OC Rees ‘pleased’ with QB progress in Spring practice

Published: Apr. 9, 2022 at 11:56 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - It may not have felt like it lately, but Spring has sprung here in South Bend, and with that comes spring ball for the Notre Dame football team.

The biggest question mark -- the man under center as last year’s starting QB Jack Coan now heads for the next level. While the team certainly isn’t ready to name their new field general in April, we learned Saturday that there have been encouraging signs from those who could be next in line.

Drew Pyne and Tyler Buchner return this year after sitting behind a scary efficient Coan -- who threw just 7 interceptions out of nearly 400 pass attempts last season.

That efficiency is something offensive coordinator Tommy Rees is hoping to maintain

“We have a rule: you’re not gonna play at that position if you don’t take care of the ball,” says Rees.

“They know the standard that’s in the room. Drew was here with Ian (Book) -- Ian didn’t turn it over. They were both here with Jack -- Jack didn’t turn it over. We’ve built that within who we want to be as a group. Both of them have a little more gunslinger in them, but they’ve found the right opportunities to press that and they’ve found the right opportunities to make the decisions. As we’re exposed to more opportunities and situations I’m sure things will come up that we can teach off of, but I’m pleased with their progress towards owning that role.”

Despite a change at the game’s most important position, don’t expect Rees and the Irish to lean too heavily on the run game as some sort of crutch for their new QB.

“No, I feel like we’re balanced right now,” adds Rees. “I feel like we have the ability to present problems to defenses both run and pass and both with various personnel groupings and formations. I think we’re going to continue to play around with some things to look at some new opportunities and new ideas and as we add that we’ll kind of figure out what fits who we are and what doesn’t, and as we continue to press that we’ll find a niche of where we want to be.”

New defensive coordinator Al Golden gets the first taste of this year’s Fighting Irish offense -- he gets to face it in practice every day. With what many in the program say is a renewed focus on competition in practice, Golden has his work cut out for him every time the team straps up.

“Tommy does a great job with the system and the play calls and just the number of different personnel groups and quarterbacks and using the strength of those guys on offense,” says Golden. “So for us it’s a challenge every day and who we have to take away and what part of the field based on the situation; so from that standpoint it’s been great, but no doubt, it’s been a challenge.”

That challenge comes to a head on April 23rd when both sides go head to head at this year’s Blue-Gold game.

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