News broke this afternoon that Notre Dame offensive coordinator Chip Long is expected to leave the program. According to multiple sources, Long was pulled off the recruiting trail to meet with head coach Brian Kelly. In addition, it is unclear if Long will even coach the Camping World Bowl at the end of December.
Long has been a vital piece to the Fighting Irish’s offensive success since joining Kelly’s staff in 2017.
Fans may be dissatisfied with the programs 32-6 showing over Long’s short tenure, but he does deserve our well wishes. It is statistically still a major accomplishment and will land him into the head coaching carousal.
Next Man Up
No stranger to being the next man up, an emerging name for consideration is current quarterbacks coach, and ex-Irish quarterback Tommy Rees.
Rees, ended his Notre Dame playing career high on the list of greats. Although, he never showed he was NFL caliber, as a player. Instead, Rees focused his talents on coaching. He was able to spend a season as a graduate assistant at Northwestern University in 2015.
The Rees family grew-up in the north suburbs of Chicago, and his father, Bill Rees spent some time as an coordinator of player personnel back in 1976-1977. This was also where his father began his long coaching career. The Wildcats went 10-3 the year Rees was on staff but he left in 2016 to get some NFL experience on the San Diego Chargers staff.
Rees, is also on the radar for offensive coordinator jobs elsewhere, which leads me to believe Kelly would seriously consider promoting his old quarterback.
Both Rees and Long joined the staff in 2017, and have seemed to mesh pretty well around a single quarterback, Ian Book.
Book has received loads of criticism for the losses as well as some inconsistencies and regressions during his development – but Rees can also say he has been a member of the team that has won 84% of the games he has been a coach at Notre Dame.
The further I look into Rees and Book, I find common traits: grit, willingness to prepare and passion.
Despite lacking the natural talent Book possesses, I see that Rees is able to piece together and actually show quarterback development. Something that Kelly has not been able to do himself.
Is He Worth A Shot?
Kelly is on the fringe of bringing some of the most talented recruiting classes in the history of Notre Dame. I hope the Irish will at least consider some help from outside the organization, but Rees deserves a shot.
At 27, he should be able to continue connecting with the current and incoming players. An overlooked, but important trait for successful programs.
I believe Rees will become an offensive coordinator – will it be at Notre Dame? Maybe. We will just have to wait and see. All we know right now is that Chip Long is expected to leave Notre Dame.