Irish quarterback Tommy Rees came off the bench to lead Notre Dame on a game winning drive last Saturday over Purdue. Brian Kelly has stressed that Everett Golson is his starter so it begs the question, what is the role for Rees--Notre Dame's starter to end of the last two seasons.
"I think it's just to help the team any way I can," Rees said Wednesday. "You know, Everett's the starter and whatever I can do, if I need to go in and play, if I need to be an extra set of eyes for him, whatever the coaches ask, that's what I'm here for."
Golson played very well in his 2nd career start but in the final minutes, Kelly went with his veteran. It's not something Rees saw coming but he was ready for it.
"I really didn't anticipate it too much," Rees says. "Coach communicated on the sideline and I got ready to go. That's what you need to do when you are the #2 quarterback. You need to stay ready all the time for your number to be called."
So the mentality was pretty clear as he walked onto the field with the game tied at 17 with 2:10 remaining.
"We gotta go down, score a touchdown, get a field goal--find a way to win this game. We had two minutes, no timeouts and found a way to win the game," Rees explained.
Rees was suspended for the season opener due to alcohol related arrest back in May. The suspension pulled him out of the mix to be the Irish starter to begin the season. So Saturday was some redemption.
"it felt good, I'm not going to lie," Rees said with a smile. "It felt good to get a win more than anything. Personal things aside it was just great to get a team win. Everett played well throughout the game. I went out there and made the most of the opportunity that I was given and the whole offense came together to pull out a victory."
Rees says he did a lot of mental work to stay sharp during training camp when he wasn't getting many reps. He watched and observed. After practice he would throw with receivers to get timing down and stay fresh and avoid any rust. He's also been a mentor for Golson.
"First of all, Everett is a smart kid," Rees explained. "He understands a lot more mentally the last two years. His relationship with me has grown quite a bit since camp started. We were roommates and got to know each other pretty well. I think we have a good mutual respect for one and other. When I talk to him, I pull him aside to try and tell him, look here, look here."
Notre Dame plays at Michigan State Saturday night at 8pm.