The Irish Now Have a 27 Year old in Charge of the Offense.
Updated: Jan 16, 2020
By: Phil Houk of Fighting Irish Preview
With the announcement today that born in 1992 Tommy Rees has been promoted to Offensive Coordinator, a promising coach has made a big move on a very fast track. After a 4 year playing career from 2010-2013 at ND that saw Rees throw for 7,670 yards and 61 TD passes (2nd best at ND all-time), he moved into coaching. He spent 2015 as a GA at Northwestern, 2016 as an assistant with the San Diego Chargers and came to ND as QBs coach in 2017.
Now, with 5 years experience in the coaching game, Rees has been promoted to head up the offense, at a program that has gone 33-6 in the last three years. In 2019 under Chip Long, the Irish averaged 37.1 points per game, the high water mark of the Brian Kelly era and good for 13th best in the Country.
On offense, the 2020 Irish return their entire offensive line and of course Ian Book at QB. Rees will be tasked with replacing several graduating play makers including WR Chase Clalypool, TE Cole Kmet and leading rusher Tony Jones Jr.
It is likely that Rees, who's father Bill has been a coach for many years and currently serves in a scouting capacity at ND, will continue to also handle QBs. That leaves a need on the staff to cover the tight end position group. Chip Long, who was a tight end during his playing days, also handled that position for the Irish along with his Offensive Coordinator duties.
As part of the announcement that Rees had been promoted to OC, Running backs Coach Lance Taylor who joined the Irish staff last season after stints in the NFL and at Stanford, also received a new title. Taylor is now the Running Game Coordinator, a promotion that indicates that he will be expected to collaborate closely with Jeff Quinn who has offensive line responsibilities, as well as with Rees.
After letting Chip Long go in December and during preparations for the Camping World Bowl, Brian Kelly emphasized the need for improved staff communication in efforts to improve the Irish rushing attack. Describing what he was looking for from his Coaches, Kelly said, “A lot more conversations, a lot more meetings, a lot more of everybody clearly seeing through the same lens as to what we want to accomplish, not only in the passing game but the running game.”
Look for Brian Kelly to fill the Tight ends position (or more likely some hybrid that includes tight ends) along with the defensive backs position vacated by Todd Lyght after the season, in short order.