The Irish backup has accepted his role to mold the younger starter and be ready at a moment's notice.
Notre Dame quarterback Tommy Rees was a full-time starter for the Fighting Irish for most of his sophomore season in 2011. Now in 2012, he's been an integral part in Notre Dame's journey to the BCS national championship game despite being relegated to backup.
Freshman Everett Golson has thrown 82% of all Irish passes this season as the starter, but that doesn't seem to bother Rees. "He's an extremely talented player, and he had some growth but it's been exciting to watch him grow on the field and off the field this year," Rees told CSN Chicago. "It's been a lot of fun working with him."
It isn't as if Rees has had to sit on a bench twiddling his thumbs, though. Rees led a game-winning drive in the season opener against the Purdue Boilermakers and played more than a half against the Michigan Wolverines. He also started in the comeback win against the BYU Cougars when Golson was recovering from a concussion.
Aside from contributing directly on the field, Rees has also played mentor to Golson:
"[Golson would] ask me what I thought he needed to improve on, you know, don’t hold anything back ... I told him the truth all the time, sometimes it wasn’t what he wanted to hear. But any way I could help, and I’ve had a lot of fun working with him." -Tommy Rees
Golson and Rees will face the Alabama Crimson Tide in the BCS National Championship Game on Jan. 7, 2013.