Ironically, there was more good than bad when the Irish suffered their loss to the Sooners on Saturday. But the bad, was so, so bad, and is the same bad we have seen time and time again.
Here are the negatives from Oklahoma vs. Notre Dame:
Rees threw three interceptions in the first half that led to twenty-one Sooner points. In addition to Tommy’s three interceptions, he also completed just nine of his twenty-four pass attempts throughout the game for a staggering thirty-six and a half percent completion rate. Rees continued to throw directly into the defensive line or tried to fit passes into tight coverage and never gave his receivers a chance.
Before the season, I tried to convince myself that Rees could make this offense work. Instead, I’ve realized the offense that Kelly has built is loaded with superior athletes who are fast, agile and explosive and could be a finely tuned machine if the Irish didn’t have Tommy Rees trying to drive it. Rees stands out like a sore thumb; his arm isn’t strong enough to get the ball to his receiver’s on time, he can’t scramble when the pass rush is coming, still can’t sense pressure coming and get the ball out of his hands quickly. With Tommy Rees under center, the Irish offense looks like a basketball team with four studs playing the shooting guard, both forward positions and center, but your grandmother is playing the point, and she starts every play. The Irish have the talent to be incredibly dynamic offensively, but Rees is holding them back.
The Irish beat themselves with penalties as well as the turnovers. Notre Dame was busted with eight penalties for seventy-seven yards, only making the comeback more difficult. If this team expects to finish this season strong, they have to play more disciplined. I don’t expect the Irish to continue to be penalized like that every game as this hasn’t been a real problem since Brian Kelly took over.
I liked what Kelly was doing when he was incorporating Andrew Hendrix into the game, I don’t know why this stopped, I thought he played well and hope to see a lot more of him against Arizona State. Unfortunately for Irish fans, this team goes and Tommy Rees goes and are likely headed for at least two more losses this season. Arizona State is not a team to be taken lightly and they will be coming out to prove a point against the Irish. The way Notre Dame looks right now, there are no “gimme” wins on the schedule the rest of the way.
The season is not over for this team and with some changes, the Irish could still get back on track and even play their way to a BCS bowl; but Kelly confirmed today, the change that needs to be made, won’t be. Tommy Rees, still No.1 on the Irish depth chart at quarterback.