Tommy Rees takes responsibility for his actions that resulted in an alcohol-related arrest on May 3. He accepts the one-game suspension from Notre Dame head football coach Brian Kelly. The junior quarterback has even preached the importance of making good decisions to area school children.
Junior QB Tommy Rees is ready to battle for starting spot in Week Two
Still, the junior quarterback with 16 career starts finds himself third on the depth chart and staring at quite a climb if he wants to regain that title.
“I’ve thought a lot about the incident and it’s something I’ve moved past and gotten over,” Rees said Saturday in his first appearance in front of the media since the arrest. “The kind of lack of judgment is something that I don’t find indicative of my character. I’m just trying to move forward, which I have.”
“I’ve got to take it one game at a time and be patient and help those guys with whatever they need,” Rees said. “My teammates have been great; they’ve been very supportive. At the same time, they’ve rallied behind Everett and Andrew and tried to pick their spirits up if things aren’t going great. I think we have a couple leaders out there on the field that have done a great job keeping the offense together. My job right now is to help them and still be a presence and a leader out there as much as I can.”
Assisting two quarterbacks that are trying to take Rees’ job and hold onto it for the entire 2012 season is a complicated dynamic. Rees’ self-assuredness makes the process easier.
“Having confidence in my ability and understanding helps with that,” he said. “I’m confident that I can go out there and play, and play at a high level. Helping those guys is something that anybody on this team would do when faced with the same situation. We have a bunch of selfless guys that just care about Notre Dame football and winning games. Right now, helping those two guys get ready for the first week is what my responsibility is.”
Though he won’t be traveling to Ireland with his teammates, Rees still views the starting job as his. He fully expects to be back in the race when Notre Dame begins preparing for Purdue in Week Two.
“Yeah, I’ve just got to be ready when my number is called. When I get back out there and get back into the mix of things, I just need to be sharp and on top of my game. I’ll let the coaches make the decisions from there.
Senior ILB Carlo Calabrese looks forward to getting back on the field when the team returns home from Ireland
“Just getting back out there and competing is something I’m looking forward to. I’m eager to get back. When that comes, I’ll be prepared.”
Senior inside linebacker Carlo Calabrese, who was arrested at the same off-campus party, was also suspended for the season opener in Dublin. The co-starter along with Dan Fox softly expressed his contriteness for a misdemeanor charge of intimidation.
“I learned a lot from this and from what happened and everything,” he said. “I accept responsibility for my actions and everything that went on. The consequences … I’ll live by it and move on. I can’t let this hurt my whole season, so I’m not going to let it.
“Right now it’s camp, and I’m working real hard during it and grinding every day. I’m working very hard. That’s all I can do right now, just keep grinding, grinding through everything. I’m looking forward to the season starting.”
In other news …
Brian Kelly recapped the first week of fall camp Saturday before the team traveled to Diamond Lake for a day of relaxation. Unfortunately, most of the news was bad news. Kelly confirmed junior tight end Alex Welch will miss the entire 2012 season with a torn right ACL suffered during Wednesday’s practice.
Junior outside linebacker Danny Spond was initially thought to have suffered a concussion Wednesday, but Kelly said it’s a trickier situation than that.
“We’ve been able to eliminate some things,” Kelly said. “First of all, [Spond] did not have a concussion. We’ve exhausted a number of different tests and he’s come back clean on all of them. We’re going to do a little bit more work before we move any further with him relative to contact and getting him on the field. Cleared him for a concussion, and we’ve got some more testing to do, and then I can probably update you sometime early next week.”
It’s unknown if Spond will be able to return to practice before the Navy game.
“It’s hard to tell right now. We want to make certain before we put him back on the field. I couldn’t tell you for sure standing here right now. As you know, Prince [Shembo] can play there.”
“I’m not trying to be evasive. But they’ve eliminated head injury as well. We can’t give you a specific because they’ve done so many tests that have come back clean, but yet there are still obviously some symptoms as well. This is one of those that will probably require a little bit more in-depth testing before we can give you a definitive answer.”
Players will enjoy some golf, boating and fishing the rest of the evening Saturday at Diamond Lake. Sunday will feature weight training before the Irish begin two-a-day practices next week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday).