SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- A week ago, Notre Dame offensive coordinator Chuck Martin was asked if he, as a former safeties coach, would respect quarterback Tommy Rees' arm strength.
"Probably not," Martin said.
That's just for now, he clarified -- maybe in six weeks he'll have a more positive answer. He also said it wasn't exactly a secret that Rees doesn't have the kind of arm possessed by Everett Golson, who could heave a game-breaking pass with the flick of a wrist.
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Still, Irish coach Brian Kelly said Tuesday he expects his offense to be able to stretch the field, especially with wide receivers who have big-play potential in DaVaris Daniels, Chris Brown and Corey Robinson.
"We can threaten you over the top, we can push the ball over your head," Kelly said. "If you want to drop down on us, we've got some weapons that can beat you one‑on‑one, and we've got a quarterback that can see that and throw the ball to you. We struggled with doing that at times last year. We won't struggle doing that this year."
While there may appear to be some dissonance here, Kelly wasn't asked about Rees' arm strength -- more his ability to pick out a deep route and hit his target on it.
Having a rocket arm isn't a prerequisite for being a good college quarterback. Just look at, for example, Missouri's Chase Daniel a few years ago, who was a Heisman finalist despite less-than-stellar arm strength.
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The key for Rees goes back to making smart decisions with the football, as has always been the x-factor for the senior. Guys like Daniels, Brown and Robinson have the talent to beat defenses over the top on skinny posts and vertical routes, and while Rees doesn't have a cannon, he does have enough on his throws to get them the ball.
Whether his decision-making is better this time around, though, will determine if Notre Dame's able to stretch the field or not.