ND’s Tommy Rees ‘absolutely’ ready to play
By LaMond Pope firstname.lastname@example.org or 713-2691 October 24, 2013 12:00AM
Updated: November 25, 2013 1:25PM
SOUTH BEND — Tommy Rees continues to clear hurdles on the path to Saturday’s game at Air Force.
The senior quarterback, who missed most of the second half of the USC game because of a strained neck, said he’s happy with where he’s at in terms of the recovery process.
When asked if he thought he’d be good to go Saturday, Rees said, “Yes. Absolutely. Yes.”
“I felt good (Tuesday) at practice,” Rees said Wednesday. “… I feel good about playing Saturday.”
Rees left the game after getting sacked by linebacker Lamar Dawson with 9:16 to go in the third quarter. Rees completed 14 of 21 passes for 166 yards and two touchdowns before exiting. The two touchdowns represented all the scoring for the Irish in the 14-10 victory.
“I was extremely frustrated after I came out and was told I couldn’t go back in. It was pretty tough to hear,” Rees said. “You are playing against your rival, USC, you’re at home. Night game, you are playing well. It was a tough hand to be dealt in that position.
“I wanted to be out there more than anything, but the training staff did a great job. I have a lot of respect for what they do and their decisions. It was a tough pill to swallow, but ultimately it was the right decision and ultimately, we won the game.”
Rees didn’t want to divulge details about the injury.
“There were some things that were causes of concern and we worked through those to now,” he said. “I feel comfortable with where I’m at and participating throughout this week and playing this weekend.”
Rees received clearance and practiced Tuesday.
“I felt good out there and I’ll continue to progress throughout the week. I’m really happy with where I’m at,” he said. “… It was good to be back out there with the guys. I feel good right now and I’m going to continue to feel better throughout the week.”
Rees didn’t feel restricted while moving or throwing.
“We did a good job communicating with the coaches and the training staff what I wanted to do and what we needed to accomplish (Tuesday),” Rees said. “It was a good first day and we’ll continue to get more work throughout the week and get ready to play this weekend.”
Rees stressed the importance of practice.
“You have to have reps,” he said. “A lot of it is mental stuff, game plan. But keeping that timing going, keeping that rhythm you have built throughout the year with receivers, tight ends and backs, you need a bunch of work to feel like you are really prepared.”