiel, who, according to reports, is only "getting his feet wet" in the Notre Dame offense.

That leaves two.

Junior Andrew Hendrix and sophomore Everett Golson are left to battle for the starting nod and best chance to secure the reigns of the Irish offense for the near future.

Each player has several years of eligibility remaining—three for Hendrix, four for Golson including 2012. Each has an abundance of athletic talent that, if harnessed, would prove devastating to opposing defenses in Notre Dame's spread offense.

Each also has a lot to learn and extremely limited experience.

Tommy Rees is trying his best to fill in the blanks.

Maybe Rees saw this coming. Maybe this feels like a more graceful exit than simply being "replaced," but credit is due to Rees for handling the transition as well as anyone could.

He could be sullen. He could withhold his knowledge in hopes of reclaiming the starting job as he did a year ago. Instead, he has become a sort of "coach in pads."

He is constantly coaching up his "competitors," always offering advise or constructive criticism, and is constantly offering answers to what must be an Einstein-level complex offense.

Mentally, Rees understands the game to a degree that surpasses the level at which his body can play. He is destined to coach football, and seems to have begun the transition already.

Whichever player ultimately prevails as the Irish signal-caller, having Rees' knowledge behind them as an enthusiastic supporter will benefit both player and team.