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Tag:Tommy Rees
Posted on: February 10, 2012 12:19 pm
 

Irish name Chuck Martin offensive coordinator

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Notre Dame made a few coaching announcements on Friday, including the announcement that former safeties coach Chuck Martin would be taking over as the team's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.

“I’m excited about that move,” said head coach Brian Kelly. “Chuck and I have a shared vision as it relates to our offense. He is experienced and knows what I’m looking for.” 

What Notre Dame is looking for is a consistency on offense, and in order to find that, the Irish will need a quarterback to emerge. Which is something Martin talked about on Friday as well.

"You'd love to have one," said Martin. "Is it realistic? I don't know. It's going to play out in the spring. Maybe somebody takes it and runs with it and comes into their own and they've played themself ahead of the other group.

"If it's not that…then you still got a long evaluation period in the fall. For me, it would be awesome if we did have a clear-cut starter, but it won't be a big deal to me and it won't be a big deal to coach Kelly. You can name your starter the day before the first game and it can be fine, he can go and win the Heisman Trophy. There's no magical answer." 

Notre Dame went into the 2011 season much the same way, with Dayne Crist and Tommy Rees battling for the job during the spring and fall before Crist won the competition. Then one bad half from Crist in the season opener against South Florida led to Rees taking the job and Crist eventually heading to Kansas.

The difference this spring is the competition is now between four quarterbacks, not just the two. Rees will be competing with Andrew Hendrix, Everett Golson, and the prize of Notre Dame's latest recruiting class, Gunner Kiel.

So while Chuck Martin may not know who his quarterback is yet, he does have options.

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Posted on: February 1, 2012 9:34 pm
 

Signing Day is bittersweet in South Bend

Posted by Tom Fornelli

If you look at the players Notre Dame has in its latest recruiting class, you can see why the Irish are ranked at #17 in CBS Sports National Signing Day Top 25 this year. After all, Brian Kelly and his staff managed to sign one of the top quarterbacks in the country with Gunner Kiel, got a perfectly named William Mahone -- if Irish fans aren't calling him "Pogue" before he even sets foot on the field, they're doing it wrong -- at running back, and continued to build on defense with players like Tee Shepard, Sheldon Day and Jarron Jones.

The problem is when you look at Notre Dame's list of commitments and realize who isn't there. That's when you notice wide receiver Deontay Greenberry is suddenly missing.

His name was supposed to be on that list, and his signature was supposed to be on a letter of intent coming across a fax machine, only it wasn't. Instead Brian Kelly was caught off-guard on Wednesday morning when he found out that Greenberry had given his letter of intent to Houston. Understandably, Kelly was a bit perturbed at the development.

"I used to have a saying about players like that and that was I'd rather play against him for four games than with him for four years," Kelly said shortly after hearing the news.

Kelly would later change his tune on Greenberry, saying it's hard "to feel disappointed about something I never had," but his original feelings reflected that of a fan base in shock. Five-star wide receivers just aren't supposed to turn down a chance to play at Notre Dame for a school like Houston. A school like Houston that just lost its head coach at that.

Times, however, they are a changing, both in South Bend where the Irish just aren't the powerhouse they want to be, and in the recruiting game, which is more national than ever before. 

The real reason Greenberry's switch hurts is because Notre Dame has a big playmaker to replace on offense next season in Michael Floyd. Nobody knows who is going to be lining up under center for the Irish next season. It could be Tommy Rees, Andrew Hendrix, Everett Golson or the newcomer, Kiel.

Whoever it ends up being, having a target like Greenberry available would have made things a lot easier.

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Posted on: January 10, 2012 6:47 pm
 

Brian Kelly gets a two-year extension

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Notre Dame announced on Tuesday that it had exercised the option on Brian Kelly's contract that extended his deal through the 2016 season.

"While Coach Kelly and I are focused on the additional work that must be done to reach our goals, I am very pleased with the progress we have made during the past twoyears.” said athletic director Jack Swarbrick in a statement.

"Our football team’s performance on the field, in the classroom, and in the community reflect Coach Kelly’s commitment to building a program that will be able to sustain success in the long run, and to doing so in a manner consistent with Notre Dame’s values and tradition." 

Kelly's first two seasons in South Bend haven't brought the return to national prominence that the school and fans had been hoping for, as the Irish have gone 16-10. Along with consecutive 8-5 seasons, the Irish also find themselves in the same boat as they did last offseason, getting ready to head into spring practice without a starter at quarterback as Tommy Rees is expected to compete with Andrew Hendrix and Everett Golson in the offseason following the transfer of Dayne Crist to Kansas.

Kelly has also seen three of his assistants leave to take jobs elsewhere, though the school also announced two-year deals for all the assistants that remain on his staff.

On the positive side of things, Notre Dame has seen a lot of improvement on the defensive side of ball thanks to the recruits that Kelly and his staff have brought in. The real question, however, is if Kelly will be around through the end of his contract and if Notre Dame will finally start living up to the lofty expectations routinely placed on the team.

Eight-win seasons will only keep the peace for so long. 

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Posted on: December 29, 2011 9:18 pm
Edited on: December 29, 2011 9:21 pm
 

QUICK HITS: Florida State 18 Notre Dame 14

Posted by Tom Fornelli

FLORIDA STATE WON. For the first 30 minutes of this game, Florida State looked pretty hopeless. An offensive line featuring four freshmen was being overwhelmed by Notre Dame's front seven leaving E.J. Manuel running for his life. The Seminoles were only able to manage a field goal in the first half, but even that was set up by a great kick return that only saw the 'Noles move backward and have to settle for 3 points. Then the second half came.

The offensive line figured things out at halftime, with some help from a lack of blitzes by the Irish, and Florida State owned the final thirty minutes, outscoring the Irish 15-0. It was not a pretty effort by any means, as Florida State managed only 290 yards of offense and was 3-of-14 on third down in the game, but the 'Noles got the job done thanks to some big throws by Manuel and some great grabs by Rashad Green. That and a defense that smothered Notre Dame for most of the night.

WHY FLORIDA STATE WON. Florida State won this game because it did the best thing a team can do when facing Notre Dame: let Notre Dame beat itself. The Irish turned the ball over 3 times in this one, including 2 turnovers in the red zone by quarterback Tommy Rees who twice tried to force a touchdown pass that just wasn't there. That and a strong defensive effort on a whole -- Notre Dame only scored one of its touchdowns on offense -- is why the Seminoles are leaving Orlando with a win.

WHEN FLORIDA STATE WON. With less than three minutes to go and Notre Dame trailing by 4 points inside Florida State territory, Tommy Rees launched an ill-advised pass into double coverage that was picked off by Terrence Brooks in the end zone. The Seminoles then ran out most of what remained on the clock.

WHAT FLORIDA STATE WON. Well, you can joke and say that by winning this game, Florida State has now earned the right to be the one of these two programs that is grossly overrated heading into the 2012 season. You know, kind of like both schools were going into 2011. Still, in reality, this is a nice win for Florida State and sends them into the offseason with some momentum. Florida State isn't a perfect team by any means, but it was also a better squad than what we saw in 2011.

WHAT NOTRE DAME LOST. A chance to end the season on a positive note. Instead this bowl game served as a 60-minute microcosm of the entire Notre Dame season in 2011. Terrible turnovers by an inconsistent offense combined with a defense that played well, but just couldn't play well enough to make up for the offense. So now, heading into 2012, the Irish face the same exact questions they had coming into 2011. Namely, who is going to be this team's quarterback?

THAT WAS CRAZY. Michael Floyd played his last game for Notre Dame, and also became the first receiver in school history to catch 100 passes in a season. Unfortunately he wasn't able to finish the game after suffering an undisclosed injury,but before leaving he made this ridiculous touchdown grab and saved Tommy Rees from a third red zone turnover in the process.



GRADE: C+. I gave this game the "+" because at the very least it was close. However, other than that, there wasn't really much to enjoy here save for some spectacular grabs by guys like Michael Floyd and Rashad Green. If those two had just put on a trick catch competition instead of the actual game, the grade likely would have been a lot higher.
Posted on: December 22, 2011 12:23 pm
Edited on: December 22, 2011 12:23 pm
 

Dayne Crist is transferring to Kansas

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Dayne Crist has once again committed to playing quarterback for Charlie Weis.

The former Notre Dame quarterback who was recruited to South Bend by Weis announced after the regular season that he was transferring from Notre Dame after losing his starting job to Tommy Rees in the season opener against USF. He had been considering both Wisconsin and Kansas, but Crist made his announcement official on Thursday morning using Twitter.



This is good new for Weis and Kansas, as it means the Jayhawks will have a quarterback who is already somewhat familiar with Weis' offense, and it will make the transition easier. Also, since Crist will be graduating this spring, he won't have to sit out a season like most transfers, but instead will be eligible to play right away like Russell Wilson did with Wisconsin this season.

Speaking of Wisconsin, you have to wonder if it's a coincidence that Crist's decision came a few hours after it became official that Pitt had hired Wisconsin's offensive coordinator Paul Chryst to become their new head coach. Crist may have already been leaning toward Kansas before the announcement, but it no doubt had an impact on his decision.
Posted on: December 19, 2011 3:18 pm
Edited on: December 19, 2011 3:22 pm
 

Keys to the Game: Champs Sports Bowl

Posted by Tom Fornelli

NOTRE DAME WILL WIN IF: The Irish offense will face their toughest test of the year in the Florida State defense in this game. The Seminoles finished the year sixth in the nation in total defense and actually gave up less yards per carry (2.32) than any other defense in the country, including Alabama and LSU. Which isn't good news for a Notre Dame defense that will be without Jonas Gray (791 yards, 12 TDs) in this game. This means that if Notre Dame is going to find success on offense, it will likely come through the air. The Seminoles aren't bad in that area either, as they're 32nd in the nation in defensive pass efficiency. Of course, as has usually been the case with the Irish this season, the most important part of this game will be whether or not they can take care of the ball. Turnovers have killed the Irish throughout the season, and against a defense this good, Tommy Rees and the rest of the Irish offense cannot afford to give the ball away.

FLORIDA STATE WILL WIN IF: Assuming the Florida State defense can do a good job of keeping the Irish offense in check, then there's reason to believe the Seminoles can find enough success on offense to pick up a win here. The Florida State offense hasn't been prolific this season, but against a Notre Dame defense that is good but not great, the opportunities to put points on the board will be there. E.J. Manuel hasn't been great throwing the ball this season, but he's had some solid games and this could be a chance for another one. The Notre Dame defense may be allowing opposing quarterbacks to complete less than 60% of their passes in 2011, but it's also only picked off 8 passes while allowing 21 passing touchdowns on the year. And with Florida State's running game being a bit anemic this season and Notre Dame being pretty solid against the run, the passing game will be the way the Seminoles want to go.

X-FACTOR: Andrew Hendrix. Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly has already named Tommy Rees his starting quarterback for the bowl game, but that doesn't mean he's going to take all the snaps. Hendrix saw a lot of playing time over the final few weeks of the season, and considering that Kelly seems to feel that Hendrix is his quarterback of the future, I'd expect him to get quite a bit of playing time in this one as well. He brings a new dimension to the Notre Dame offense because unlike Rees, Hendrix can beat you with his legs. So it will be interesting to see how much Hendrix plays and how the Irish utilize him.

You can check out our extensive preview of the Champs Sports Bowl here
Posted on: December 4, 2011 1:40 am
Edited on: December 4, 2011 1:40 am
 

Dayne Crist is leaving Notre Dame

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Notre Dame quarterback Dayne Crist has asked for and been granted his release from the school and will begin talks with other schools about a transfer according to the Chicago Tribune.

This does not come as much of a shock to anybody who has been paying attention to Notre Dame this season. After beginning the season as the team's starter after a competition with Tommy Rees during the spring and fall, Crist lasted only one half before being benched for Rees in Notre Dame's season-opening loss to South Florida.

Yet, even when the Notre Dame offense struggled with turnovers the next few weeks under Rees, Crist only saw playing time after Rees suffered an injury and had to come out. Crist was even surpassed by Andrew Hendrix, who came in as a change of pace quarterback over the last month of the season.

Crist met with head coach Brian Kelly to discuss his situation on Friday.

Since Crist has only one year of eligibility left he will not be required to sit out a year before playing at another school. Exactly what school that will be is not known, though Wisconsin, Utah and San Diego State have all been mentioned as possibilities while rumors swirled Crist would transfer over the last few weeks.
Posted on: November 19, 2011 8:18 pm
Edited on: November 19, 2011 8:19 pm
 

QUICK HITS: Notre Dame 16, Boston College 14

Posted by Chip Patterson

NOTRE DAME WON. The Irish reached the eight win mark for the second straight year, but struggled to do so in a 16-14 victory over Boston College on Senior Day. Michael Floyd capped off his impressive career at Notre Dame Stadium with a 10 catch, 92 yard performance on a bittersweet day for the senior class. Running back Jonas Gray picked up 61 yards on 11 carries, including Notre Dame's only touchdown, before suffering an apparent knee injury in the third quarter. Early reports suggest the injury could be a torn ACL, which would likely end his career with the Irish.

HOW NOTRE DAME WON: Boston College's defense and special teams helped the Eagles dominate the field position battle, and despite the strong numbers Notre Dame was only able to find the end zone on Jonas Gray's 26 yard run in the early minutes of the game. The Irish got a strong showing from their own defense, holding Boston College quarterback Chase Rettig to only 18 completions in 44 attempts. Gray's injury was a setback for the team, but Cierre Wood carried the load with strong second half running to keep the Irish in control of the game.

WHEN NOTRE DAME WON: Notre Dame forced Boston College to turn the ball over on downs with a 16-7 lead midway through the fourth quarter. But the inability to milk the clock kept the Eagles in the game, and Chase Rettig put together a seven play, 72 yard touchdown drive to cut Notre Dame's lead to two points. With less than two minutes on the clock, Boston College's onside kick attempt failed. Boston College had the opportunity to attempt a last second miracle, but the hook and ladder attempt failed as well.

WHAT NOTRE DAME WON: The Irish avoided an embarrassing home upset on Senior Day, one that would have likely knocked them from the polls and significantly hurt their bowl options. The Champs Sports Bowl is reportedly interested in replacing their Big East slot with Notre Dame, but they might have thought differently after a loss to the 3-8 Eagles.

WHAT BOSTON COLLEGE LOST: The experts had the Eagles pegged as a 20+ point underdog, so in some ways Boston College fans have to be happy with the team's refusal to quit. But it was also the fourth one-score on the season, something that speaks to the Eagles' struggle to create the big play offensively. The defense has been strong, particularly in the second half of the season, but once again the inability to produce points keeps Boston College from being able to turn that play into victories.

THAT WAS CRAZY: Jonas Gray extended his streak to eight games with a touchdown thanks to the 25 yard scoring run in the first half. But the senior's career was likely ended in the third quarter after suffering an apparent knee injury. NBC's cameras caught Gray on the sideline in tears, surrounded by his teammates. Our thoughts go out to running back and we hope he makes a full recovery, but his absence is a blow to the Irish as they look to next week's visit to Stanford.



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