Blog Entry

Brian Kelly showing a lot of patience with Rees

Posted on: September 26, 2011 12:07 pm
Edited on: September 26, 2011 12:07 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli

When the 2010 season ended with a win over Miami in the Sun Bowl, the competition between Dayne Crist and Tommy Rees to be Notre Dame's starting quarterback began. It lasted all spring, through the summer and into the days before the Irish started the season against South Florida. After those months of practices, Brian Kelly decided that he was going to roll with Dayne Crist.

After 30 minutes of play in which Crist completed less than half of his passes and threw a costly red zone interception -- one that wasn't his fault, as evidenced by Kelly's tantrum with receiver T.J. Jones -- Crist lost his job as the Notre Dame quarterback. In stepped Rees, and he hasn't given up the job since.

Though he has given up the ball quite a bit. In his three and a half games of action, Tommy Rees has been responsible for 9 turnovers, with 6 interceptions and 3 fumbles. Those 9 turnovers are more than 88 FBS teams have committed all season. Yet, through all of these turnovers, Kelly says he has no plans on making another change at quarterback.

"Right now Tommy is 6-1 as a starter," Kelly said on Sunday. "He's led two very huge drives for us late in the game for us against Michigan and of course against Pittsburgh. He's obviously not a finished product, nobody is. He'll continue to get better and better."

While the Michigan loss can't be pinned on Rees, he did fumble the ball away with the Irish clinging to a 24-21 lead in the fourth quarter. He also threw 2 interceptions earlier in the game. Without those three turnovers, the Irish might not have needed Rees to lead that late drive to take the lead back and Michigan may have been in too large a hole to dig out of.

In Saturday's win against Pitt, Rees led another drive to give Notre Dame the lead in the fourth quarter, and this time it held. He also committed two more turnovers in the first half that made sure Notre Dame was never able to pull away from Pitt. Rees wouldn't have to be so adept at fourth quarter drives if he was able to keep from turning the ball over in the first three quarters.

Why is it that Kelly was only willing to give Dayne Crist a half before pulling him, yet has allowed Rees chance after chance?

The only reasoning that makes sense to me is that Crist is a senior and Rees is a sophomore. Kelly is approaching this situation like he knows his team is making progress on the field, particularly on defense, but that it's just not ready for primetime BCS glory just yet. Kelly is essentially using the 2011 season to prepare for 2012, his third season in South Bend, to truly try and wake up those echoes.

It's a calculated risk that, while frustrating for Notre Dame fans, could be one that pays off the next two seasons.

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 19, 2011 1:43 am

Brian Kelly showing a lot of patience with Rees

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Since: Oct 7, 2011
Posted on: October 13, 2011 9:39 am

Brian Kelly showing a lot of patience with Rees

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Since: Sep 26, 2011
Posted on: September 29, 2011 11:33 am

Brian Kelly showing a lot of patience with Rees

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Since: May 24, 2010
Posted on: September 27, 2011 11:16 am

Brian Kelly showing a lot of patience with Rees

Shorter than Nick Saban...lmao Nice one mcalo10

Since: Sep 27, 2011
Posted on: September 27, 2011 10:58 am

Brian Kelly showing a lot of patience with Rees

The T.J. Jones interception was thrown by Rees, not Crist.

Since: Oct 24, 2006
Posted on: September 27, 2011 9:22 am

Brian Kelly showing a lot of patience with Rees

Crist's bad half wasn't even that bad.  Yes, he threw that bad doubt.  But if we're pulling a guy for a bad INT Rees would have been pulled 6 times already.  Crist was 7-for-15 in the first half of the USF game and had exactly 4 passes that hit receivers in their hands but were dropped.  Two were to Riddick which would have kept drives alive on third down.  11-for-15 surely doesn't sound worthy of being pulled for the rest of the year.  I am pretty sure that it wasn't Crist who fumbled on the USF 1-yd line nor was it Crist who inexplicably dropped a ball at the Michigan 6-yd line.

As others have mentioned, I just don't understand why Kelly is willing to take all of the turnovers with Rees.  At this point it's much more of a habit than a fluke.

I disagree with others who say he's planning for next year and beyond since a.) Crist has another year of eligibility and b.) Hendrix or Golson is the quarterback of the future.

Since: Jun 27, 2011
Posted on: September 27, 2011 5:41 am

Brian Kelly showing a lot of patience with Rees


Since: Jul 24, 2007
Posted on: September 26, 2011 8:31 pm

Brian Kelly showing a lot of patience with Rees

What an awful oversight. So our so-called expert that is supposed to be providing us with in-depth analysis can't even remember correctly that it was a Tommy Rees throw, not a Dayne Crist throw, that went off of TJ Jones' head? Crist's interception in the red zone was absolutely his fault, it was a terrible throw. Why are we listening to analysis of someone who clearly didn't watch that game, and likely hasn't watched any others? 

Since: Dec 20, 2008
Posted on: September 26, 2011 6:36 pm

. . also NOT teaching the young QB!

We've all seen Rees have his moments of glory followed by moments of total confusion.  On a continual basis, Rees apparently is unable to read the defense quickly, find an 'alternative' (to Floyd) receiver and make the hasty decisions required of a QB . . a Notre Dame QB nonetheless.
    We stay up late here in Europe to watch these games . . as poorly as they are played.  It would make more sense to wait for the highlights the following day than to take medications to lower the blood pressure while shouting, "Throw the damn ball, he's wide open!" Particularly for us older fans.
   Tommy Rees, unless something drastic happens (and we don't speak of injury), will remain the Notre Dame QB through the year, turnovers and all.  One might think that Crist, given another chance, might overcome the first game's first half jitters, could prove his ability at finding the open receiver . . while completing passes to his own time rather than the opposition.
   After all, this is a 'teaching issue' . . one that supposedly the current offensive-minded coach Kelly was hired for.

Since: Jan 6, 2010
Posted on: September 26, 2011 5:54 pm

Brian Kelly showing a lot of patience with Rees

Of course Kelly showed a lot of patience with Rees as his inept team stayed close to Pitt who had the far superior defensive game plan.  The patience paid off in the fourth quarter...when the Panthers ran out of gas on both sides of the ball.  As to the future, ND fans should not get overly optimistic as the days of yore when you had the pick of the high school football crop is over....touchdown Jesus will not be overworked.

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