The Fighting Irish are off to their first 7-0 start since 2002 behind an impeccable defense. Their offense has had their shining moments, but has also struggled at times, mainly due to the team's lack of an impactful QB.
Tommy Rees was supposed to be the starter from the get-go but got himself suspended at the beginning of the year. With this suspension, Everett Gholston filled and did an admirable job, managing to beat some really good teams on ND's schedule.
In recent games, Rees has come in to relieve Gholston in big games and at key times which forced everyone to beg the question; Who is this team's real quarterback?
Brian Kelly has already announced Golson as next week's starter, but with Rees playing solid under center, the speculation is inevitable.
Tommy Rees used to struggle to take care of the football. He doesn't now.
With 41 throws, Rees has only thrown one interception and consistently keeps his defense in good spots. He has become a solid game manager and really offers no risk when he's in the game.
This week against BYU, Rees came out firing, completing a decent amount of his passes in the first half along with a nice TD. Unfortunately, it was all down hill from there, but Rees didn't hurt his team with multiple turnovers and mistakes.
This can't be overlooked, because when you have as great a defense as ND has, all you need is a safe and reliable QB.
It's obvious that this offense is at its best when Golson is playing solid at QB.The sophomore is a dual threat quarterback who makes defenses defend him in more ways than Rees, which opens things up for everybody.
Golson is not an amazing runner, but he is effective with his legs and, most importantly, forces defenses to respect his running ability. This is a huge advantage for the ND offense; unfortunately, Golson can play shaky at times and this team can't afford to turn the ball over multiple times against good teams.
This team is built on defense. Plain and simple.
For Notre Dame, they want to keep their defense in good spots, capitalize when possible, and take care of the football. They don't want to get in any shootouts. Why would you, when you have a great defense and a subpar offense?
Tommy Rees fits this style better simply due to his maturity and ability to avoid turnovers. He never puts his defense in bad spots and understands how to manage a game behind that stellar D.
Yesterday against BYU, Notre Dame looked great on the ground. The Fighting Irish rushed for over 250 yards and Theo Riddick was running like a monster.
The senior rushed for 143 yards on just 15 carries and really was Notre Dame's spark on offense. When the Fighting Irish are running the ball effectively, Tommy Rees is the obvious choice.
He's much more trustworthy and Everett Golson's running ability is less of a factor when the 'backs are racking up yards.
At the end of the day, this defense is what really matters for ND. They have reached 7-0 despite mediocre QB play and there's no reason they can't continue to do this.
As long as their "field general" takes care of the ball and keeps the defense out of bad spots, this team should be successful and win their games at their pace.
It's when a quarterback turns the ball over multiple times and gives away points that ND will be defeated.
So whether it's Golson or Rees under center, they just need to avoid mistakes and let that defense do what it does best. Dominate.