Chicago Sun-Times
with Mark Lazerus

Rees, not Kelly, is dictating tempo of offense

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There's a reason why Notre Dame isn't playing at the fast-paced tempo that Brian Kelly prefers. Playing that way requires a quarterback who can run, according to coach Brian Kelly, and Tommy Rees will never remind anybody of Tony Rice.

"The tempo is such that if you're going to go fast, you're calling it and hauling it," Kelly said. "In other words, you're calling a play and you're living with it. Tommy is not able to do that because he's not somebody that if it doesn't look right he can keep it and run with it. When I've had quarterbacks that you can call it and haul it, they have had that ability to run, and there's no fear in what you call. 

"We have to be careful. We can play fairly quickly. We're forcing the tempo. We're up there, giving Tommy plenty of time to get in the right play more than we're pushing the tempo.  It's really the quarterback that dictates the kind of tempo you play at."

Meanwhile, the maturation of Rees continues. He followed up one of his poorest performances of the season against Pittsburgh with perhaps his best against Purdue.

"More than anything else, he understands the offense very well," Kelly said of Rees. "He understands what we're asking. That takes time. That takes repetition. That takes starting games. He's been in some big games and some very difficult environments. He's developing that scar tissue that you need to play quarterback[for] me as well, and that is he's constantly being challenged to be better. He's taken very well to that. I think all of our players have a great trust in him. 

"More than anything else his development has been by playing and getting out there and having some success."

Kelly said he wasn't tempted to replace Rees with backup Dayne Crist at halftime against Pittsburgh. Crist was named the starting quarterback before being replaced at halftime of a season-opening loss to South Florida.

"Even though he probably didn't have his best game against Pittsburgh, there were many people asking why we didn't go back to Dayne," Kelly said. "Dayne is extremely capable of running our offense, being successful, but we wanted consistency and continuity, and we felt Tommy was going to give us that." 

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This page contains a single entry by Neil Hayes published on October 5, 2011 12:16 PM.

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