Notre Dame midterm grades: Quarterbacks

Notre Dame midterm grades: Quarterbacks
October 8, 2013, 2:00 pm
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- It's easy to cherry-pick Tommy Rees' season stats and turn them into either a positive or negative evaluation. On one hand, Rees has thrown for 1,494 yards and 13 touchdowns through six games, putting him on pace to set career highs in both categories.

On the other hand, Rees has completed just 51.7 percent of his passes, thrown six interceptions and struggled against the two best defenses Notre Dame's faced in Michigan State and Oklahoma.

The real Rees, though, falls somewhere between those two extremes.

Rees isn't as bad as his combined line against Michigan State and Oklahoma (23/58 for 246 yards, 3 TD, 3 INT) would indicate. But he's also not as good as his three 300-yard passing games and two three-touchdown games would indicate.

[More: Irish offense 'surprised' Arizona State]

Rees is a guy who can't be counted on to win a game on his own, but if given offensive balance -- i.e., an effective running game -- he's capable of engineering an effective air attack. He's only been sacked four times, too, to some extent the product of his coach-like ability to get the Irish offense into the right pass-protection looks.

The noticeable issue for Rees in Notre Dame's offense is that he is who he is -- and, by that, meaning he's not Everett Golson. He's not mobile, he doesn't have a strong arm. And while he makes up for a lot of his athletic shortcomings with a deep knowledge base, that only goes so far when he's underthrowing receivers or having inaccurate passes deflect into the hands of defenders.

Rees is the guy for Notre Dame, as there's no quick fix on the Irish roster. Andrew Hendrix may see a few snaps here or there as a read-option threat, but it's apparent through six games the coaching staff doesn't view him as a legitimate threat to Rees' No. 1 gig. Irish coaches, too, would prefer to redshirt freshman Malik Zaire given 1) his lack of experience and 2) his bout with mono that cost him the first three games of the season.

Position midterm grade: C-

Quick grading note: If I'm grading on a 0-100 scale here, I'd consider 80 (or a B-) to be satisfactory. Check back throughout the bye week on for a new position report card every day.