Notre Dame Football 2012: Tommy Rees Proves Why Keeping Him off Field Is Tough

Michael FelderNational CFB Lead WriterAugust 10, 2012

Nov 5, 2011; Winston-Salem, NC, USA;  Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback Tommy Rees (11) throws a pass during warm ups before the game against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at BB&T Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-US PRESSWIRE
Jeremy Brevard-US PRESSWIRE

When Tommy Rees was arrested back towards the start of May, we thought it might make the Fighting Irish quarterback race a two-man game.

When he was reinstated to return to workouts, it seemed that perhaps the quarterback would be in the mix to start with Everett Golson and Andrew Hendrix.

Now, with the one game suspension handed down and the Fighting Irish in camp; Tommy Rees is still not in the mix to start, technically. The South Bend Tribune reports that the reps are being split between the Golson and Hendrix:

Junior Andrew Hendrix and Golson split roughly 80 percent of the reps, with Kiel gobbling up virtually all of the remaining ones -- a pretty representative split by Kelly's estimation.

Rees is not even getting many reps at practice as the Fighting Irish prepare for their Dublin opener against the Navy Midshipmen. So no, the quarterback is not in the mix to start. At least not the opener.

However, reading a bit more of the Tribune's practice notes will expose that Rees is still sitting in a position to wrestle the job back once he's cleared to play in week two:

But for Hendrix, Rees is the go-to guy when he has questions about quarterback play. It has never crossed his mind to reach out to willing Irish legends at the position.

"There's no one who knows this offense better than Tommy," he said.

Rees is still in the catbird seat when it comes to knowing what he's doing out there on the field. That mental edge might be all he needs to get back on the field over Hendrix or Golson; whichever wins the job to start the year.

While Everett Golson is the high-ceiling guy that many Irish fans are hoping wins the job; he is also the up-and down-electrifying athlete that will drive a coach crazy with big mistakes. Hendrix is a guy who got the job done at times a season ago but has still been truly unable to beat out Tommy Rees for the job.

Rees is proving himself invaluable, even without playing a major role in the battle. Brian Kelly has paired up Rees with Golson for training camp, and even Golson sings the praises of the suspended Irish quarterback:

"It is awkward," Golson admitted of the stream of pointers Rees has offered. "And I praise Tommy for that, because honestly, I don't know if I could really do that. But Tommy is a great guy, going through what he had to go through.

"So many times we'll be talking in the room, and he'll be like, 'If you need anything, I'm here for you.' That's how it is for this whole unit. Though it's competition, we help each other out."

Essentially, Tommy Rees is the veteran who knows the playbook backwards and forwards, and while Irish fans, and perhaps Brian Kelly, want the higher ceiling Everett Golson to win the gig; it is going to be something to watch from week two going forward.

While it is nice for Tommy Rees to get his teammates on the same page, he'll be proving his knowledge of the offense with reps once the Irish return from Dublin. Expect to see his comprehension of the system push him right back into starting contention soon enough.