Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct. 24, 2020

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Page 4 of 55 OCT. 24, 2020 5 FAN FORUM During Notre Dame's 3-0 start, the running game spearheaded by a veteran line and two exciting new running backs took center stage. It was highlighted by a 353-yard rushing effort Oct. 10 versus a Florida State defense that will have numerous future NFL players. First-year offensive coordinator Tommy Rees has worked in conjunction with first-year run game coordinator Lance Taylor, line coach Jeff Quinn, new tight ends coach John McNulty and wide receivers coach Del Alexander, and engaged in collaborative and cooperative efforts after head coach Brian Kelly ousted 2017-19 coordinator Chip Long last December in "the best interests of the program." The caveat is that the three opponents this year were 1-10 versus Football Bowl Subdivision teams. Here were some thoughts on SantaBarbara: I'll admit, small sample size. But two things stand out to me: 1) Rees isn't a d--- and gets along with the offensive line coach. Small but crucial for team and chemistry. 2) Rees seems more committed to the run. Maverick1: He definitely is committed to the run, and so far he does a better job of mixing counters, traps, sweeps, draws. He has more variety in his running calls. Love the power football with Ian Book under center. Stepcn: Both are good. Long did a great job at ND without a great QB at any time. Too bad he stopped get- ting along with people. When Rees calls the plays that Tony Dungy sees in the booth (like the multiple misdirections), he must be seeing the same things that Dungy is seeing. Dungy is a great coach — that gives me a good feeling about Rees. Mattyb74: I'll wait to crown him until we play some better teams. Whales: Part of the credit should go to Lance Taylor. He's done a great job developing our running backs and the running game itself. Nedavis2: Overall cohesiveness is improved. The offense is a functional single unit, which means all of the cogs (OL, TE, RB, WR, QB) are doing what they're supposed to … No locker room is perfect but I'd bet it's a whole lot more enjoyable in a unit room than it was this time last year. RichStarkey: Tommy Rees has always fought against the odds. From getting booed coming onto the field against Purdue in 2012 where he led the team on a game-winning field goal drive, to having the worst reception of any as- sistant coach at ND when he was hired as the QB coach and then the OC. Tommy was a very cerebral QB, and how soon we forget the comments during his playing days of how he'll be a better coach than player. A lot of post- ers had the same c o n c e r n s w i t h Clark Lea when he was named D C , a n d n o w those same peo- ple think he'll be gone next year to take a head job somewhere. Didn't most here think it was going to be Chip Long? Tommy is a winner, young ND alum, someone who will pick himself up when he's knocked down, a great fit, student of the game. Prediction: When Kelly's contract is up, who do you think the replacement might be? Can't wait for that one! Irishnatty: Tommy Rees and Clark Lea are BK's best coordinator duo at Notre Dame from a game-planning, play-calling and coaching perspective. I don't know if 2nd place would be all that close. KevinPS: There was plenty of room for doubt. He'd been a coach for all of five years, not counting graduate assistant. Second, who else could we have gotten if Kelly didn't just take him? There are plenty of guys out there better than him. Third, we ran the ball well under Long in 2017. Finally, we have a long way to go yet. PreTill1: In 2017 Notre Dame averaged 269 yards per game on the ground, which included 7 games vs ranked teams. Long committed to the run as well when he had the talent. Not so much with Tony Jones Jr. at RB. We might want to wait until we play some ranked teams before anointing Rees as the next Bill Walsh. Both guys utilize the talent on hand. That's it. Nothing more, nothing less. Last year Long's best player was Chase Claypool, so he focused on getting him the ball. Never judge a coach on one year, much less 3-4 games. Del2210: I don't think we can line up and beat Clem- son without having a few wrinkles. As teams adjust to the 3 TE set, I would not be surprised to see us look to spread the TEs out some to give them additional space to play. I would expect more true RB screens as we move forward to slow down any blitzing defenses. Johnnyh: ND has not played anyone good yet. Not Rees' fault. The offense has done exactly what the offense should do. I will take the wait and see approach. Wait until he has a new QB under center and a new O Line. He inherited a lot. FROM THE WEBSITE JOIN THE CONVERSATION! GET A 60-DAY FREE TRIAL WITH CODE IRISH60 .com .com In his first year as offensive coordinator, Tommy Rees has the Irish attack meshing well with an average of 40.3 points through the first three games. PHOTO BY BILL PANZICA BE HEARD! Send your letters to: Letters Blue & Gold Illustrated P. O. Box 1007, Notre Dame, IN 46556 or e-mail to:

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