Quarterback Tommy Rees will not see any action in the BCS title game against the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Notre Dame has taken a nontraditional approach to reaching the BCS national championship. When you think of some of the best teams in the country, one of the first things that comes to mind is wonderful quarterback play that has led you to the big game.
This hasn't exactly been the case for the Irish, who have used two different quarterbacks throughout the year to put together a perfect season. The team has relied heavily on a solid running game and a remarkable defense to earn a trip to the title matchup. Unlike many great teams before this year’s squad, quarterback play hasn't exactly been one of the first things you look at.
Everett Golson has been bailed out numerous times by a more experienced Rees. Nearly every time the first-year player made a mistake on the field, head coach Brian Kelly decided to pull him from the game and have the junior step in and make plays.
It has worked thus far and most wouldn't like to fix something that isn't broken, but this is the perfect opportunity to switch things up.
This really isn't about talent or who gives the team the best chance to win the football game. Even if it was, the nod would likely still go to Golson. But regardless of the overall playmaking ability that Golson has over Rees, this is a decision that should benefit next season.
There is little doubt that Golson will be the starter heading into next year. Sure, there are many talented signal-callers on the depth chart that provide competition, but Golson has shown enough promise throughout the year to become the front-runner heading into the spring.
His play has improved so much as the weeks have gone by that former 5-star prospect Gunner Kiel could soon consider a transfer, if he hasn't already.
But even with him almost guaranteed the starting job heading into next year, Golson can't possibly feel 100 percent confident after getting pulled for every mistake he makes.
A true starting quarterback is the leader of the team and goes down with the ship when things don't exactly go as planned. You don't see A.J. McCarron getting replaced after his subpar performance against Texas A&M or Matt Barkley getting the boot when he was stinking it up throughout the year.
Starting quarterbacks don't get removed after a bad read or an interception. The coach usually has enough confidence in the leader to turn things around and get things back on track. While the two-quarterback system has worked for Kelly throughout his career and has surprisingly worked this year, it needs to stop now.
Golson has improved his play with each game under his belt. He has only thrown two interceptions in the last seven games and has thrown seven of his 11 touchdown passes in the last four games. It is clear he is quickly maturing into a solid option at the quarterback position and has the potential to become something special as early as next year.
There could even be a possible Heisman in the future for the young man.
This is by far the biggest game of Golson's career, and he will be up against the best defense he has ever faced. He may struggle like many quarterbacks have against the Crimson Tide in the past. However, taking him out of the game because he hasn't developed into Joe Montana over night is simply not the answer.
Should Notre Dame play Tommy Rees at all in the national championship?
Golson needs to know that the coaching staff is confident in his abilities, and there is no better time to show that than in the national championship with everybody watching. No matter whether the game results in a loss or a victory, this is a decision that should be made with next year in mind.
A quarterback can have all of the tools in the world, but if he isn’t confident in himself and is thinking too much, you aren’t going to have a good quarterback.
Notre Dame should always remember the drive Rees helped put together against Purdue. Thank you cards should be sent for his performance against Stanford. Completed passes against BYU and Pittsburgh should also not be forgotten. But it is time to move on with the Golson era and put Rees in the past.
The sophomore quarterback is the starter of Notre Dame, and it is time he starts being treated like it.