Notre Dame notes: Rees getting backup reps, Pinkett suspended

712786.png

Notre Dame notes: Rees getting backup reps, Pinkett suspended

Tommy Rees is back with Notre Dame, reinstated to the team after serving his one-game suspension for Week 1. The junior didn't see many reps during fall camp, but with him in the mix for Week 2, that's no longer the case. Both Rees and Andrew Hendrix were listed as the team's No. 2 quarterback on Notre Dame's latest depth chart.

"Both of them have to get some work, but Tommy probably needs the most work at this time," coach Brian Kelly said Tuesday. "Both those guys will share reps. For me, itll probably be more about making sure we get Tommy up to a level where he can be sharp if hes in a position where he had to go into a game, and I dont know if hes got enough work yet. Hell get work at 2, as well as Andrew, and then well see how that progresses during the week."

When pressed, Kelly said he didn't have either player in mind as the backup in case starter Everett Golson gets hurt on Saturday. After suspending Rees prior to fall camp, Kelly said he could "attempt to climb the depth chart" upon reinstatement. But Rees is already on equal footing with Hendrix, and may have a chance to move ahead of him with a good week of practice.

Rees started all but Notre Dame's season opener in 2011 and five games in 2010, making him the team's most experienced quarterback. He struggled with turnover issues, throwing eight interceptions in Notre Dame's four losses, but Kelly believes Rees has made significant strides since last December.

"Were pleased with it, or we wouldnt move in him a position where he gets some reps as a backup." Kelly said of Rees' improvement. "We saw some of things we wanted in terms of ball security and good decision-making, and well continue to work on that. Tommys a very valuable player to our program. Hes got a lot of experience, and were happy to have him."

Pinkett suspended three games from ND radio

IMG Notre Dame radio announced Allen Pinkett, who came under fire last week for comments about the Irish needing more "criminals" to succeed, was issued a three-game suspension without pay on Tuesday. That ban ncludes Saturday's Navy game, and after Sept. 15's game at Michigan State he'll return to his usual duties. His first game eligible to return is Notre Dame's Sept. 22 night game against Michigan.

Allen has done a great job for the Notre Dame IMG Radio network over the past four years, has a supportive fan base, and most importantly, has expressed deep heartfelt remorse for his choice of words, which were not in the spirit of college athletics, a statement by the Notre Dame IMG Radio Network read. "After careful deliberation and thorough discussion, we believe the right decision is to allow a truly repentant Allen Pinkett an opportunity to return to the booth beginning with the fourth game of the college football season."

Pinkett also issued an apology on Tuesday.

"I love this school as much as I love my kids and would never want to compromise the ethics and morals of my alma mater, Notre Dame,Pinkett said. I would again like to offer my most sincere and heartfelt apology to all those affected by my inappropriate comments, particularly the University, the schools hard-working and courageous student athletes, all Fighting Irish fans and team supporters, our friends at The Ohio State University, and my colleagues at IMG Notre Dame Radio Network. This offering of forgiveness is an extremely humbling life lesson.

"I will work very hard to make the most of this second chance in representing the high standards and proud tradition of Notre Dame football.

Irish move to No. 22, Kelly responds with shrug

The latest AP poll has Notre Dame back in the top 25, slotted at No. 22. No other team made the jump from unranked to ranked this week, but Kelly really didn't care about the recognition.

"White noise," Kelly said. "White noise, yeah."

Lost in translation

Notre Dame employed plenty of two-tight end sets on Saturday against Navy, something the CBS broadcast of the game noted was the result of Kelly studying Stanford's offense. If that was the case, Kelly didn't let on to it Tuesday.

"I dont know where that came from, quite honestly," Kelly said. "I think what I was talking about was I would love to have Andrew Luck. But he was already taken."

Sick bay

Running back Amir Carlisle (ankle) was cleared to return to practice on Tuesday, while linebacker Danny Spond (migraines) could return as early as Week 3, having been cleared for all activities but physical contact. Tackle Tate Nichols (knee) began work in the weight room last week and will go through individual, not team workouts this week and won't be available for the Purdue game.

Running back Cam McDaniel was banged up over the weekend and isn't back to 100 percent, but Kelly expects him to play on Saturday.

Cubs Talk Podcast: Breaking down the World Series hangover

bochy-maddon-0525.jpg
USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: Breaking down the World Series hangover

Do the Cubs have a World Series hangover?

On the latest edition of the Cubs Talk Podcast, NBC Sports Bay Area Giants Insider Alex Pavlovic joins CSN's Patrick Mooney to talk about the World Series hangover, how last year's playoff loss lingered in San Francisco, Johnny Cueto's quirks, the legend of Madison Bumgarner and Jeff Samardzija's ups and downs.

Plus Kelly Crull, Jeff Nelson and Tony Andracki break down the Cubs’ defensive struggles this year compared to an historic 2016 and how Ian Happ fits into the Cubs’ lineup in both the short and long term.

Listen to the latest episode below:

What does Caleb Swanigan's departure for NBA mean for Purdue and the 2018 Big Ten title race?

caleb-swanigan-0525.jpg
USA TODAY

What does Caleb Swanigan's departure for NBA mean for Purdue and the 2018 Big Ten title race?

Caleb Swanigan, unsurprisingly, is heading to the NBA.

Last season’s Big Ten Player of the Year announced Wednesday that he’ll pass up the final two seasons of his NCAA eligibility for a paying gig at the professional level, an awesome opportunity for a kid who battled obesity and homelessness to become one of the best basketball players in the country.

But Swanigan’s departure from West Lafayette means a heck of a lot to the Big Ten.

Without the league’s most dominant big man, what becomes of Purdue’s chances at winning a conference title? Similarly, with a weakened — though still strong — group of Boilermakers, what does the Big Ten race look like going into 2017-18?

First, Purdue. Matt Painter’s program is plenty healthy, and while there’s no doubt that losing Swanigan is a big deal, the Boilers got some really good news, too, Wednesday when Vincent Edwards announced he’ll be returning for his senior season. Seven-footer Isaac Haas also made the decision to return to West Lafayette, meaning the towering frontcourt hasn’t been completely decimated just because tha man called “Biggie” is gone.

Purdue will also return Carsen Edwards, who had an impressive freshman campaign, and Dakota Mathias, a terrific defender and 3-point shooter. Two more important pieces — P.J. Thompson and Ryan Cline — are back, as well. And Painter will welcome in freshman Nojel Eastern, a highly touted guard from Evanston.

So the Boilers are still in very good shape. There will be a big magnifying glass on Haas, who despite his physical attributes hasn’t always found consistent on-court success. But there have been plenty of flashes of brilliance from the big man. A big step forward in his game would go a long way in easing the blow of losing Swanigan and could keep Purdue as one of the frontrunners for a conference title.

That brings us to the Big Ten race. Ever since Miles Bridges, the conference’s reigning Freshman of the Year, announced he’d be returning to Michigan State for his sophomore season, the Spartans have been the near-unanimous favorite. Only something like Swanigan deciding to stay at Purdue could’ve changed that. And with Swanigan expectedly heading to the NBA, Michigan State remains the preseason pick to win the conference crown.

Like any good year in the Big Ten, though, there will be challengers.

But Michigan State is the popular choice to win it because of Tom Izzo’s insane 2016 recruiting class is returning completely intact: Bridges, Nick Ward, Cassius Winston and Joshua Langford are all back. And Izzo brings in one of the top 2017 recruits in forward Jaren Jackson.

But Sparty isn’t the only one with an impressive returning group. Purdue’s experienced roster has already been covered. Northwestern, a surprise contender in 2016-17, should be even better as Bryant McIntosh, Vic Law and Scottie Lindsey enter their fourth year playing together. Dererk Pardon, a shot-blocking whiz at center, is also back, as is sharp-shooter Aaron Falzon, who sat out the 2016-17 season with an injury after starting during his freshman year in 2015-16.

There will be big shoes to fill for some perennial contenders like Maryland — which must replace Melo Trimble — and Michigan, which watched eligibility run out on Derrick Walton Jr. and Zak Irvin before D.J. Wilson decided to head to the professional ranks Wednesday. But those teams have plenty of talent returning, too. The Terps will have all three of their fab freshmen — Justin Jackson, Anthony Cowan and Kevin Huerter — back for sophomore seasons, while the Wolverines have Moe Wagner back in the fold alongside Xavier Simpson and Duncan Robinson, among others.

And what of last year’s shocking contender, Minnesota? The Golden Gophers didn’t lose too much this offseason and will return almost every main player from last year’s 24-10 squad: Amir Coffey, Nate Mason, Reggie Lynch, Jordan Murphy, Dupree McBrayer and Eric Curry.

There are up-and-comers to think about, too, such as last year’s freshman-heavy squads at Iowa and Penn State. And could new head coaches Brad Underwood and Archie Miller make instant splashes at Illinois and Indiana, respectively?

If it sounds a little too much like the annual coach speak that “any team can win on any night” in the Big Ten, that’s because there is a good deal of truth to that oft-used phrase.

There are definitely tiers to this thing, though. Even without Swanigan, Purdue is still in one of those upper tiers. But there might be no team besides Michigan State at the very top of the heap, something underscored by Swanigan turning pro.