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Notre Dame Escapes BYU: Why Irish Better Hope Tommy Rees Never Starts Again

SOUTH BEND, IN - SEPTEMBER 22:  Tommy Rees #11 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish looks for a receiver against the Michigan Wolverines at Notre Dame Stadium on September 22, 2012 in South Bend, Indiana. Notre Dame defeated Michigan 13-6.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Rick WeinerFeatured ColumnistOctober 20, 2012

Let's be clear. Tommy Rees didn't lead the Notre Dame Fighting Irish to victory over the BYU Cougars on Saturday afternoon.

Notre Dame won because of the running of Theo Riddick and Cierre Wood, along with the continued phenomenal play of Manti Te'o and the defense—not because of Rees' play under center, replacing the injured Everett Golson.

After a first quarter that saw Rees go 6-of-7 for 86 yards and a touchdown, he was essentially a non-factor in the game, completing only one pass the rest of the day—a 32-yard completion to TJ Jones with just under 1:30 remaining in the third quarter.

He finished the day 7-of-16 for 117 yards with a touchdown and an interception, a pick that led to BYU taking a 14-7 lead in the second quarter. In the second half of the game, Rees attempted three passes, failing to connect on any of them.

Much of that had to do with the fact that BYU was unable to stop Riddick and Wood, who both picked up more than 100 yards on the ground. But it also had to do with Rees' inability to adjust to the defensive adjustments that the Cougars made after the first quarter.

When Rees found himself under pressure, he didn't look slow in trying to evade it—he looked like he wasn't even moving. While nobody expects him to have a motor like Golson does, he should be able to move around the pocket faster than his head coach could.

Tommy Rees doesn't make the players around him better—he forces them to step up their games to make up for his deficiencies as a quarterback.

Starting him again would only prove, once again, that Albert Einstein was right when he defined insanity as "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

We've seen what Tommy Rees can do as the starter under center for Notre Dame, and it isn't good.

That's reason enough to send him back to the sideline, only to be seen again in garbage time when the outcome of the game has already been decided.

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