Rees Continues Growth

Notre Dame quarterback Tommy Rees knows he must prepare everyday to reach the level needed to remain quarterback of the Irish.

Saturday proved to be another growing experience for sophomore quarterback Tommy Rees and his Notre Dame teammates. Despite his success running Brian Kelly's offensive attack, Rees knows he must improve everyday to reach the level Kelly expects.

After being named Dayne Crist's backup at the start of the season, Rees pushed himself back into the starting role, but have people made too much out of the battle between the two?

"I think they probably have," said Rees. "Throughout the whole process we've had each other's back the whole time. There has never been a moment of any bad blood or bad chemistry. He helps me, I help him. We both have team goals in mind, so I think maybe a little bit, but at the end of the day we're there for each other and to help each other out."

Now in his second season, Rees feels there is a difference in his game from a year ago.

"I think there's growing in the offense and knowing the different situations in a game," said Rees. "Learning how to prepare week-to-week is something I must continue to get better at."

Have things changed in how he prepares now as a starter as compared to being the backup?

Tommy Rees
Wayne Litmer,
"Not really," said Rees. "You have to come out to practice every day. Your reps are a little different and all that, but you come out with the same work ethic every day. You must be focused no matter what happens as you never known when your time is going to be. You have to try and make the most out of your opportunities."

Rees again made a mental mistake Saturday, throwing an interception he wishes he could have gotten back. Rees made no excuses about the error.

"It just comes with a week of preparation," said Rees. "We knew what they were doing and I shouldn't have thrown it there obviously and it's just something I would like to have back. But going forward I think we took advantage of the coverage they were giving us and I knew I couldn't throw the ball there."

Much of the game plan was focused on the team's rushing effort, one that produced more than 100 yards on the day, though the bulk occurred in the first half. W

"That was the focus throughout the week," said Rees. "Spread running, that starts with the offensive line. The running backs ran hard and they did a great job of providing a great running game. It keeps the defense on their toes and it forces them to add some extra people in the box. With the guys we have out there on the perimeter you have a lot of mismatches out there."

When asked about the impact of freshman defender Aaron Lynch, Rees gave praise to the newcomer but was not surprised.

"To be honest I didn't see much of the defense today," said Rees. "But, I'm not surprised. Since the day he's walked on campus he's been a good player and I feel he'll continue to grow. Obviously he helped out a lot."

Another player Rees was asked about was cornerback Robert Blanton.

"He's kind of that guy you don't want to throw to all the time," said Rees. "He's got that knack to make big plays and he's a big physical corner who can do a lot of things out there on the perimeter and that's what we expect out of him."

And not unexpectedly, Rees had nothing but praise for his tight end Tyler Eifert.

Tyler's a hard match-up," said Rees. "He's big, athletic and he does a great job of getting open. We have such a great confidence and chemistry with each other. He's a great guy to have on third down."

Saturday gave the Irish a chance to reward their fans with a victory over the Spartans. What was it like to get back to Notre Dame Stadium and play in front of the home crowd?

"I love playing at home," said Rees. "I love being here with our fans, our crowd and they did a great job last week traveling and giving us support. Obviously last week was a pretty awesome atmosphere and the same goes for today. Playing here at Notre Dame Stadium is a privilege so it's a lot of fun." Top Stories