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Discussion in 'The Mainboard' started by Thoros of Beer, Feb 3, 2016.
Reggie Bush’s high school
Michigan canceled spring game and essentially all recruiting. I’m guessing we follow suit in the near future
The lengths that Killy will go to avoid recruiting. Putting the whole world at risk.
Stomping BC right now to get into the ACC quarters.
Do we get consideration if we beat UVa and Louisville/Syracuse? Or do we essentially have to win the whole thing to get in? An ACC ND team going 22-12 and getting left out would have shocked me a couple years ago
Have to win it all imo. But the tourney is getting cancelled so it won’t matter.
Yep, sports are over for a while. Sucks, I was getting ready for the nhl playoffs
yeah i'll be surprised we even play tomorrow night at this point. but agreed - we need to win the whole dang thing at this point
This is usually one of the better times of the year. NCAA, NBA, MLB starting, spring practices, NHL, The Masters and now even XFL if that's your thing. Now we may have none of it.
I'm guessing Matt was paid by the word
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Whether they were fetching laundry for Tony Medlin with the Bears in Platteville or racing to the fitness racks to repeat John Lott’s rambunctious calls for the Browns in Berea — “Up! Up! Up!” — Bill Rees’ boys never lacked for an outlet to scratch their pigskin itch.
They helped break in NFL balls for Medlin, Chicago’s legendary equipment manager, at minicamp near their Lake Forest home when Bill served as the Bears’ director of college scouting. When their dad took on an enhanced role with the Browns, the boys received promotions of their own during their summer training camp visits to Northeast Ohio: cleat cleaners, with their first paychecks reading a whopping $73 after taxes.
After practice, special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg would spend a half-hour tutoring one boy one day, quarterbacks coach Rip Scherer 30 more minutes with another boy the next. They had graduated from the perk of playing catch in their backyard with Cade McNown and the novelty of taking over their own golf carts with the Monsters of the Midway to shagging balls for Trent Dilfer and Brady Quinn in Cuyahoga County.
Bill’s oldest, Danny, went on to UCLA, having heeded his old man’s advice by trading in fantasies of growing into a big-time tight end for the more practical approach of becoming a Division I punter. He had two inches and four years on his brother, but he didn’t have the head start that baby bro had.
Danny Rees had Bill Rees. Tommy Rees had Bill Rees and Danny Rees.
So Tommy tagged along with his dad to Danny’s practices at Lake Forest High before he was old enough to play, soaking in the sounds and sweat of autumn at all of 10 years old. When playing prep ball wasn’t enough, he followed his father after work to the basement of their Lake Bluff home to dissect film — first on VHS tapes, before a slow move to digital — where they would analyze blitzes, learn protections, study footwork and put on their best Mel Kiper Jr. impressions for every draft class.
“I think Tommy’s probably been doing it an extra five years,” says Dan Fox, one of Tommy’s college roommates. “You think of his age and think, Yeah, he’s young, but he’s been doing it for just as long as guys that are offensive coordinators elsewhere, so he’s got the knowledge.”
Being two months shy of 28 doesn’t make Tommy Rees the youngest offensive coordinator in college football. Heck, he’s not even the youngest coordinator with Notre Dame ties. (Hello, Charlie Weis Jr.) Yet his age discredits his experience, Rees possessing a mental rolodex that hit so hard so early in South Bend it prompted Ed Warinner, then the Irish’s O-line coach, to text Tommy’s dad and say his kid already knew the offense as well as the staff did by their first training camp together.
Such is the mind that Brian Kelly has entrusted with helping Notre Dame make another College Football Playoff push in his 11th season, eight of which will have featured Rees influencing the offense in one form or another. He started games at quarterback in each of Kelly’s first four years with the Irish, from a freshman year that saw him deliver the program’s first win at USC in a decade to a finale that saw him become Kelly’s first wire-to-wire starter.
In between, he became a case study for the fickle whims of college fandom, from pariah to savior, back and forth and back again, ready for his opportunity however it would come. He bore the brunt of Kelly’s purple-faced tirades — back when those were still a thing — and developed the equity to give it right back.
“Who could tell the story better?” former Rees backup Andrew Hendrix says, describing his buddy’s recruiting chops. “No one else could. He’s not gonna lie. He’s not gonna B.S. you. And you know everything he says is a first-hand account.”
Hendrix enrolled at Notre Dame a semester after Rees did, both as part of the bridge class from Charlie Weis to Kelly. By his summer arrival, Hendrix knew there was a better chance of Rees catching five-star upperclassman Dayne Crist for the starting job than there was of him catching Rees for the No. 2 spot. He knows now what he didn’t know then: that he was further behind his classmate in football knowledge than he could have possibly comprehended as an 18-year-old.
The two grew in friendship, if not competition, with Rees standing in Hendrix’s wedding three years ago and even visiting his comrade for a Halloween start at Miami (Ohio), where Hendrix finished his career as a grad transfer.
“I watched him play for four years,” Hendrix says, setting up the kicker, “he got to watch me once, so that was pleasant.”
And yet, that observing — and studying — is what helped Hendrix become an All-MAC QB with the RedHawks in 2014, earning team MVP honors.
“I started playing my best football when I started playing a little more like Tommy and a little less like someone who was physically more talented,” he says.
No one would know the feeling better than the man Hendrix emulated. Between the Bears and Browns, Bill Rees spent two years with the 49ers. At the team’s Santa Clara training facility, a pre-teen Tommy worked with receivers coach Eric Yarber, which meant on-field looks at Terrell Owens and Tai Streets, at Cedrick Wilson and Brandon Lloyd.
If not quite the physical specimen that T.O. and his buddies were, Tommy knew he was at least more athletic than his older brother, whose work across the years was enough to land him in the Pac-10. (He is now VP of a commercial real estate firm in Los Angeles.) Despite Tommy quipping that he punted more times in college than Danny, an actual punter, did (3 to 1), he saw his brother squeeze the most out of his talents and vowed to do the same.
“We thought he was good, but physically he didn’t look anything like he ultimately turned out to be,” Chuck Spagnoli, Lake Forest High’s coach, says of Tommy. “He was an average-looking freshman.”
He unseated a senior starter as a sophomore, then led a game-tying and a game-winning drive to beat hated Libertyville for the first time in more than a decade, never looking back as he stretched his playing career to Notre Dame, ushering in the Kelly era.
“He was literally a baby,” Spagnoli says of the rivalry win, “and he literally led our team down and we scored.”
Pat Fitzgerald tossed him to the receivers upon hiring him at Northwestern as a grad assistant, a throwback to those Niners days and a sign of things to come a year later as a Chargers assistant, where he absorbed the offense more holistically. Back at Notre Dame as quarterbacks coach in 2017 — this time with his father trailing him, joining the Irish shortly afterward as scouting director — Rees made good on Kelly’s promise from three years earlier, when he declared after the QB’s finale: “I told him he’s got a bright future as a graduate assistant for Brian Kelly anytime.”
Hendrix bounced between Rees and Charlie Fiessinger as road roommates during that 2013 campaign, the three regularly watching whatever mid-major game aired on Friday nights, with Rees calling the offense’s shots from the comforts of their hotel.
On the eve of Notre Dame’s October game at Air Force, the trio unwinded with “SportsCenter” in then-offensive coordinator Chuck Martin’s room. Hendrix and Fiessinger retreated to their rooms ahead of their 10 p.m. bed check, but Rees stayed behind. When an Irish staffer knocked on Rees’ door and saw that the starting QB had missed curfew, he immediately dialed him up. Rees handed the phone over to Martin, who eased any concerns.
Yeah, don’t worry about it, Martin said. He’s not out raging in Colorado Springs.
Rees stayed with his coach watching film and talking ball until 12:30 a.m. The next day, he threw a career-best five touchdown passes in a rout of the Falcons.
It was never enough to simply diagram a play on the whiteboard. No, Rees had to explain to the room every intricacy of the defense he was facing, why said play was going to attack that specific set and how that play would pan out.
To say Rees never called a play before his interim role in December’s bowl romp of Iowa State — he was officially promoted to replace Chip Long 17 days later — is only semi-accurate, as he had gradually earned unprecedented freedom at the line of scrimmage as a player.
“He wasn’t chucking it up saying, ‘Run four verticals,’ but he had autonomy to do just about whatever he wanted at the line of scrimmage,” says Fiessinger, a former walk-on. “Needless to say, he made mistakes here and there, but a vast, vast majority of the time, whatever he was checking — if he was getting out of a bad play and into a good one — many more times than not it was the right decision.”
Fox, a linebacker, avoided chalk talk during his three years rooming with Rees, fearful of surrendering state secrets to a guy he absolutely knew would come after him at the next on-field opportunity. Games of mental gymnastics became standard operating procedure when practice went live, with Rees checking and re-checking to another play until he found the perfect glitch to exploit the defense — which ranked as high as second nationally in points allowed during Rees’ career — and leave everyone scrambling to recover into position as the ball was snapped.
The in-game freedom was earned. The responsibility — through the 61 touchdown passes (No. 2 in school history) and 37 picks (No. 3) — was always burdened.
“There’s a difference between when you make a mistake and it’s, ‘Ah, I have no idea what that defense was, or what that blitz was,’” says Fox, who also had Rees stand in his wedding. “I felt like with Tom it was: ‘Oh yeah, they disguised the safety.’ Or: ‘The safety rolled a different way than he had the past 10 weeks.’
“He didn’t need someone to explain what happened. He just understood the game. He was just so up-front about the mistake, I never felt like anyone had to pick him up.“
By his senior year, teammates say, Rees knew opposing defenses better than most of those defenders did. They were doing what they were told. He knew why they were doing it, and he could often predict whatever came next.
Occasionally, he would meet his match. Fiessinger loves to tell the story of a play late in a 2013 game at Stanford — Rees’ regular-season finale — when Rees and All-Pac-12 linebacker Shayne Skov went back-and-forth nearly checking each other into oblivion before the play clock expired, two brainiac madmen waging a war of chess on a checkerboard.
“A no-brainer,” Kelly says now of Rees’ chosen profession.
On the second-to-last play of the third quarter of Notre Dame’s 2012 game at Oklahoma, starter Everett Golson took a wicked hit on a run and headed to the sideline. Rees entered for the final play before the final quarter, a third-and-7 with 86,000 fans bearing down on him and the Irish’s perfect season as they nursed a four-point lead.
The call came in as a run. Rees read the blitz, checked the protection.
“He probably hasn’t thrown the ball in two hours,” Hendrix says. “His arm is made of ice.”
Rees delivered a dart on the boundary to Tyler Eifert — another roommate — for 11 yards. He went back to the bench and watched Notre Dame complete what to this day remains the gold standard of signature victories in the Kelly era.
“The wherewithal at the moment, the state of mind to calm everything down and do what he knows he’s capable of, that’s the Tommy play that I remember,” Hendrix says.
Hendrix and Crist were invited by Rees back to campus for last summer’s Irish quarterback camp, where the two, along with former Irish great Terry Hanratty and current analyst Gus Ragland, helped tutor middle-schoolers through drills in the morning and sharpen high school prospects in the afternoon.
Rees, then in his third year at his alma mater coaching QBs, was running the show, a far cry from the days he and Danny would sneak into the Browns weight room, struggle to lift a 45-pound plate on each side of the bench bar, parrot the sayings of Lott — the strength coach who doubles as a fixture at the NFL combine’s bench press spectacle — and bellow Get Your Mind Right! and We Got a Live One! with a motor that belied a kid not even old enough to drive.
He is more recognizable now, a football savant holding a role so perfectly tailored to his DNA that the only hitch is purely cosmetic: Is it Tom — the school’s declaration upon his 2017 return, validated by Kelly’s addressing of him on game day — or Tommy, which only the Twittersphere seems to acknowledge?
“I called him Tom, but not in the way you call him Tom,” Hendrix says. “I called him it before the rebrand. He rebranded the rebrand. I think currently we are in Tommy phase.”
A phase that, by any other name — or age — has Irish eyes smiling.
Prodigy seems a tad premature
We suspended all football activity
No way in hell BK and the school could risk that black eye.
Edit: And it's the right thing to do.
ACC tourney cancelled? That fucking sucks if true. But again, right thing to do.
Notre Dame basketball needs to announce they won’t allow their players to participate in the NCAA tournament
Gotta think that Ireland game gets moved right?
NCAA tourney should have been cancelled by now. It's just posturing at this point.
I’m fearful of this
Zero chance this backfires
I think it's finally time for the family to sit down and knock this thing out.
If Kelly really cared he'd be adopting 5* croots from all over the country.
Oh boy, this is awkward
that is such a shitty comparison
you seem to be leading to something but I don't quite understand
I know, it’s not really fair to Trump. He’s actually won something.
So not being able to do anything but work, shop food & TV is kinda more boring than when i really do the same thing when im not forced to
There are 11 prospects I'm writing about in today's Gold Standard (and about a dozen more tomorrow), but before I get into it, I want to mention that the gist of the impact of the dead period is mainly on prospects who planned to make commitments this spring or summer. The key March unofficials and some officials in April have been cancelled, and it's unknown at this point if the NCAA will extend the dead period past April 15 due to the spread of the Coronavirus.
*** I'll go ahead and start with Matthews (N.C.) Weddington running back
, who of course was planning to visit Notre Dame this upcoming weekend. You have to think the visit being cancelled hurts Notre Dame's chances. He's still only been to South Bend once, which was for the USC game last fall, and game day visits typically don't include a lengthy academic presentation. He was hoping to really learn more about the University this weekend and spend time with the Irish commits, but that obviously won't be happening. And to make matters worse, the last school he was able to visit is Clemson.
*** Don't get me wrong, this isn't a doom and gloom update. I actually planned to put in a FutureCast pick for Notre Dame to land Shipley and give the details of that in a Lucky Charms post tonight, but his visit being postponed throws a wrench into that. So what is next for Shipley? First, I want to note that this is really a Clemson-Notre Dame battle, as I've been saying for months. He really likes Stanford, Ohio State, North Carolina, North Carolina State and even Georgia, but the Tigers and Fighting Irish have been at the top of his list for months, according to what I've gathered.
5'11" | 200 LBS | APB
CLASS OF 2021
*** A couple of sources tell me that Shipley still plans to visit Notre Dame before making a decision, which is definitely a good sign for the Irish. There's just a "what if" factor when thinking about the March 20 weekend and how it was set up to be so big for Notre Dame. Can the Irish assemble that type of visitor list for another time this spring or summer? Shipley is looking to make a commitment "soon" and again, getting back to Notre Dame is in his plans.
*** Of course, part of this depends on if the NCAA does open visits back up in mid-April or if the dead period extends into May. I really do get the feeling that Shipley is ready to get a commitment so he can get past what has been a wild recruiting process. He's ready to build something with the commits of the school he chooses, and he told me back in December that he's closest with the Notre Dame recruits more than any other class. I truly don't think Shipley has made up his mind yet between Clemson and Notre Dame. I believed that the Irish would jump Clemson after his visit this weekend, but now it's all up in the air.
*** Not only was Olney (Md.) Good Counsel offensive lineman
going to visit this weekend, he was going to return two weekends later for an official visit. Both visits are off, which obviously sucks for Notre Dame. Tengwall tells me that Notre Dame and Penn State will both get visits, probably official visits, and he'd like to commit in early May. So Notre Dame is only getting one visit now rather than two, and he's only been on campus once previously, which was last spring, and he's been to Penn State about 10 times.
*** One thing going in Notre Dame's favor here is that he loves offensive line coach Jeff Quinn and they've built a strong relationship over the past year and a half, while Penn State has a new offensive line coach. When Tengwall visited South Bend last year, he nearly committed. Could an official visit put Notre Dame over the top? Penn State has been the favorite for a long time, but he obviously hasn't made a commitment yet. Notre Dame has a solid chance here if it hits a home run during his visit. I'd also like to note that Tengwall would like to take a trip to Oregon if possible, but I doubt they'd become much of a threat.
6'5" | 290 LBS | OG
CLASS OF 2021
*** Another key Notre Dame target who was affected by the Coronavirus dead period is Clarkston (Mich.) high offensive lineman
. This really messed up his timeline, as the Rivals100 talent had to cancel his April official visits that he had planned and will not be committing in mid-May like he had originally planned. Spindler still plans to take his officials and decide before his senior season. Spindler has kept it in house on which schools will get his official visits, but I had heard that he was going to take his Notre Dame OV April 3, and remember, he was also going to unofficially visit this upcoming weekend. Right now, I still like Notre Dame in this recruitment, but Michigan and Ohio State can't be counted out.
*** Four-star lineman
is teammates with Spindler at the high school level, but I've never felt that they'll end up at the same school in college. They do have plenty of the same schools after them though, and they've both kept their official visit plans close to their vests too. However, the Coronavirus dead period doesn't affect Dellinger as much, as long as it's not extended too much longer. Dellinger's father is deployed in Iraq and returns to the U.S. in May, and they planned his official visits for end of May and June so he could take them with his father. Dellinger was going to visit Notre Dame for the March 20 weekend as well, so he'll obviously miss that visit, but I don't think the dead period will affect Dellinger much, unless the NCAA deems that the dead period needs to extend into May.
*** Lititz (Pa.) Warwick offensive tackle
hasn't been to Notre Dame in a year, but that was going to change this weekend. The latest I'm told on Rucci is that he and his family are reevaluating their next steps. The plan for Rucci is still to make a decision before his senior season, but the dead period is delaying his process a bit as well (mostly a common theme of these recruits).
6'8" | 287 LBS | OT
CLASS OF 2021
*** If anything, the dead period helps Notre Dame with Ocala (Fla.) Trinity Catholic offensive lineman
, who is the Irish's first 2021 OL offer in three months. He's not able to visit Auburn, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and LSU this spring like he had hoped to, and he wasn't planning to visit Notre Dame again until this summer anyways. If Notre Dame pushes for Johnson, I do believe he'll end up Irish.
*** Blairstown (N.J.) Blair Academy defensive end
planned to commit this summer, but he may delay that into his senior season. His visit this weekend to Notre Dame was going to be a good one, and I felt that the Irish may land him if all went well. He's visited Notre Dame twice before, but due to the nature of those visits, he didn't get to spend extended time with the coaching staff and players, which was going to be key for this upcoming visit. I do feel that if Notre Dame can get him back on campus and have the room for him, he'll join the class.
6'4" | 185 LBS | WR
MOUNT ST. JOSEPH
CLASS OF 2021
*** Baltimore (Md.) Mount St. Joseph wide receiver
Dont'e Thornton Jr.
was scheduled to visit Notre Dame in April, and that visit will be rescheduled. He is a former Penn State commit who is still considering the Nittany Lions, and Thornton is also looking to get to Arizona State, Alabama, Oregon and USC when the recruiting period opens back up. Notre Dame has more than a shot here, but it'll be a tough pull for the Irish.
*** Not a whole lot of change either for East Lansing (Mich.) High wide receiver
. He told me that he doesn't have a timeline for making a decision and is just keeping in contact with a handful of coaching staffs. Notre Dame is still a player here, and the Irish have started to talk to him about defensive back.
*** The timing of Napa (Calif.) High tight end
' Notre Dame visit last week couldn't have been any better. He got to see campus just before the Coronavirus frenzy. The dead period won't affect Bowers' recruitment too much; he was planning to hit some Pac-12 schools this spring but that won't happen any time soon. Another tight end target for the Irish, Council Bluffs (Iowa) Lewis Central School's
was scheduled to see Notre Dame for the first time in April. A source close to him tells me that Fidone will work to find another time to get to South Bend once visits open back up.
hows everything by you guys? What’s the mood?
ow its not that bad. Part of the skeleton crew at work but its just boring, miss my sports
Wife is an RN at the hospital. I worry about her the most given she has to constantly help patients and there are STILL not enough tests to test everyone, including the staff. Resigned to the fact that at some point she will likely bring it home.
Working from home last week was fine but now all schools and all daycares are closed. Tough to work and care for my young boys. Not to mention, tough to stop them from wanting to play with the neighborhood kids due to the need for social distancing.
Gonna be a long few weeks/months.
good luck man!
My ten month old got sent home from daycare on the 6th with hand, foot, mouth disease. I’ve been home with him since and now daycares are closed. Wife is hopefully going to be able to work from home starting tomorrow
day 10 here, I’m getting really fucking stir crazy
I drank heavily last night
Trevor Noah at the JACC got cancelled. Damnit.
There will no graduation either if i had to guess. Shits wild
Didn’t even think about that. That sucks so bad. Not being able to walk is such a kick in the dick.
I assume there will be big homecoming/commencement festivities in the fall at all universities.
Fuck Rick Scott.
Eric Hansen gave his favorite rewatch games on the radio earlier. OK in 12 was number 1, so, I’m watching it. #5wide.
fsu 2014 would definitely be number one if nd didn’t get fucked by the refs. Although the rest of that season really took away the important aspect of that win
Decided to back out of going to Ireland
gonna go to Pittsburgh game instead, just makes way more sense financially
besides a road trip at Pitt? What could go wrong
well pitts superweapon could be fully charged by then
Seriously can’t imagine the teams traveling to Ireland. This would be the year that gets cancelled and ND goes 11-0 and doesn’t get in the playoffs.