The news that the Notre Dame Fighting Irish were not going to retain offensive coordinator Chip Long for next year (or even the Camping World Bowl game) didn’t come as big surprise. Yes, the Irish averaged over 37 points per game in 2019, but there seemed to be a growing divide between Long and Brian Kelly. Furthermore, Tim Prister’s Thursday article on Irish Illustrated spoke about an even bigger divide between Chip Long and his offensive players.
It was time to move on. You should keep in mind that it’s how the Irish move on from this that’s important and not why Chip Long is no longer at Notre Dame.
There is a fairly common belief from fans and the media that Notre Dame will promote from within the program. This points in the general direction of both Tommy Rees and Lance Taylor. And because Tommy Rees sparks all kinds of emotions, the conversation’s have generally revolved around the possibility of him becoming the next offensive coordinator at Notre Dame, with plenty of opinion.
So let’s talk about it a little bit.
There’s a game to play
Notre Dame’s 2019 season isn’t over with yet. The Irish still have to take on the Iowa St. Cyclones in the Camping World Bowl. It’s probably a pretty fair statement to say that Brian Kelly will be calling the offense for the game as well as coordinating the whole thing in the practices leading up to December 28. There are reports that say this game will be a kind of on the job interview for Rees as a playcaller, but even if that’s the case — Kelly is going to have plenty of say.
Is Tommy a good choice?
After an initial cold (but quick) reaction to the possibility of Rees taking over as the offensive coordinator, it didn’t take long (no pun intended) to start to come around to the idea. Jude’s latest article outlining Tommy as an outlier in college football makes some really great points. Logic and data often times do that — I mean that’s what logic and data is supposed to give you — great points.
For better, or for worse, I always seem to use my gut when it comes to these things. I lean on faith of instinct rather than numbers, and tables, and charts. So obviously I end up running into a brick wall at full speed on more than a few occasions. It’s who I am, and it’s what I am.
And here I am running full-speed into another brick wall.
Let’s do it
There’s no need to beat around the bush here. I’m more than fine with Tommy Rees being named the offensive coordinator in 2020 (or as a co-offensive coordinator with Lance Taylor). Tommy’s head for the game was always stronger than his arm, and the way he handled himself with Kelly and Everett Golson showed a certain grace and composure that is never admired enough.
If he was fives years older, maybe this would be less of a leap of faith than is appears right now. There would still be the same type of doubts in terms of playcalling and “cronyism,” but his alumni status (and extra age) might soften the move for some.
Maybe I’m just curious, and want to see how it all goes — BUT LET’S GIVE THE LAD A CHANCE!
I don’t care that Northwestern didn’t bring Tommy back for a second interview for their offensive coordinator job. It’s Pat Fitzgerald after all, and do you think that man is capable of fielding a good offense in Evanston?
Brian Kelly has made a lot of great moves since the 2016 season. A 32-6 record over that time is proof enough for me. If this move works, it would ensure the same type of success (and maybe more) as we have had over the past three years. If it doesn’t — well then it’s back to the old drawing board.
I tend to think that it can and will work. It’s a gut feeling, and I’m ready and willing to start sprinting towards that brick wall. Divine inspiration has got me here. Let’s do it.