He was suspended, called on and off the bench, and helped win some games, but the most important thing Rees did for the Irish this year was to help Everett Golson. Whether it was in the film room, or on the field, Tommy Rees has contributed to Notre Dame’s winning season in one way or another.
“It’s been great coming down here and being with the team,” said Rees after arriving in south Florida, “but we came down here to play a football game, and I think everyone’s pretty anxious to get on the field.”
Rees has a pretty unique role on the 2012 team. The quarterback never knows just when he’s going to be called onto the field.
When asked how he’s managed being on the team this year, Rees said “I think the coaches have done a great job preparing me through the week at practice. And I think I’ve taken steps to prepare myself like I’m going to play and I think a lot of it comes from the preparation and that comes from the coaches and how they’ve been able to push along my progress.”
Rees has seen field action this year after some surprise moments and calls by Coach Kelly, but in terms of getting to play in Monday’s championship game Rees says it is not up to him.
“If that’s of the plan, part of the way that we’re going to win this game than it’d be great. But, if it doesn’t come and we win the game I’ll be just as happy.”
Tommy says that as a competitor it is only natural to want to get into the game, “but you never wish anything like that upon a teammate. And just find a way to win this game whatever the cost may be.”
A “team first” attitude has helped Rees from being envious of rookie quarterback Everett Golson, “to be here as part of this team and just have pitched in and have had success this year has been great,” said Rees.
One of his biggest contributions this year has been not tearing the team apart. After every game where Rees stepped, Coach Kelly was sure to make clear delineations in roles, reinforcing that Golson was indeed the Irish’s first string and Tommy Rees would be their fallback.