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#pounditWednesday, May 31, 2023

Brady Quinn, other ex-Notre Dame QBs wonder if Brian Kelly held team back

Brian Kelly in a suit

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish came out swinging during Saturday’s Fiesta Bowl, and several former quarterbacks noticed the same thing.

The Fighting Irish offense looked more aggressive than it typically did during the Brian Kelly era. The Irish focused on play action and quick passes, and scored 28 points against a quality Oklahoma State defense.

Most of the kudos went to Notre Dame offensive coordinator Tommy Rees. Some wondered if Kelly’s exit and Marcus Freeman’s promotion had led Rees to be bolder and more creative in his play-calling. The change was so obvious that three former Notre Dame quarterbacks — Brady Quinn, De’Shone Kizer, and Malik Zaire — all said essentially the same thing about what Kelly’s exit meant for Rees.

It is only one game and it remains to be seen if the “freed” Rees actually lasts or if it’s simply a product of one game. That said, Rees is already regarded as a quality coordinator, which is part of why Notre Dame fought so hard to keep him from following Kelly to LSU. That paid off in the first half of Saturday’s game.

Photo: Sep 28, 2019; South Bend, IN, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Brian Kelly waves to fans as he enters Notre Dame Stadium before the game against the Virginia Cavaliers. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports


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