Sep 11, 2021; Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban at Bryant-Denny Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports
The Alabama Crimson Tide have their new offensive coordinator.
According to multiple reports, Notre Dame offensive coordinator Tommy Rees has accepted the same job at Alabama. The two sides had agreed a deal already as well, though terms were not available immediately.
Source: Alabama and Tommy Rees have agreed to a deal to make Rees the Crimson Tide’s next offensive coordinator.
The 30-year-old Rees had spent the past six seasons at Notre Dame, the last three as OC.
Rees had emerged as Alabama’s No. 1 target earlier in the week, and a deal looked inevitable. He will replace Bill O’Brien, who returned to the NFL as offensive coordinator for the New England Patriots.
The 30-year-old Rees, a former Notre Dame quarterback, served as the offensive coordinator for the Fighting Irish for the past three seasons. The school valued him highly enough that it was considered a big deal when he turned down the chance to follow Brian Kelly to LSU last offseason.
Alabama coach Nick Saban looks on. Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
The Alabama Crimson Tide appear to be zeroing in on one particular candidate for their vacant offensive coordinator position.
Alabama is focused on reaching a deal with Notre Dame offensive coordinator Tommy Rees and will host him on campus Thursday, according to Chris Low of ESPN. Rees has already had preliminary discussions with coach Nick Saban and Alabama, and is regarded as the school’s top choice.
Notre Dame offensive coordinator Tommy Rees has emerged as the top target for @AlabamaFTBL’s OC job. Rees has had discussions with Nick Saban and is scheduled to be on campus Thursday, sources tell ESPN. Saban is looking to replace Bill O’Brien, who left for the Patriots’ OC job.
Rees has strong ties to Notre Dame, having played there before joining the coaching staff in 2017. For him to even consider leaving shows just what a unique opportunity the Crimson Tide provide.
Rees has been highly-rated as an offensive coordinator, and it was regarded as a big win for the Fighting Irish when he did not follow Brian Kelly to LSU just over a year ago. Ultimately, the Alabama job may prove too tough for the 30-year-old to turn down, even for a Notre Dame lifer.
Few coaches go through the roller coaster of emotions during a game quite like Tommy Rees.
Rees went viral on Friday for his reaction to a pick-six thrown by Notre Dame quarterback Tyler Buchner during the Fighting Irish’s 45-38 win over South Carolina in the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl.
Notre Dame trailed for most of the game and was down 24-10 in the second quarter, but they came back to win the game. They had taken their first lead of the game 38-31 on Logan Diggs’ 39-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
The defense forced a 3-and-out right after that, but then Buchner gave the Gamecocks a huge break. He threw a 100-yard pick-six on first-and-goal from the 7.
Nothing shifts the momentum in a game like a 100 yard pick-six! South Carolina picks off Notre Dame’s Buchner with this interception to help tie the game up 38-38. 😮 pic.twitter.com/8F0uJAP8dL
He probably thought the Fighting Irish were about to go up by two scores until that happened.
Rees also drew attention earlier this season for yelling at a different quarterback amid some struggles (video here). Nobody can question whether Rees cares about how his team is performing, that’s for sure.
“Do your f—ing job. The whole f—ing team is counting on you,” Rees appeared to say.
One can sympathize with Pyne, at least to a degree. He was pressed into duty after Week 1 starter Tyler Buchner suffered a season-ending shoulder injury against Marshall last Saturday. He and the offense struggled mightily again in the first half against Cal, with the quarterback going 7/12 for just 57 yards, though he did throw a touchdown pass.
Rees is a former Notre Dame quarterback himself, so it is not as if he is unaware of the pressure here. Still, after the school made retaining him such a priority, he might come under scrutiny over the lack of results so far in 2022.
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
Rees, 29, has been a coach at Notre Dame since 2017 and their offensive coordinator since last year. He played quarterback for the Fighting Irish from 2010-2013. Notre Dame’s offense has averaged 35.2 points per game this season, good for 21st in the nation.
Photo: March 5, 2020; South Bend, IN, USA; Notre Dame offensive coordinator Tommy Rees walks amongst the players during Notre Dame’s first spring football practice at the Irish Athletics Center. Mandatory Credit: Santiago Flores/South Bend Tribune via USA TODAY NETWORK
Tommy Rees started for Notre Dame at quarterback for the first time all season after Everett Golson was benched for a violation of team rules.
Irish Illustrated reported that “Golson’s team rule violation pertains to attendance at team meetings, or a lack thereof.”
The benching was relatively insignificant as Golson quarterbacked the Irish for the offense’s second series of the game against Miami after Rees led the offense to a three-and-out in their first series.
Golson, a sophomore from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, has been replaced by Rees in two games this season. NRees led the team to victory in the fourth quarter against Purdue, and he came in to the Michigan game in the second quarter to lead the Irish to victory.
The measure of discipline seemed to be nothing more than a reminder to Golson to follow the rules.