Many fans have wondered how Notre Dame's football program will perform in 2013 without Everett Golson, but there's no reason for worry.
Which quarterback gives Notre Dame the best chance to win?
No offense to Golson, but he wasn't indispensable. The Fighting Irish may actually be better off without him this upcoming season.
In his stead, Tommy Rees will step into a role he's familiar with as the team's starting quarterback, as reported by Dan Murphy of 247Sports:
“I hadn’t gotten a chance to think about Everett not being our starter,” [Brian] Kelly said at his annual charity golf event Wednesday afternoon. “As I got a chance to think about it, Tommy does not have to fight to be the No. 1 quarterback.”
Before Golson earned the starting spot in 2012, Rees had been the team's starter for nearly a year-and-a-half, dating back to the end of the 2010 season.
An arrest and one-game suspension put Rees in Brian Kelly's doghouse and opened up the door for Golson to start.
But Golson wasn't that impressive last year. In fact, it could be argued that the Fighting Irish got to the BCS title game despite Golson, not because of him. If not for the team's stellar defense turning the tide in a few close games, Notre Dame wouldn't have been close to being in the conversation for the title.
Comparing the two signal-callers side by side, it's clear that Rees has a chance to help Notre Dame's offense operate with more fluidity and consistency than Golson did last year.
Rees is more accurate and more comfortable as a pocket passer than Golson. He puts better touch on his passes and is adept at throwing his receivers open, whereas Golson had a tendency last year to only throw the ball after he saw open receivers.
As a full-time starter in 2011, Rees put together a solid overall performance, completing 65.5 percent of his passes while throwing for 2,871 yards with 24 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.
Golson last season was significantly less accurate and threw for half as many touchdowns. In 12 games, he completed just 58.8 percent of his passes for 2,404 yards with 12 touchdowns and six interceptions.
One thing Golson did that Rees won't be doing this year is run the ball effectively. He scored six touchdowns and rushed for 298 yards.
But the offense was the opposite of a well-oiled machine with Golson under center. The team ranked No. 81 out of 124 teams while scoring just 25.8 points per game and scored 20 or fewer points in six games.
Rees won't help the Irish much in the way of a running game, but his ability to see the field and spread the ball around through the air will help Notre Dame feature a balanced offensive attack.
Notre Dame's offense certainly won't take any steps back without Golson in the lineup. If anything, this team will score more points and will move the ball more effectively between the 20s with Rees playing behind center.
Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78