Tommy Rees will be Notre Dame’s starter from the start
BY LaMOND POPE Sun-Times Media August 4, 2013 8:24PM
ND coach Brian Kelly said Tommy Rees will start against Temple but guaranteed nothing after that. | Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
rees by the numbers
YR G GS Comp Att Pct. Yds. Avg. TD INT Rating
2012 11 2 34 59 57.6 436 7.4 2 2 124.1
2011 13 12 269 411 65.6 2,871 7.0 20 14 133.4
2010 9 4 100 164 61.0 1,106 6.7 12 8 132.0
Updated: August 5, 2013 11:19AM
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Tommy Rees has started plenty of games at quarterback for Notre Dame.
Eighteen to be exact.
But he has never entered a season as the starter.
“It’s a little different knowing,” Rees said of his role. “To be quite honest, it’s a pretty good feeling. You can kind of do exactly everything that you want. You don’t have to worry about competition or what’s going on.
“I’m just excited to go out there, compete and get better, work with the guys and lead them and have a really good camp.”
Camp begins on Monday for Rees and the Irish.
Rees made 12 starts as a sophomore in 2011. He started twice last season but spent a majority of the year as Everett Golson’s backup.
He moved back into the starter’s role shortly after news broke of Golson’s suspension for the fall because of “poor academic judgment.”
“He knows his place now,” wide receiver T.J. Jones said. “He can go into camp being that leader, knowing he’s that starter, knowing we are going to look to him in times of need for whatever. He knows that he’s the guy we’re looking up to and he’s the guy to lead this offense.”
Rees said he’s “way different” than in 2011, when he passed for 2,871 yards and 20 touchdowns.
“I’m not 19 anymore,’’ Rees said. ‘‘I’ve grown up a lot in the last couple of years. I’ve dealt with some adversity. I’ve learned a lot about the game; I’ve learned a lot about this place. I’ve grown with my teammates. Two more years in the program, learning everything that I could. I’m excited about this year.”
Rees threw 14 interceptions in 2011. He has made adjustments to get better at avoiding turnovers.
“You learn about the defense they are playing and their personnel,’’ he said. ‘‘You pick your times when you need to fit one in there and when it’s safer to take a check-down.’’
While Rees only started twice, he did appear in 11 games last season. He made the most of his time watching.
“Not playing every snap, you kind of take a different look at things,’’ Rees said. ‘‘You learn a lot about football, a lot about defenses. I got a little bit of a better grasp from the whole-picture standpoint. I plan to use some of those things I’ve learned this year.”
Coach Brian Kelly said it was an easy decision to go with Rees out of the gate instead of opening camp with a quarterback competition.
“He was the most experienced and gave us the best opportunity to win against Temple coming out,” Kelly said. “I didn’t name him the starter for all 13 games. I named him the starter for Temple. My expectation is he will take the job and continue to lead our football team.
“He obviously knows our offense very well. He’s a senior, well‑respected. He has all the things.”
Rees doesn’t mind the “starter for Temple” portion of Kelly’s statement.
“I don’t put any extra applied pressure on that,” Rees said. ‘I’m just going to prepare and compete and lead this team the best that I can.”