The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are facing a tough task of trying to recapture the success of the 2012 season without suspended quarterback Everett Golson. The first step in that process will reportedly be senior signal-caller Tommy Rees taking over as the team’s starting quarterback.
Steve Kaminski of MLive.com has more on the ongoing saga of Rees and the search for a starting quarterback at Notre Dame:
"Kelly said Tommy Rees will be his quarterback this fall after starting quarterback Everett Golson left Notre Dame due to academic infractions."
Head coach Brian Kelly had this to say, according to MLive.com, about the future of the quarterback position:
"We always move forward," Kelly said. "I don’t live in the past, and I don’t spend too much time in the future. I live in the present, and in the present, we have Tommy Rees. We have Tommy Rees, who is an established player, and he will be our starter. We think Andrew Hendrix and Malik Zaire can contribute, but Tommy will be our starter."
"We are under construction right now. It’s 2013, and we are putting our football team together. But the foundation is there, just like it was there at Grand Valley and when we left Central Michigan and Cincinnati. We think we have a good foundation."
Irish Illustrated, an extension of Rivals.com, states that Kelly did not name Rees the starting quarterback:
Despite a report from the Grand Rapids Press, Brian Kelly did not name Tommy Rees his starting QB on Wednesday, according to Notre Dame.— Irish Illustrated (@NDatRivals) June 6, 2013
With the team's former starting quarterback now suspended due to academic ineligibility, Kelly was right to hint that Rees is the starter so they can start preparing for the upcoming season—that is, if you believe the MLive.com, Chicago Tribune and CSN Chicago reports over Irish Illustrated.
Rees originally lost his job to Golson to start the 2012 season and acted as the team’s primary backup, with Kelly occasionally having him step in when the redshirt freshman struggled. Now, it looks like the senior will get the chance to prove himself again as he looks to lead the team back to the national championship game.
Last year, Golson was the better, more athletic quarterback, but Kelly knows how to protect his signal-callers and mask their weaknesses in his offensive scheme.
How many wins will Tommy Rees lead the Notre Dame Fighting Irish to this season?
It was in 2011 that Rees was given the chance to shine as the team’s starting quarterback—managing a respectable 65.5 completion percentage, 2,871 yards passing and 20 touchdowns—but it was the 14 interceptions that caused concern for the Irish coaching staff.
With Golson suspended from play this year, Rees is expected to get one final opportunity to show what he can do. Kelly has done his new quarterback a favor by tossing his name out there early in the offseason, which should alleviate some pressure.
It's now up to Rees to hone his talents and lead his team back to the promised land.