Rees, Kiel have to wait their turns at Notre Dame


Rees, Kiel have to wait their turns at Notre Dame

MIAMI (AP) Tommy Rees started 16 games at quarterback in his first two seasons at Notre Dame, before being beaten out for the job this season and turning into one of the best relief pitchers in the country.

Gunner Kiel, after some flip-flopping, arrived at Notre Dame early for his freshman season with much fanfare. He was given a shot to win the starting quarterback job, but ended up being just a spectator as the Fighting Irish put together their best season in more than two decades.

If all goes well for the top-ranked Fighting Irish, Rees and Kiel will be watching Everett Golson lead Notre Dame past No. 2 Alabama in the BCS championship Monday night.

Rees and Kiel were probably the two most famous quarterbacks on the Notre Dame roster heading into the season, but now they are both sitting Golson, a redshirt freshman who looks as if he could be keeping the job for a while.

Golson won the starting job after what started as a four-way competition in spring practice with Rees and Kiel that also included Andrew Hendrix.

It hasn't been an easy year for Rees.

He and linebacker Carlo Calabrese were both suspended for the first game of the season after their May 3 arrests outside an off-campus party. Rees pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of illegal alcohol consumption and resisting law enforcement. He was sentenced to 50 hours of community service and 11 months of probation. A monthlong jail term was suspended.

When he returned, it seemed as if coach Brian Kelly might have a quarterback controversy on their hands. In the second game of the season against Purdue, Rees was called on late and guided the Irish to a game-winning field goal.

Rees went back to the bench the next week against Michigan State. Then came off again to play fairly well in relief against Michigan.

He started against Miami - Golson was in hot water with Kelly - but Golson played most of that game. Rees came off the bench again against Stanford and threw the game-winning TD pass, started against BYU when Golson was hurt, and then relieved again for a chunk of the Pittsburgh game. On the season, Rees has thrown for 436 yards with two touchdown passes and two interceptions.

``It's been a long year, there's been a lot of changes made,'' Rees said. ``I support Ev, supported the coaches' decision. There's been moments where it's been tough. But I've definitely learned my role and taken my role and made the most of my opportunities.''

Winning has helped him accept it, though being a mentor to a younger player is not exactly what a junior quarterback who is seventh in school history with 34 touchdown passes signs up for.

``I feel like I've been a good help to Ev in different aspects of his game,'' Rees said. ``Watching him grow. On and off the field it's been pretty rewarding for me because I got to help him every day.''

Kiel, from Columbus, Ind., was one of the most heralded quarterback recruits in the country last year. He had a hard time deciding where he wanted to go to school - to say the least.

First he verbally committed to Indiana. Then he de-committed. Then he verbally committed to LSU. Then at the last moment, he decided to go to Notre Dame.

As far as recruiting news goes, Kiel's indecision was big news and his choosing Notre Dame was considered a huge score for Kelly.

``I think I put more pressure on myself because I overanalyzed a lot of things,'' Kiel said. ``If I could do it all over again I would probably go back and enjoy the recruiting process and enjoy my senior year and enjoy the people around me and just have a fun with it instead of making it seem like a job. And putting so much stress, so much on myself it buried me.

``I wanted to please everyone. I wanted to make everyone happy. I also couldn't make up my mind either. That's why I committed so many places and de-committed to so many places.''

Kiel said that while he wanted to play and wanted to compete for the job, he realized from the start that it was going to be a tough task to accomplish. Even though he hasn't played, he said with a big smile and nothing but sincerity in his voice that it's been a great season.

``Going to the national championship and being on a 12-0 team is definitely something special,'' he said. ``Having an opportunity to be around the guys and travel, just to be a part of the team has been great for me.''

But when a player of Kiel's caliber seemingly gets stuck behind another player, the question of whether he will look to transfer inevitably comes up. He said he hasn't even thought about it, but he also said he's ready to play.

If he were to transfer, he'd have to sit out a year, per NCAA rules, but he'd still have three years of eligibility left.

``Right now I'm enjoying what's going one,'' he said. ``I'm being patient. I'm just waiting for my moment. I'm just waiting for everything to play out.''

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The 2018 salaries of five Redskins become fully guaranteed today

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The 2018 salaries of five Redskins become fully guaranteed today

It may be the 18th of March but today could be like Christmas for five Redskins players.

The Redskins decided to use today, four days after the start of the league year, for some contract triggers. In this case, the triggers are all 2018 salary guarantees (some teams will pay out roster bonuses on trigger dates, but the Redskins rarely use that type of structure).

Here are the players whose have guarantees that kick in today 4 p.m. All data is via Over the Cap.


CB Josh Norman, base salary of $13.5 million becomes fully guaranteed—This was a window for the Redskins to move on from Norman if they were not happy with his performance after two seasons. He is 31 and he had no interceptions last season, leaving some to wonder if the Redskins might think about releasing him. But it never was a consideration.

TE Jordan Reed, $8 million of his $8.25 million salary becomes fully guaranteed—No, I’m not sure why they are leaving that $250,000 out there non-guaranteed. Fans thought that the Redskins might move on from Reed due to his injury issues. But, as with Norman, it never was a consideration.

S D.J. Swearinger, $3 million base salary becomes fully guaranteed—This is a mere technicality, Swearinger wasn’t going anywhere after helping to solidify the safety position.


RB Chris Thompson, $1.996 million base salary becomes fully guaranteed—His rehab is going well and after last year Thompson’s two-year, $7 million contract extension signed last September looks like a good deal for the team.

DE Terrell McClain, $3.25 million base salary becomes fully guaranteed—If the Redskins sign a top free agent D-lineman or draft on early in the draft they could be in a numbers crunch. That new acquisition would be guaranteed a roster spot along with Jonathan Allen, Matt Ioannidis, Stacy McGee, and Anthony Lanier. That makes five and the Redskins kept six last year. Ziggy Hood is a favorite of the coaching staff but he has no guaranteed money left on his contract. That could tip the sixth spot in favor of McClain if he is on the roster at the close of business today. If they release McClain after today, they would take a cap charge of over $2 million. It seems unlikely that anything will happen but it’s something to keep an eye on.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.


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It's hard to tell after three games how the Wizards and Pacers would match up in the playoffs

It's hard to tell after three games how the Wizards and Pacers would match up in the playoffs

The Wizards crossed off an important goal on Saturday night by beating the Indiana Pacers and therefore securing the season series. If the teams tie with the same regular season record, the Wizards will get the higher playoff seed. As of today, that would mean home court advantage in the first round.

Though the Wizards have beaten the Pacers in two of their three matchups this season, we only know so much about how they would match up in the playoffs. The first game between them didn't feature Pacers All-Star Victor Oladipo and John Wall didn't play in any of the three games. The Pacers were without both Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis on Saturday night.

Given the Pacers underwent so much change over the summer, there is no real data to go off of from before this season. They are a completely different team with Oladipo leading the way and Paul George now in Oklahoma City.


There are reasons to believe, however, that the Wizards would fare well against the Pacers over the course of a seven-game series. For one, they figured out how to slow Oladipo and his teammate Bojan Bogdanovic on Saturday night. Both had killed the Wizards in previous matchups.

Oladipo was held to 18 points, over five points below his season average of 23.5. He had four turnovers, shot 7-for-16 (43.7%) and finished a -18 in a game the Pacers lost by seven.

The Wizards had some success with Tomas Satoransky guarding Oladipo. Satoransky is 6-foot-7 with long arms. He was able to recover on several occasions to alter Oladipo's shots.

Satoransky and Bradley Beal also did a good job keeping pace with Oladipo on the fastbreak. The Pacers had only four fastbreak points in the game. Oladipo is especially dangerous in the open court.

“We just made sure that we were aggressive with him and made sure he saw a lot of bodies in the paint," Beal said. "The last game, he got a lot of easy ones in transition. We just made sure that we got back on the shot, loaded to the ball and forced the other guys to attack.”

For Bogdanovic, it was about limiting open shots from the perimeter. Bogdanovic had 11 points, three below his season average and had four turnovers. Beal and Otto Porter stripped Bogdanovic for steals and Marcin Gortat took a charge on one play in the third quarter.


But it was all about taking away the outside shot. Bogdanovic only hit one shot in the first half and it was a three. The only reason he got it off is because Kelly Oubre, Jr. lost his balance backing up. That gave Bogdanovic the window he needed. Otherwise, Oubre helped frustrate the former Wizards small forward. So did Gortat and Ian Mahinmi, who did a good job covering their teammates off screens.

The Pacers are an average offensive team, ranking 16th in points per game and 14th in offensive rating. They are better defensively, ranking ninth-best in opponents points per game and 12th in defensive efficiency.

If the Wizards can limit Oladipo and Bogdanovic, the Pacers' two leading scorers, they should have a good shot at beating the Pacers in the playoffs. Beyond them, the Pacers are thin in the scoring department. Turner only averages 13.6 points and no one else beyond him can consistently make an opposing defense pay for mistakes. Conversely, several Wizards players have given the Pacers major trouble through three games this season.

Gortat, who had 18 points and eight rebounds on Saturday, has averaged 13 points and eight rebounds on 57.7 percent shooting against Indiana. Kelly Oubre, Jr., who had 16 points in 18 minutes, has averaged 15.5 points and is shooting 50 percent from the field.


In addition to those guys, Markieff Morris, Porter, Mike Scott, Mahinmi and Satoransky are all shooting over 50 percent against the Pacers. Satoransky is shooting 71.4 percent through three games.

The Wizards have the pieces to counter what the Pacers do best. Indiana is seventh in three-point percentage, but the Wizards are the best team in basketball in opponents three-point percentage. The Pacers are built around an All-Star guard, but the Wizards have two All-Star guards. The Pacers have a collection of talented wing players, but so do the Wizards.

"Hypothetically, I do like Indiana," Beal said. "I like how we match up with Indiana and I feel like there is a lot of stuff that we can take advantage of. In a lot of categories, I think we can win them."

Add it all up and the Wizards have every reason to feel confident if they see the Pacers in the posteason. Keep that in mind because they very well could meet up in the spring.

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