Even after backup quarterback Tommy Rees helped lead Notre Dame to a 13-6 win over Michigan, coach Brian Kelly refused to acknowledge any sort of quarterbacking controversy. Instead, Kelly said Rees wasn't a replacement for starter Everett Golson, but rather, a complement.
"We're 4-0, so I'd say that having Tommy in there the two times that he did play, if you measure it from that standpoint, it's worked out OK," Kelly said Sunday. "You know, I've made this pretty clear every time that this has been brought up: You want to go with one quarterback, but we have a freshman quarterback who's experiencing being a young quarterback. (If) I can prop him up with a veteran to win a football game because we're in this to win it, then we'll do that."
Rees has been Golson's safety net. When the freshman has gotten into trouble, Rees has been there to bail him and the Irish out only to get put back on the bench. Golson threw two interceptions against the Wolverines, including one in the Irish end zone. The defense was key in the win — forcing five turnovers by Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson — but Rees stabilized the offense.
But Kelly has been clear this season that this is not quite a two-quarterback system. Golson is his quarterback and Rees will only come in if he feels like the game is slipping away from his freshman.
It's hard to argue with Kelly's game plan considering the Irish are 4-0 for the first time since 2002 and ranked No. 10 in the AP Poll with a bye week on the horizon.
Coming into the season, Notre Dame did have the toughest schedule in the country, so having a couple different options at quarterback might not be a bad thing especially since the offense seems to respond to both guys when they're in the game.
"Characterize it any way you want, that it's two quarterbacks," Kelly said. "I look at it as supporting Everett with Tommy, and if we need to do that, we'll continue to go that way because it's been pretty successful."
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