The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have a roster full of players and coaches, and we want to talk about them all. One Foot Down’s player profile series will take a look at every single one of them, and hopefully we all learn a little bit more about these guys, and Notre Dame’s chances for the upcoming 2020 season.
Yes, that’s right. It’s YA BOI Tommy, TRees, Touchdown Tommy, REESUS, or any other moniker you would like to give to him. Tommy Rees is the Offensive Coordinator for the Irish, and he is entering his first full season in this coaching role. Tommy Rees is arguably one of the most polarizing Notre Dame Football players in program history, and he is especially one of the most polarizing ND quarterbacks ever.
He had an up-and-down career after struggling at the onset of his time in an ND uniform. Then, of course, there was that suspension because of his incident at a party and his run-in with South Bend Police. However, that is all in the past. Since all of that, Tommy actually put together a 23-8 record as a starter in his four years playing. Don’t let the haters distract you from that stat! He also is THIRD all-time in passing yards for the Irish, right behind Jimmy Clausen (also polarizing) and Brady Quinn. The dude was a stud, and he was under-appreciated in his time.
After leaving ND, Rees went undrafted to the Redskins in 2014. Then, the next season, he was a graduate assistant for the Northwestern Wildcats for 2015. After that, he was an assistant for the San Diego Chargers (RIP, because they are in LA now) for 2016. Then, knowing he needed a savior, Brian Kelly brought Rees onto the team to be the quarterbacks coach for 2017. Is it a coincidence that the Irish have won 33 games in the three seasons that Tommy came back? Yeah, I don’t think so.
For 2017-2019, Tommy was the quarterbacks coach, and he mastered everything pretty well. Minus a few hiccups which we won’t mention, the quarterbacks have held pretty steady. Brandon Wimbush came in for 2017, and he did a great job. In 2018, Rees helped to maneuver the QB switch from Wimbush to Ian Book after 3 games (all wins, mind you) on the road to a CFP appearance. Last season, Tommy helped Ian Book gain some more confidence to solidify himself as QB1 after some criticism.
At the end of the 2019 regular season, Notre Dame and Offensive Coordinator Chip Long mutually agreed to part ways. It seemed that Long was not a positive presence for the team and in the locker room. This led to an OC opening for the team. Brian Kelly announced that Tommy Rees would be calling the plays for the offense for the 2019 Camping World Bowl against Iowa State. Without saying it directly, it was pretty clear that this was a 1-game audition for Tommy Rees. If things went well, he would be named Offensive Coordinator. Well, things went well, the Irish beat up on the Cyclones 33-9 while the offense put up 455 total yards. Thus, the legend of Tommy Rees as OC was born.
That’s right. I said it. Tommy Rees is Luke Skywalker. He was trained by Brian Kelly, who could be Obi Wan Kenobi in this case. He has learned the ways of The Force (running the offense) from BK, and he is ready to take over the reins. He’s facing all of the enemies head on and with a lot of confidence. I love that about him, and I think he is ready to go as OC.
Since Tommy Rees was named the full time Offensive Coordinator, we unfortunately have not been able to see much of the offense. There was some spring ball, but then we got hit with the quarantine. However, I am very confident in the direction Rees can take the offense. He has a very veteran QB in Ian Book, and he has been working with the offense for now 3+ seasons. He is very knowledgeable about film and studying the offense and opposing defenses, and he is well respected by the players on the team. The success of the offense seems to be in good hands, and I im in love with his hiring to be Offensive Coordinator. All hail REESUS!