Blue and Gold Illustrated

Oct 08, 2022

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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BLUEGOLDONLINE.COM OCT. 8, 2022 11 UNDER THE DOME Notre Dame offensive coordinator Tommy Rees has jokes. And a pretty solid poker face. Rees was asked about the viral video of him yelling at Notre Dame quarterback Drew Pyne through a press box telephone to where Pyne was standing on the sideline in South Bend in the first half of Notre Dame's 24-17 victory over California. It doesn't take an expert lip- reader to decipher what Rees said — er, screamed — to the junior. "Do your [bleeping] job! The whole [bleeping] team is counting on you!" Rees addressed the moment in a press conference. He commended Pyne for being able to handle and respond to such a brash style of coaching. Before he did so, though, he looked at the reporter who asked the question and said, "I have no idea what you're talking about." Hence, the jokes. And the poker face. "Certain guys need certain types of coaching in certain moments," Rees said in all seriousness. "I'm not proud of the language I used, but I know Drew can seek out and handle tough coaching and things to kind of light a fire and create a sense of urgency. "In that moment, we felt like it was the right thing for the right player." Pyne was 3-of-8 passing for 19 yards before the chewing-out session. He went 14 of 15 for 131 yards with 2 touchdowns after it. He helped Notre Dame secure its first victory of the season with a go-ahead fourth-quarter touchdown pass to tight end Michael Mayer. "I respond well to hard coaching," Pyne said after the game. "Coach Rees, I've known him for seven or eight years. He just wants me to be at my best. I prepared so hard, and to come out a little slow, that's not the standard he holds me to and that's not the standard I hold myself to. "Coming out and finishing and never giving up and coming back in the second half is the standard he holds me to." "He responded the way we counted on him to," Rees added. "I'm proud of him for that. Again, not proud of my language. I'm proud that Drew and I have a relationship where there is an immense amount of trust and he knows that when urgency needs to be reiterated, it can be, and our players trust and respond the right way." —Tyler Horka Remember when former USC quarterback and current Pittsburgh signal- caller Kedon Slovis said the first team to contact him upon entering the NCAA transfer portal last December was Notre Dame? What wild times those were. Nearing one year later, Notre Dame started two quarterbacks for the first time in their careers in two of the Fighting Irish's first three games of the 2022 season. Slovis, meanwhile, started 26 games at USC and the first two games for Pitt this fall before missing Week 3's game against Western Michigan with an undisclosed injury. He was slated to return in Week 4. The specifics of the conversation between Slovis and Notre Dame were never revealed. All that is common knowledge is that it occurred. How many other quarterbacks did Notre Dame talk to? That's also not concrete information either. But Irish offensive coordinator Tommy Rees gave rea- son to believe it was more than one. "We certainly looked around," Rees said. "There are a lot of reasons why sometimes transfers work and don't work. To go through all the reasons why is probably a waste of time at this point. It's something we looked into. It's something we had conversations about and with. "For reasons in our control and out of our control, it just didn't happen. That's that. We continue to press on and move forward." What moving forward looks like for Notre Dame in the short term is junior Drew Pyne starting and true freshman Steve Angeli backing him up. The only other available quarterback on the roster is sophomore Ron Powlus III, a local product who's the son of former Notre Dame starting quarterback Ron Powlus. The younger Powlus did not arrive on campus with as lofty expectations as his father. He might not ever start a game for the Irish. So, in essence, it's just Pyne and Angeli after the season-ending shoulder injury to sophomore Tyler Buchner. If nothing else, a transfer addition at quarterback would have assuaged depth concerns. It could have ulti- mately produced a starter, too, like it did when Notre Dame brought in Jack Coan from Wisconsin for the 2021 season. That worked out pretty well. Slovis has thrown for 8,079 yards with 60 touchdowns and 25 intercep- tions in his career through Week 3. Even with their three combined starts to start the season and everything else they had done prior to this year, Buchner and Pyne combined for 1,082 passing yards with 8 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. Slovis would have likely come in and won the job in a three-way offseason quarterback competition. Did he turn Notre Dame down? Did Notre Dame back off? Again, the particulars have not been stated by either party. But there were other quar- terback transfer candidates in the portal. Plenty of schools ended up with one. Notre Dame did not. —Tyler Horka TOMMY REES ADDRESSES VIRAL VIDEO OF HIM CURSING AT DREW PYNE After getting chewed out by Rees, Pyne completed 14 of his next 15 passes for 131 yards with 2 touchdowns to help lead the Irish to a 24-17 win over Cal. PHOTO BY CHAD WEAVER TOMMY REES EXPLAINS WHY NOTRE DAME DID NOT TAKE A QB FROM THE TRANSFER PORTAL IN 2022

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