Tommy Rees and Smart Football

Recently, I picked up The Essential Smart Football by Chris Brown of Smart Football fame (which I highly recommend to any football fan). While the book is full of X’s and O’s as well as some game theory, I was struck most notably by his chapter on decision making.

I mostly blame our QB battle for this, specifically the play of Tommy Rees. While I can nitpick poor pre-snap reads or inaccurate throws, my biggest issue with Rees has always been his decision making and finding receivers that are actually open. So many times he would seem locked in to one receiver, throwing into double and triple coverage inexplicably.

Chris Brown dives into this topic using Tom Brady as his example:

Brady drops back and scans his receivers. He gets to one and simply lets the ball go. Brady is asked: “Why did you throw it to that guy?” He replies: “I just felt like he was open.” That’s it? That’s it.

Skunbear roots aside, Tom Brady, is without a doubt in the top tier of NFL QBs. And his big secret? Trusting his gut.

What of coaching though? Doesn’t that account for Brady’s ability to just “know”? Brown continues:

A quarterback might have an idea of where he might throw it, as his rational brain can do some early legwork, but the ultimate decision–during a play–is by the emotional, reactive parts of his brain. The brain, getting some kind of positive feedback, tells the muscles to release the ball. And how could it be otherwise? The decisions happen much too fast for any person to coldly and rationally walk their way through it. The quarterback must simply know…What is particularly scary is that if a guy does not possess this kind of nonrational ability to make such decision, he will kill your team with bad “decisions,” and coaches get fired for not teaching the quarterback how to do something that is unexplainable in words.

A coach can only work on the rational brain. Brain Kelly can spend hours upon hours until he is purple in the face teaching Rees (or any other quarterback for that matter) how to make pre-snap reads or how to recognize certain coverages. However, only so much of this can actually bleed into the nonrational parts of the brain.

I can relate to the nonrational “just feel it” part of sports. I suspect anyone reading this post has similar experiences as well, whether it is from old high school glory days or that one (and only) spectacular shot hit during a golf round.

I’ll never forget catching a line drive come-backer during one game I was pitching. I never even saw the ball after it left the bat. Instead of ducking and covering my head, I swung my glove across my stomach and caught the ball to everyone’s surprise, including my own. I couldn’t explain the play then and I still can’t. I just “knew” the ball would be there.

The managers have their own Bookstore-style tournament every year (full disclosure: I really suck at basketball). During the tourney, I found myself on a fast break (full disclosure: I’m really slow). My angle to the basket was cut off, but I knew I had a teammate trailing me. I never saw him, but had an idea of where he might be. My reaction: a behind-the-back bounce pass that hit him perfectly in the chest and in stride (full disclosure: he missed the layup…I think I surprised him too). I’ve never even tried such a pass in my life, but I “knew” it would work.

At some point, the reactions just have to take over. For the not-so-talented, like myself, it allows for the occasional flash-in-the-pan moment of glory. For a talented athlete, it can allow for them to simply dominate the field. Even for a developing young athlete, one expected to panic and make mistakes, simply incredible “I can’t believe he just did that” moments appear on a fairly regular basis.

When I finished reading that chapter, I started to think about Tommy and his decision making on the field. He doesn’t seem like the QB that makes bad decisions because he believes his talent will let him get away with it. Instead, he seems to be overly meticulous, sticking so closely to the playbook that he will stay on his primary receiver because the play should go there and coverage be damned. Those are two very different worlds.

I actually think that Tommy has a good grasp on the playbook and is able to make the correct pre-snap reads more often than not. However, once the ball is snapped, it is as if all ability to play smart football disappears and that scares me.

Perhaps this is the true genesis of why I feel like Tommy’s time is done at QB. Not so much because of the obvious talent on the roster in Hendrix, Golson, and Kiel, but because it just seems that Tommy doesn’t “know” what he is doing out there.

Or, as Tom Brady might say, I just don’t feel like he has it.

  • WilhelmD

    Great read, Tex. I never put it into that perspective, but it truly makes sense. The toolbox is nearly full for Tommy but the one missing tool decimates his entire ability to go from good to great.

  • Brian

    You just summed up my thoughts on Tommy exactly. ….and I believe coach’s as well. Tommy clearly understands the playbook well and shows great poise under pressure. Unfortunately he seems to lack the gut instinct needed to be a championship caliber quarterback. In addition to his painful tendency to lock-in on receivers, his unwillingness to run with the ball is a major shortcoming. Quarterbacks must be able to improvise and Tommy cannot.
    Enjoyed the read.

  • Brad

    Tex,

    I am a huge fan of Smart Football. I have been debating going out to get the book, as I’ve been a loyal reader of Chris Brown for some time now. Is it mostly a rehash of old articles, or is there enough new material and information to warrant the purchase?

    • NDtex

      You will definitely recognize the chapters as some of his previous postings, but he has expanded on those he repeats. It’s definitely worth the $10.

  • Joe Schulz

    The same kind of thing happens at other positions as well; but the explanation is adrenalin. Players become suddenly stronger, faster. This factor, like the “instinctual” read you reference, if not trained. It exists in the individual probably from birth — a hereditary gift from nature, a tool for survival.

  • Bayou Irish

    In the alleged words of famous actor Vinnie Jones, “I’ve never read a book, but I might give that one a go.” Dammit. There I went and name-dropped again and Matt Damon was just telling me I shouldn’t do that. True story, though. Mel Brooks often tells of working on “The Producers” and asking a question to the Greek actor, Andreas Voutsinas, about talent, or being gay (the context has always been unclear to me). In any event, Voutsinas, who was either talented or gay or both, replied, “or you got it, or you ain’t.” Tommy, I am afraid, is ain’t. I’ve said this is in one or two posts on the site already, but there’s something about Tommy that either deserts him when he’s throwing against an opposing defense versus a practice defense or that he just doesn’t have. And being a practice hero is like being a goat when it matters. Tommy’s good, but he’s not certainly not great and he gives the ball away a stunning number of times. Tommy ain’t got it.

  • Trey

    I dont know that I really buy the “just know” thing. I have a feeling Skunkbear Brady was putting this guy on. He’s had Belichick in his ear his entire career and he’s adopted his mannerisms which is not offering ANY substance in interviews. I would think the reason for Brady’s success is based on trust, skill, and playcalling. He trusts his receivers to execute their routes and their blocks flawlessly, he is skilled enough to know where the defense’s strength is and what he has a chance to exploit, and the plays themselves are set up for his success.

    • NDtex

      There’s no doubt that Brady has a lot going for him, but I really don’t doubt his response of “just knowing.” I’m sure another he could break down things to a highly technical level, but the genesis remains the same: he’s on auto-pilot.

      I don’t think you could throw just any QB into the Patriots offense and have the same success. There is an undoubted intangible quality that some players have that can’t be coached, only enhanced by coaching.

    • Terry

      No offense but if you have never been in a QB’s shoes you really don’t know what you are talking about.

      FYI – I am a Pats fan.

  • Kenneth

    So is it is arm or is it his brain? Tommy was a Soph last year. is he Jimmy Clausen? obviously not. I say just let the Kid Play and trust that B. kelly, has some sort of Idea what he is doing. I dont think he has that upperclassmen/ Starter bias like Weis had, but this season should have a lot of story lines any way with out everyone questioning our players ability to get it done.

    • NDtex

      I’m honestly not sure Kelly, or many other coaches for that matter don’t naturally lean towards upperclassmen at the QB position.

      Just look at last season: Dayne got the initial nod. I think Kelly gambled on him, feeling that he would be better suited to get it done, mostly because of his experience. We now know that for one reason or another, Dayne had similar issues to Tommy in making poor choices and treating the ball like a hot potato.

      And really that was the biggest knock on Crist: the mental aspect that is discussed here. Now we are left to see if Tommy has the same issue or can overcome it.

  • PAK

    I’m reading a book right now called “The Mental Game of Poker” that speaks to this issue. The author, a professional golfer turned sports psychologist who has tailored his practice towards poker players over the last decade, explains things in terms of “levels of competence.” At the base level you have unconscious incompetence. You’re bad and you don’t even know you’re bad. Above that you have conscious incompetence, where you are bad, but at least you understand that you are bad.

    Above that is conscious competence – when you are consciously thinking about a particular skill, you are good at it. Above that is the “holy grail” of learning, unconscious competence. What this means is that you’ve taken a skill and so internalized it that you don’t need to consciously think about it in order to perform it. So when you’re under severe pressure, whether emotional or physical, you still know exactly how to react and you can use your limited attention to concentrate on some other aspect of the situation.

    It’s not that Tom Brady “just knew”. It’s that he has learned his offense to the level of unconscious competence. When the play runs, his mind performs the reads without conscious thought, and he is free to think about things like how to slide in the pocket to avoid a sack. Rees is at the level of conscious competence. All other things being equal, with time to read and watch the play develop, he can do the job. But throw in some wrinkles – a blitz that doesn’t get picked up, an unexpected coverage, a breakdown in the routes – and it all goes to hell and he makes a bad choice that costs us points and games.

    The question is – will Rees ever get there? I don’t know the answer to that. These yearly QB competitions haven’t helped ANY of the QBs get to that level, because the best way to get there is study and repetition, and dividing the snaps 4 ways is not a good way to get anyone a good number of snaps.

    The thing that worries me about Rees is that he’s now had the better part of 2 seasons and he is obviously still not there, given his performance in the spring game.

    • NDtex

      That book sounds fascinating, I’m going to have to pick it up.

      I do agree that coaching and repetition can lead to unconscious reactions, but I also think there is a certain limit to it. I believe someone like Brady has a higher ceiling than others in the NFL in this regard. Looking at ND QBs, even Quinn and Clausen had such a higher ceiling which allowed them to excel once the coaching and repetitions sunk in.

      And like you said, I’m not sure Tommy will ever get there. Perhaps I’m being far too negative and this season he’ll just “let go” and succeed, but based on previous evidence, I’m having a very hard time believing that.

  • http://ndnation.com a68domer

    Another aspect that we armchair QBs and film analysts don’t take into account is the sight line of the QB at field level. He must look thru the narrow “window” of the helmet and over/thru O & D linemen. I was encouraged by the use of the helmet cam last year, but don’t know if it was used to its full potential by the coaches.

  • https://twitter.com/#!/GrantlandX Grantland-X

    You know, I disagree with this. It reminds me of the quote (I forget who said it) “The more I practice, the luckier I get.” Plays that seem “lucky”, such as your behind the back pass or catch of the line drive, are things that you are capable of, but just aren’t conditioned to do all the time because you likely don’t put in the time that college athletes do. The nonrational and instinctual reactions that you are describing are actions that become habits after lots of time and repetition.

    Tom Brady didn’t start out excellent, it took him a lot of playing time and experience to get where he is today. If his coaches and fans gave up on him after one and a half seasons, he would’ve never developed into a stud. Rees is still improving, and fans need to let that growth occur. Not to mention, we already know that Rees is a smarter QB because he chose ND as opposed to Michigan.

    • NDtex

      If Rees is getting “luckier” through all the practices he’s had. I am truly terrified to see him play when he’s unlucky.

    • Brian

      I’m beginning to think Grantland is a personal friend of Tommy’s. There’s no other way to explain some of these ridiculous assertions.
      The quarterback battle should come down to one simple question – who is the best quarterback? Boil away Tommy’s intangibles, forget the learning curve and disregard the growth we’re being promised. Tommy’s got a weak arm, slow legs and the tendency to put the ball places he shouldn’t. If he’s our best quarterback, we’re screwed.

      • Bayou Irish

        I’m beginning to think Grantland-X IS Tommy Rees.

    • Rick

      I disagree. there are athletes that have the ability to see the whole field, the ability to anticipate, to feel the play develop that is natural and built in. The ability to ad lib when things change. This ability is enhanced and fine tuned to a level that raises these athlete to another level. Gretzky, Jordan, Jimmy Brown, Walter Payton, Brady even Eli Manning.
      A combination of skill, determination, work habits and that intangible that separates them from others. these skills are most noticable in pressure situations when all hell is breaking loose and produce those” holly shit did you see that” moments.
      Reese does not have that under pressure. Even Coach Kelly said that during spring ball. When pressure comes or things break down he snaps and becomes lost. He doesn’t have that built in auto pilot to guide him.

    • SDI

      I get what you are saying Grantland. And I agree that you shouldn’t write off young QBs given how many improve as they mature–Quinn and Clausen to name a couple recent examples. But Kelly has to ask 1. Will Rees improve? 2. How fast? 3. How much–enough to beat teams like Oklahoma, Stanford, and USC? For me, the answers are 1. Yes 2. Not fast enough 3. No, he doesn’t have enough arm strength or mobility to beat good/great defenses.

    • GB

      I would have to disagree. By this logic, then I could be just as good as Rees? or even Brady if I practiced enough. It takes both nature and nurture. That is why ND tries to get the best HS athletes.

  • canuck75

    Good comments and great to have something to discuss. An unspoken but logical corollary to this is that I think in many cases potentially good qbs overthink and overanalyse to the point of paralysis by analysis (This is a golf term for the unfamiliar)
    I think Crist fell into this camp, and early in his career, Tommy actually played more by instinct.However, as he learned the playbook cold, he started worrying about more reads etc and lost his instinct.
    Golson will have great natural instincts, but Coach must let him play. Maybe we should rehire Faust to be OC and have just 3 pass plays-the bomb, the crossing route and the out!

  • AJS

    Here’s two interesting statements from the above posts that I think go together:

    “The nonrational and instinctual reactions that you are describing are actions that become habits after lots of time and repetition.” – agree.

    “This factor, like the “instinctual” read you reference, if not trained. It exists in the individual probably from birth — a hereditary gift from nature, a tool for survival.” – agree, even more.

    No matter how hard any of us tried, even if we had the same physical gifts, we couldn’t replicate someone like Tom Brady’s or Larry Bird’s/Magic Johnson’s or Derek Jeter’s success. And those guys aren’t exactly the most “physical” specimens ever to walk the earth. (Though Bird and Magic do possess height.)

    If you want an even greater example, go watch a youth sporting event. (I have three young boys so that’s something I watch and coach regularly.)

    The kids that stand out, to me at least, aren’t the physically dominant ones but the ones that just seem to “know” what to do in situations that they really haven’t even had that many reps at.

    Some kids you could work with over and over and over on the same situation and they’d still be unable to process the information fast enough to make the decision/play.

    It’s borderline eerie, quite honestly.

  • MrBill83

    Practice, practice, practice until you have unconcious competence is exactly right, but some are destined to reach higher levels than others, e.g. Brady, Joe Montana, etc, who have that extra level of instinctive play that comes from practice plus a level of talent or a gift of recognition of what is happening on the field and the ability to make a play. But those are Hall of Famers. Tommy likely never will be, but he apparently knows much more of the playbook than everyone else combined, since his dad has been showing him film since he was a little kid. If the other guys with perhaps more talent could learn the playbook, then we might have a real QB competition. Not sure what the problem is, one of them is pre med and ought to be able to learn the playbook.

  • Mitch

    At this point, I’m surprised how anyone can be a Rees advocate at this point. While he was the right choice over Crist at the time, he really appears to be declining on the (and off) the field. If I were a betting man, I’d bank on Golson or Hendrix starting Week-1 in Ireland.

  • Mitch

    Holy crap, I really should have proof read that before submitting.. Sorry for that, guys :)

  • http://herloyalsons.com IrishDog

    The bottom line is that Rees does not have the arm strength or foot speed to run Kelly’s full offense. Add in that despite his knowledge of the offense, he lacks improvisational skills… running ability, confidence, etc … so defenses are able to game plan against our strengths and force Tommy to try to make plays that he is incapable of making.

    Tommy has the ability to look great and execute in average game situations, but is physically and mentally unable to turn it up a notch to win the big ones. Etched into my memory is his glacial run to the end zone against Stanford. If he can not make that play, he is clearly to slow.

    Personally, I would look like Michael Jordan playing basketball against a bunch of mediocre/average basketball players at the local gym. Against high level competition, I would become a spot up jump shooter hoping to get the ball occasionally and that the guy I was covering wouldn’t get the ball. Tommy was the 64th ranked quarterback in his class and had offers from Bowling Green, Central Michigan and others similar. He was judged by recruiters to be a mid tier at best QB. Against prime time opponents he simply lacks the ability to make the play. We should thank him for his service and the memories and play a QB with a higher ceiling that can take us to the BCS and beyond.

  • d.shultz

    tom brady as jr threw 15td and 12 ints as a senoir he only threw 20tds and 6int. he was in a qb competition with drew henson for god sakes. there was a reason he was a 7th rd draft pick. he wasnt the player he is today in college he had to develop. rees is a winner who is developing theres gonna be growing pains just like with brady

  • https://twitter.com/#!/GrantlandX Grantland-X

    Here’s the thing: everyone here is saying that Rees isn’t like Tom Brady, Joe Montana, Eli Manning…no kidding, not many players are. But there is literally NOTHING guaranteeing that Golson will be any better. He’s fast? Wonderful, so was Demetrius Jones (for the record, I don’t think Everett will be like Jones, I’m just making a point). Ill take a proven player (people who are trying to deny that he is, at the very least, a capable QB, are kidding themselves) over a complete enigma anytime.

    • NDtex

      No, I’m saying he isn’t like Brady Quinn or Jimmy Clausen. Tom Brady just happened to be used in the book.

      You seem to have this assumption that Rees is going to have some magic wand waved over his head that is going to make him so much better simply because he is a junior. That is a horribly false assumption to make. Players can regress, just look at Crist. Carlyle Holiday wasn’t exactly burning the world down as he got older either.

      Youre argument always seems to boil down to a fear of the unknown. You’ve seen Rees win a few games (and some of them, despite himself, see 2010 USC) and therefore, it’s better to stay with the devil you know.

      A team that refuses to adapt out of fear/loyalty/hope that the magic wand works, will be buried. Period. BK wasn’t afraid to do this by benching Crist. I have no earthly idea why you think he is likely to do any less with Rees.

    • http://hls Rick

      What has Reese proven??? He is a ble to beat mediocre teams. Against USC in his first year he was bailed out by a stellar defence and a great running game in the clutch. Take a look at last years Stanford game and the deer in the head lights look on his face when he could not avoid the rush and was manhandled. When was the last time a wide reciever took a pass over 30 or so yards from Tommy without having to break stride. Tommy is who he is a great kid, as a football player, who at best is an average quarterback against weaker NCAA competition. Just look at the decline in his production the second half of the year.

  • Tad ’62

    Everybody’s right! Every theory is correct, and all the competences in the world go into one nice package. However, anyone playing a sport, or working a business, or under great pressure knows well the phrase, “THE GAME (INTERVIEW, TEST) SLOWS DOWN” If this doesn’t happen, all the bad things raise their pointy heads.

  • Nick

    Like Kelly said after the spring game, there’s an art and science to the QB position. As stated above, Tommy clearly has the science down but the art part is much more difficult to teach. That’s why I like the recent QBs the coaches have been chasing, smart guys like Golson and Zaire that have more of the art part mastered prior to entering the college level. Golson may have had a few gaffes here and there during the spring game but I feel like those are correctable. Tommy has a dangerous mix of confidence with minimal art that results in high-risk/high-reward QB play. It’s won a few close games (USC 2010, Pitt 2011) and cost the team a few absolutely winnable games (Michigan 2011, FSU 2011).

  • MrBill83

    Right. Golson is the smart pre med who I would love to see learn the playbook and be able to execute all the plays. If Kelly had a better athlete he felt comfortable could execute his offense, Rees would be on the bench. Yesterday, last month, last year. That hasn’t happened. End of story. We can talk all we want about who we want to see on the field and how bad Tommy did this and that, but Kelly is at practice and knows who can or can’t get through the playbook and guide the offense. Time for these “athletes” to hunker down and get er done.

    • Mitch

      Golson’s a music major. Hendrix is pre-med.

  • http://HerringBoneSports.com HerringBoneSports

    I’ve been kinda pimping this theory, but what does it matter if Tommy knows the right plays to check into if he can’t actually check into a successful QB draw or speed option when the defense demands it?

    Kelly’s playbook is loaded with reads that would call for even a Tony Pike or Gunner Kiel to run the ball or present the threat of running to give the play the highest probability of success. Even if Golson knows only 2/3 of the playbook well, doesn’t he make up for it already because many of those plays give him 1-2 options that Tommy doesn’t have?

    • Nick

      I agree. Kelly’s proven that his system can be run with both pass-first and run-first QBs, but the common denominator was the QB’s ability to run for 3-4 yards when coverage dictated it to keep the linebackers and secondary honest. In my opinion, Tommy hasn’t proven that at all yet and would need to develop that to succeed in Kelly’s system. However, I think given the offensive personnel this year, Tommy could be an effective QB for this year’s team but it would require Kelly to tailor the offense to his style of play much like they did when he came in at the end of 2010 (relying much more on the running backs, high percentage short to medium passes, utilizing more TEs, etc). The question is if Kelly and Chuck Martin really want to do that or if they plan on really establishing the Cinnci brand of offense Kelly made famous. If Rees is starting in Dublin, I would expect to see more of that late 2010 offense. If not, expect to see more of the Cinnci brand hurry-up 4-verts offense.

  • canuck75

    Funny to see a few defences of Tommy still. I was a big Tommy booster, and I stand by my gut instinct that Kelly has scared him into mediocrity, but Now Golson is the man. Tommy will be a great 2nd team qb, but Everett is conducting the orchestra

  • David

    Great write up. A lot of the blame is put on Rees. For the sake of the program, I hope that’s true. What if Kelly coaches them to over analyze. Crist couldn’t handle it, Rees couldn’t, Hendrix appears mistake prone with the little evidence we have. Golsen seems like the most instinctual QB (blue gold game success) but Kelly talks about how he hasn’t “gotten it” yet. Part of me wonders if Kelly’s QB plays scared to mess up (because of ol purple face), hence over analyzing. I’m probably wrong, Kelly has had great QB’s in the past.

  • Tommy supporter

    Why the hell does the big arm and running ability matter joe Montana never had them neither did Tom Brady and how can you complain about his pressure situation play for one he completed over70percent of his passes on 3rd and longer then 7 and on 3rd and less then 7 over 60 percent leading a game winning drive under 5 min in the rain in the coliseum or under 2 minutes what should have been the game winning drive in the big house Rome wasn’t built in a day if you guys know so much about qb s why ain’t you coaches cut him some slack and support him you did for clausen his first 2 years and same as Quinn

    • NDtex

      Holy hell, did periods and other punctuation abuse you as a child?

      I’m pretty much assuming this is a troll, but what the hell: “over 60 percent leading a game winning drive under 5 min in the rain in the coliseum” — you mean that drive that was dominated by the running game? Rees only threw the ball twice (thankfully completed both), and there were five rushes for 62 yards and a TD.

      Oh, and the ND drive before that was one play: a Tommy Rees INT that ended up turning into a USC FG.

      Rees’ line for that entire game: 20-34, 149 yards, 2 TD, 3 INT, 1 Fumble Lost.

      Damn, that kid is AMAZING!

    • http://herloyalsons.com IrishDog

      Are you saying that Tommy Rees is Joe Montana or Tom Brady? Granted neither has a cannon nor amazing running ability, but both had better arms and escapability… Montana was a decent runner until back problems brought that to an end.

      Tommy Rees would be a great quarterback at Central Michigan or Northern Illinois, but does not have the physical or instinctual QB abilities to take it to the next level. Are we also forgetting his decision making in May? This whole discussion could be moot if he is suspended.

      • http://HerringBoneSports.com HerringBoneSports

        I feel as if Tom Brady’s arm is constantly underrated in the sports world. I mean he threw the most TDs in single season NFL history and a heap of them were finely placed bombs to one Randy Moss. He also combines quick reads with power passes to Welker and other Slots in the short game. Tom Brady has a well above average arm, I promise. The Tommy Rees comparison in any way, shape, or form is ludacris. I don’t know what a good Rees comparison is because we may have never seen a player at QB with such a severely limited skill set.

        All this commentary and I genuinely root against the Pats every single game on principle.

  • okerland

    You mean to tell me that Tom Brady’s Gut is a better coach than the great Charlie Weis?

  • http://www.ndnation.com irishize

    Here is a decision-making pop qiuz for Tommy:
    Tommy, if you see a linebacker or cop coming after you, do you curl up into a fetal position or run.
    Decisions, decisions!

  • SanFranIrish

    NDTEX — i sincerely thank you for your comment at 12:33 PM. nothing pleases me more than a rejection of grantland x’s ridiculous tommy rees arguments. bless you.

  • Rb Mat

    interesting analysis. Perhaps reading the book “How we decide” by Jonah Leher might offer some insight as it blends a combination of remarks made here. The primary premise, if I have it right, is the we we are all wired to make decisions that provide a positive emotional reinforcement to the brain. Repetition and teaching can assist in this and to a certain extent there is a certain mindset required to assimilate it. To actual take the rational decision and embed into into the emotional “gut” reaction takes time. Which is why Brady was a marginal college quarterback, but an outstanding professional.

    Its not unreasonable to think that Kelly can teach Rees or any othe other QB’s concepts that lead to the “gut reaction”. I would suggest that all of these players possess this to a certain degree and used it in their HS playing days to get them this far. The seperating factor is not how fast how you can process the the emotional reaction that leads to the action but rather do you have the phyical skill set to set it in motion as quickly as the envioronment you are in requires it. – ie:speed of the college game

    As a former college quarterback I have seen Rees makes some throws that demonstrate to me that at times he gets this. But unfortunately we have all seen the bad throws (okay horrible throws) that make me think the emotionally he thinks he is making the right decision but the skill set can’t pull it off.

    Don’t be lulled into thinking that Golson’s or Hendrix gut reaction and athleticism are simply the answer. I am not convinced that they have had the experience yet that develops that “gut” knowledge that Brady refers to.

    It would be nice to take Rees game experience and blend into one of them. The question is whether Kelly willmake the early commitment to one of these guys that will maximize the time to deveop it going into the season. I am skeptical that he will and won’t be surprise to see a combo platter of Rees and either Hendrix or Golson to start the season that eveloves into one of the latter being te main guy around game 3-4.

    • NDtex

      The Brady example is actually directly referenced from Leher’s book and seems to be the the example that triggered Brown’s writing of this chapter.

      I definitely agree that Hendrix and Golson will not have their gut reactions fined tuned; in fact, Hendrix has already shown examples of this in some of the INTs he has thrown to this point.

      Both though have seemed to have more instances of their guts leading to flashes of brilliance though. I just haven’t seen similar instances from Tommy.

      I have no doubt we are in for a bumpy ride either way, I’d just rather take it with someone else than Rees at this point.

  • ND Fan For 40 years

    Sure, Tommy has been sloppy with the ball at times. But let’s remember, he is a sophomore. Many ND QBs struggled a sophomores and went on to greatness (e.g., Tom Clements, Tony Rice, etc). I also remember Rees coming off the bench in impossible situations and leading the team to victory. Sadly, he probably does not fit in Weis’s system. He would fit in a pro system much better.

  • ND Fan For 40 years

    Sorry, I said “Weis’s system”, I meant Kelly’s system.

  • GB

    I’m going for a different angle here. It takes some ability to get to the college level. However, there are some techniques that I do not think any college coaches use including Kelly. There are techniques to decrease reaction times and increase peripheral vision and eyesight. Coaches in some (especially minor sports) use these types of techniques. Check this out.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_izt5SPELk

    http://www.sportsvisionmagazine.com/training/productreviews.html

  • miked

    One point I did not see is, the O was slimmed down for the spring, go back and watch the spring game and you will see Tammy lock-on and not see the wide open WR’s for a score.
    He could of thrown for at least two easy TD’s. I could not have, just saying…