With the departure of Tommy Rees as Notre Dame’s offensive coordinator, there are many opinions and many lists being floated around and almost all of them are hot trash — and my own aren’t much of an exception.
DOES REES MATTER?
The online debate about Tommy Rees is pretty comical at this point. Tommy’s detractors come close to calling him Brian Ferentz 2.0, and his apologists ask you to take a walk to the imagination station. Personally, I think the truth lies somewhere in the middle — as it often does.
On the latest OFD Podcast, we boiled a lot of it down to square peg being shoved through a round hole.
It’s weird to think that a guy that is Blue and Gold to the bone would be such a bad fit at Notre Dame, but that’s actually what both sides agree on after you boil down all of the takes. His time at Notre Dame was NOT a success. However you want to define that is probably fine, but you don’t need advanced stats for this one.
you don't have to use yardage/points per game when discussing offensive coordinators there are so many better ways, i'm volunteering @michaelbryanMB as a consultant for anyone who needs the assist he's a nice man and will help you— Chris W. (@rakesofmallow) February 6, 2023
I really don’t know if Rakes is talking about Tommy specifically or the long list of OC candidates floating around, but in the case of Mr. Rees — points per game is all I need to know that his time in the coaching booth was less than good.
In his three years as the playcaller, Tommy’s offense averaged 33.47 points per game.
- 2020 — 31.8
- 2021 — 35.2
- 2022 — 33.4
And it’s not like the schedule was full of quality defenses as about half of those games were against ACC opponents. Throw in a big handful of G5’s and those numbers just don’t cut it. In Notre Dame’s eight losses over the past three years, the offense scored 10, 14, 13, 35, 10, 21, 14, 27 points.
You can pull out advanced stats for a lot of things, and they can be very valuable in examining one game at a time, but points scored over a multi-year period is the only thing that matters. It wasn’t enough.
Just ask 1987 Heisman winner, Tim Brown:
@NDFootball This is a great day for Irish football and maybe even a better day for Tommy Rees. I've been around a lot of offenses, but the Irish offense last year, with maybe the exception of the North Carolina game, was extremely predictable. Seeing the offense struggle told me— Tim Brown (@81TimBrown) February 5, 2023
At least two things. 1) Tommy was very dependent on Kelly and more important, he didnt have the ability to dissect a defense. What we saw is what I call HERO ball! You have a player(mayer) who is better than the person covering and you throw him the ball a zillion times. Make— Tim Brown (@81TimBrown) February 5, 2023
Him the hero. If that doesn't work you lose. I was at a couple of games where it took everything in me not to go knock on the booth window and say give me the call sheet!!! Lol! I truly wish him well, he's gonna need it! Let's Go Irish!— Tim Brown (@81TimBrown) February 5, 2023
I do wonder if Mike Golic Junior has told Tim Brown to go touch grass...
Tell Mike Jr, when he had these in the shelf, I will listen! Lol pic.twitter.com/yBMbc7mtWj— Tim Brown (@81TimBrown) February 5, 2023
As all-knowing as some members of the Notre Dame beat come off, they simply don’t have the bandwidth to have a great grasp of what is happening nationally. As well sourced as national writers are, they don’t understand the nuance of Notre Dame enough to have a great grasp of what’s happening with the Irish football team.
And it’s fine. To think otherwise is to expect far too much from those local and national writers. So... when you view anyone’s list of OC candidates for the Notre Dame job, just keep in mind that 75% of it is total bullshit.
The good news (or bad news for some) is that Marcus Freeman is going to start interviewing candidates for the job. One of the great complaints about Brian Kelly during his time in South Bend, was that he rarely did a full national search for coaching jobs. We should expect something quite different from Freeman, which means there may be names (and interviews) that come out of left field — which is fine.
One of the first names that has developed some traction is one that slowly trickled out of the weekend because it’s nowhere near the top of anyone’s list. That name is Byron Leftwich.
Byron Leftwich reached out to Notre Dame about the OC position last week, per source. He and Marcus Freeman have stayed in contact as Leftwich remains a serious candidate for the job. @247Sports— Grace Remington (@GraceRemiTV) February 6, 2023
To be honest, I’m not sure how viable Leftwich is as a candidate, but I am encouraged if this is going to be a real national search. Notre Dame probably has about two weeks to get this done without causing a major disruption to spring football.
Notre Dame is probably going to frustrate many of you that are looking for a quick end to this situation. Add the possibility of a defensive coordinator search if Al Golden does eventually jump back to the NFL (as the chatter goes) and the announcement timelines will be a bit maddening.
It’s a Notre Dame thing, and we are all waiting to see how this ends. The offensive coordinator hiring will likely be the defining moment of the Freeman era, so I’m willing to watch him kick a few tires for the right hire.