The news that Brian Kelly promoted Tommy Rees to the offensive coordinator for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Tuesday afternoon has been met with both optimism and pessimism from all different sides. I, for one, am genuinely excited about the move and I think it has the potential to be a great decision by Brian Kelly.
However... I don’t dismiss those that have a different opinion than mine — unless you want to bring up what you saw as deficiencies in Tommy Rees the player. Real quick — name me your top 5 coordinators in the country that were All-Americans at the FBS level.
Opinions will certainly vary, so I thought it was only fair to publish a few of my top reasons why I think it was a good hire. I said, good hire — not great. Great would have been a proven OC from a Power 5 school that was also a great fit with the University. Could the Irish have got a great hire? I really don’t know the ins and outs there, so I can only speak to the promotion of Rees in itself.
Notre Dame just gave, what is arguably their best recruiter, more power and authority. What does this mean? Tommy now has more say in offers and how to go about recruiting these guys for his offense as its coordinator.
An really this just elevates him in the room. Tommy is a guy that can recruit to Notre Dame like no other coach out there because of his history at the university and his age. He can talk to the kids on their level without coming off as disingenuous. This all goes beyond him as a position coach — especially when recruiting non-QB’s.
MAYBE IT IS FRESH?
A lot of people don’t like in-house hires because they believe that new ideas are needed to “freshen up” the room. I absolutely agree with that, and at the same time, — how many ideas that Tommy brought to the table were swatted down by Chip Long? Who’s to say — right? Perhaps there’s a fair amount of things Tommy wants to do that differ from what the Irish have put out on the field for the past 3 years. We just won’t know this until the Navy game (maybe in the spring, but it may not be highlighted as such).
Say whatever you want about Rees, but his mental toughness in the face of adversity should never be questioned. He faced the wrath of Purple BK a fair number of times, but instead of withering like a flower in the winter, Tommy handled it like a pro (or better really because coaches can’t yell at their quarterbacks like that in the NFL). If you were wondering if Rees can “handle the pressure,” between Kelly and being a QB at Notre Dame, he’s got this.
While there are those, again, that clamor for change — continuity can be an incredibly good thing. Notre Dame returns a seasoned veteran at quarterback and veterans along its offensive line. Keeping things more in line with what they are used to while changing and tweaking things here and there is something that is far more beneficial to a team that has had success than producing an overhaul.
A GREAT STORY IN THE MAKING
This, of course, won’t mean much to most Irish fans, but for me — the potential of what a successful Tommy Rees will mean to the overall story of Notre Dame football is intriguing AF. It’s the type of story that generates other stories which creates a buzz and an excitement that’s hard to duplicate — it has to be organic.
I think this was a good hire that has the potential for greatness. There were other hires that would be more of the “home run” hit that fans were craving — and I wanted that as well. Still, this is what we have and I think using the term “good” is a fine way of describing what happened.
Of course — if you need to add more here — there is the relationship with Brian Kelly, his knowledge of the offense, and the almost fact that this was what Tommy Rees was born to do. He’s a coach’s son that has been molded for this opportunity.
At least spring football just got more interesting. We will have to wait until then to start to see more of what 2020 may bring.