Tommy Rees: Better Than You Think

Tommy Rees is better than you think. Compare Rees’ stats to Brady Quinn’s sophomore year:

completion % 65.60% 54.10%
TD/INT 1.7 1.7
Rating 137.8 125.9

Tommy is throwing up better numbers than Brady did his sophomore year. Yet we still have doubters.

Rees faces a perception problem. (1)He doesn’t look the part. Crist looks the part, was highly recruited, and is a nice guy. (2)He doesn’t fit the system. Hendrix and Golson supposedly fit Kelly’s offense better. (3) He wasn’t highly recruited. Rees was a 3-star recruit with offers from…Miami of Ohio. (4)His upside is limited. (5)He throws too many interceptions.

But, according to the statistics Rees is better than Quinn was at this point in his career. And he’s better than Clausen:

completion % 65.60% 60.90%
TD/INT 1.7 1.5
Rating 137.8 132.5

(1)Throw out looks. This isn’t a beauty contest. And the statistics don’t care how you look.
(2)He may not be as mobile as Hendrix and Golson, but Tommy can read defenses well and according to Kelly he does a great job of checking into plays. Plus, he’s the starter. So he must be running Kelly’s offense better than any other QB on the team.
(3)Rees thrives despite not being as highly recruited. 5-star vs. 3-star. Of course the fans are going to pull for the 5 star.
(4)Here’s the thing about Rees’ upside. He is still improving. Compare the first 4 games of the year with the last 5:

First four games: 7:6 TD:INT ratio. Last 5 games 10:4

(5)Rees’ TD:INT ratio is the same as Quinn’s and better than Clausen’s. Plus, Tommy is getting better(see number 4.) His numbers will look even better at the end of the season.

Finally, regardless of all the other stats. Rees still has the most important statistic going for him: Wins vs. Losses.

Rees is 10-2 as a starter.

As a numbers guy, I am pro-Rees. All the talk of Golsen, Hendrix, and Crist is nice, but Tommy will be the starter until he graduates.

10 Responses to “Tommy Rees: Better Than You Think”

  1. JVH Says:

    Here’s another thing I was thinking. A fan can be either a Kelly detractor OR a Rees detractor. I don’t think they can be both. If you think Rees sucks, then Kelly must be doing a wonderful job with a shitty QB. If you think Kelly sucks, then, holy shit, Rees is doing amazing in a shitty system. Think about it.

  2. Josh Says:

    Are lateral passes and fumbles included in your stats? Rees isn’t getting better. Check out the 99.9 rating against USC. Against elite competition either Tommy Rees or Brian Kelly isn’t good.

  3. Pete Says:

    Isn’t Rees playing with a better offensive line at this point in his career? Also a better running game which should take pressure off the quarterback?

    Not to dog Rees but because of his lack of arm strength and immobility it looks to me like he’s only running 1/3 of the offense.

    Surely Brian Kelly can either get Dane or Andrew ready to run his offense can’t he? After all he won with 6 quarterbacks at Cincinnati.

  4. JVH Says:

    Surely if we wanted to compare QBs stats vs. “elite competition” all their numbers would go down. I don’t know of any quarterback at any level that actually puts up better numbers against elite competition than against the rest of the competition.

  5. John Cooper Says:

    Rees is not even close to Jimmy or Quinn….give it a rest….Rees is as good as he will ever be and thats not very good……

  6. JVH Says:

    Come on, John Cooper. You need to come to the table with something better than that. I just threw down some mad statistics that says Rees is actually better than Quinn and Clausen. Nothing you say disproves that.

    The Tommy bashers need to give it a rest.

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

  7. Yeti Says:

    Since when did we expect Freshmen and Sophomore quarterbacks to not make mistakes and learn how to play at this level? No doubt Reez (couldn’t resist) has a much better defense and running game than Clausen/Quinn which in my mind equates to his label as a “winner”. However, I don’t see any argument for either Clausen/Quinn being better than Rees at the same points in their careers. Don’t we all recall early in their careers… a jacked-up Quinn overthrowing every other pass and Clausen just firing passes as hard as he could without the necessary touch on the ball? I think Rees is making some typical mistakes for a young QB and learning to play better. JVH makes a great point on the recruiting stars. If Rees was a 5* and we had 3*’s behind him, then there would not be so much criticism.

    Now I must digress…
    The best part of all of this is that we now have a true QB PIPELINE! Weis got close by getting Crist in there so soon after Clausen, but Crist’s injuries derailed that fragile train. While it can help the Heisman build-up hype (that award is a farce these days anyway, but that’s a different post), I do not want to see a ND QB start for four years ever again. Kelly is developing solid depth at the QB position which is a major factor in building consistency into a program. On top of all that, having quality QB depth dramatically helps our defense in preparing for games.

  8. John Says:

    Just happened by to the Tommy Rees lovefest and thought I’d throw out a few things.
    1. Rees can make good throws that are within the hashes and within 20 yards of the line of scrimmage.
    2. Rees does not have the arm to throw a good deep ball, especially deep out patterns. He has one completion over 40 yards, and that was a poorly thrown ball that Floyd had to come back for. The one deep out that he completed against a poor MD defense was the best he’s ever thrown, though not that good. What will Rees do when he doesn’t have Michael Floyd to bail him out? Floyd is the only reason that defenses have to defend anything outside of Rees’ comfort zone.
    3. He does not progress well through his reads. He focuses on one receiver and rarely checks down.
    4. He is not mobile. The sacks in the MD game were on him. He was not able to move out of the pocket or escape for some kind of gain. He is not big or strong enough to fend off rushers, and he certainly didn’t make any attempt to throw the ball away.
    5. He too often throws into coverage.
    6. Some of these things can be fixed; however, without arm strength, he cannot extend the field. That allows defenses to cover less of the field. That limits what an offense can do. Not a big deal against Maryland, but it will be against Stanford. All you have to do is look at USC and Pitt.
    Unless we get or develop a better QB, or Rees’ right arm suddenly gets hit with a bolt of lightning, we’re looking at beating up the average to poor teams but never beating the elite teams consistently. In other words, no BCS.

  9. cameron Says:

    I posted this on Inside the Irish:

    Regarding Tommy:

    I have posted his QB rating this year in comparison to Luck’s, Barkley’s, Christian Ponder’s (and someone else) at this stage in their college careers. All right around 140.

    Irish Round Table posted an article about why Tommy is “better than you think,” citing Tommy’s, Clausen’s, and Brady Quinn’s stats as sophomores to show where Tommy is in his development.

    What I, and the author of that article, missed, however, is that not every QB tracks along a linear path of improvement. I decided to take a look at some of the QBs we’ve faced this year and found some interesting stats.

    Tino Sunseri: 137 as a soph, 123 as a junior
    BJ Daniels: 139.5 in 2009, 120.3 the following, 131.3 this year
    Danny O’Brien: 134.5 as Fr, 109.6 as soph
    Kirk Cousins: From soph to senior years: 142.6, 150.7, 146.9

    It’s easy to imagine that experience begets consistent improvement, but all players are different. Physical and psychological differences alter players’ trajectories. We all know Tommy’s low physical ceiling, and there’s something to be said for his poor play against tough opponents.

    Hendrix looked great and earned a start in the bowl game.

  10. JVH Says:


    Right on. I can’t argue with your numbers. Thanks for actually bringing something to the argument other than pure emotion.

    Here’s my thought process right now after the Stanford game. Obviously Rees sucked and Hendrix was a breath of fresh air.

    For some reason since the first game there has been a tremendous amount of hate and negativity surrounding Rees. And for what? Because he beat out All-American Dayne Crist.

    I thought and still think the true ND fans should be more supportive of Rees. If Hendrix is the answer, great. I’m not going to get pissed at Rees. But how pissed will the world become if Rees beats Hendrix for the starting job in 2012?