Rees' helping hand impresses fellow QBs

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Andrew Hendrix didn't need to look too far when seeking advice during summer workouts.

"Tommy Rees," Hendrix said, when asked who he turned to. "There's no one that knows this offense better than Tommy. I tell him on the field, 'If you see anything, let me know, please.' Because the man knows his stuff. He does. So it's any time I was curious about a read or it was debatable I just go to that guy because he knows it."

Rees, the only of Notre Dame's four scholarship quarterbacks with starting experience, did not take a single snap during Wednesday's open practice, something Brian Kelly said had been typical during fall camp. But the head coach has praised Rees for helping his peers despite being suspended for the Sept. 1 opener in Dublin, Ireland.

Even if it may not be in his best interest.

Everett Golson has been rooming with Rees during camp and admitted the situation can be a bit awkward. But he said that has not stopped Rees from trying to make an impact this month.

"It is awkward, and I praise Tommy for that because honestly, I don't know if I could really do that," Golson said, later adding, "There's many times where we'll be talking in the room and he's like, 'If you need anything I'm here for you.' And that's how it is with this whole unit -- not only just with Tommy, but there will be many times where I'm coming off the field and I'm asking Gunner [Kiel] or [the other quarterbacks], 'What did you see?' or, 'What could I have done better?' and stuff, things like that. Though this is a competition, we also help each other out."

Kiel said that the elder statesman among the quarterbacks has taken on the role of Coach Rees during camp.

"It really is," Kiel said. "He knows so much about the game. I talk to Tommy outside of football and he says that he wants to be a college football coach, and he definitely has the ability and the mind for it. It's great having him there to teach us all the stuff he knows."

The specter of potential discipline hung until last week, when Kelly announced he would keep Rees home after the junior pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors following his spring arrest at an off-campus party.

Golson said Rees kept an even-keel demeanor throughout the uncertainty, and neither he nor Hendrix changed their mind-sets despite the increased chances of taking the season's first snap against Navy.

"Tommy's been awesome. It's the same Tommy," Hendrix said. "When Tommy was in and repping, he'll come out and Dayne [Crist] would go in and Tommy would be coaching me up. If I ever have a question, Tommy's there for me. But now Tommy's back there every time, obviously, and I never stop asking him questions. He's been such a positive influence on all three of the younger guys. … Having Tommy back at all times is really an invaluable resource that we have."