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Irish Insights


Rees to compete for No. 2 QB job; other notes

Notre Dame took care of Navy easily in its season opener, romping its way to a 50-10 win Saturday in Dublin, Ireland.

Now the Irish will prepare for Purdue with another quarterback in the mix.

Tommy Rees, who started 12 games last year, will be available after serving his one-game suspension he received after his May arrest. Linebacker Carlo Calabrese will also return from the suspension he received because of his May arrest.

Rees will not unseat Everett Golson, who completed 12 of 18 passes for 144 yards with a touchdown and an interception against Navy, but he will challenge Andrew Hendrix for the backup spot.

"(Rees) and Andrew will get some work, and we will play it by ear as we go through the week," coach Brian Kelly said during a Sunday teleconference about deciding who will back up Golson in Saturday's home game against the Boilermakers."

Creating turnovers

While the backup quarterback situation could change this week, Kelly would like to see his team continue the positive turnover margin it had against Navy.

Notre Dame's only turnover came when Golson threw late to tight end Tyler Eifert and was picked off in the second quarter. The Irish forced four Navy turnovers, getting one interception and recovering three fumbles.

Defensive end Stephon Tuitt, who is 6-foot-6, 302 pounds, returned one of the fumbles 77 yards for a touchdown that gave Notre Dame a 27-0 lead with just more than 2 minutes left in the first half.

"I think you get what you demand," Kelly said of the positive turnover ratio. "We've demanded it since January, all the times that we got together with the media, we've talked about he emphasis of taking great care of the football.

"Even on the sack, where Everett didn't see it coming, we talked at great lengths about protecting the football. I just think you get what you demand. Our kids are really understanding how important it is to take care of the football. And hopefully, the other team turns it over a couple of times. I think last year, we finished with six fumble recoveries for the entire year. I think we've got three already, so hopefully, we get that working in our favor too."

Happy with linebacker

Kelly also talked about how pleased he was with the play of linebackers Manti Te'o and Ishaq Williams.

Te'o, who is one of four team captains, had his first career interception and fumble recovery against Navy, and he matched cornerback Bennett Jackson with a team-high seven tackles.

Williams, a sophomore, had four tackles with one for a loss.

"We felt like (Te'o) was the leader that he has been, and he continues to exert his own personality on this football team," Kelly said. "It is pretty exciting, not only is he a great player, but he continues to grow as it relates to demands on this team. A lot of people talk about Ray Lewis' demanding about the linebacker corps and defense for the Baltimore Ravens. Manti is taking on that kind of role. He is demanding and making sure his players play at a high level.

"It was certainly (Williams') best game since he has been here at Notre Dame. That comes with the maturity and the opportunity, which both are coming his way now. And he is playing the game the right way. He plays with an energy that you need, and he was definitely somebody we were pleased with after watching the film."

Ernest Jones

Kelly gave an update on the condition of Ernest Jones, the director of player development and engagement for of Notre Dame.

"He had an adverse reaction to sinus medication, a big dehydrated, and we were very fortunate, we had Dr. (Jim) Moriarity (the university's director of sports medicine) and Dr. (Christopher) Balint and Dr. (Brian) Ratigan," Kelly said. "They were able to give him great care.

"He's resting comfortably and did some test to make sure there were no other issues. They are talking about releasing him later this afternoon."