Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly said Sunday that Tommy Rees remains day-to-day but Kelly expects his starting quarterback to be able to practice on Tuesday. Rees left Saturday night's 14-10 win over USC with a neck strain in the 3rd quarter after being sacked by Lamar Dawson. Rees returned to the sidelines in a hoodie without pads after heading to the locker room with a number of trainers.
Kelly says Rees was feeling better Sunday but still a little sore. Rees will need to practice at least a couple of times this week in order for Kelly to be comfortable using him against Air Force, the Irish coach said. Kelly said that's more of a physical thing with Tommy than a mental one. Kelly says Rees needs the physical reps with the wide receivers and tight ends.
"We're not at the point where we can just roll him out on Saturdays," Kelly explained.
Rees was 14-21 for 166 yards and two touchdowns before leaving the game.
Andrew Hendrix came in and struggled, failing to complete a pass in four attempts. Kelly believes Hendrix is as disappointed as anyone with Saturday night's performance.
In the hypothetical situation that Rees is not ready to practice on Tuesday, Kelly said freshman quarterback Malik Zaire will have to take a lot more reps to be able to be ready to play against Air Force if needed. Hendrix would still be the next man in, but Zaire would have to be prepared. Zaire has yet to play this season and the Irish are hoping to preserve a redshirt season with him.
Notre Dame remains unranked in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll. It marks just a handful of times in program history the Irish have been 5-2 and not ranked.
"Must be a conspiracy," Kelly joked.
Notre Dame goes on the road to face Air Force next Saturday in Colorado Springs.