Notre Dame offensive coordinator Tommy Rees is over-seeing his first quarterback battle, and he has three very talented options to work with. Following Notre Dame's 12th practice of the spring, Rees kicked off his breakdown of the three quarterback battle with some interesting comments about grad transfer quarterback Jack Coan.
The transfer signal-caller has picked things up quickly.
“Him coming in has been a very smooth transition for us," Rees said of his veteran quarterback. "He’s a kid that right away his work ethic, his commitment to the game, the way he handles himself with the players, but with the coaches and the rest of the staff has been outstanding."
Anyone that watched Coan play at Wisconsin knew he was an accurate quarterback that could manage an offense. Coan completed 69.6% of his passes in his one season as a starter with the Badgers. In the decade prior, the only Wisconsin quarterback to best that mark was a guy named Russell Wilson. The next closest quarterback was Scott Tolzien, who completed 64.3% of his throws back in 2009.
What has surprised Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly, and now Rees, has been Coan's arm strength, which was often masked by the conservative Badger offense.
“I’ll say it, he came in and there were some unknowns there," Rees explained. "The first time we had the opportunity to throw together I was extremely impressed. Here’s a guy that can drive the ball to the width of the field, can stretch the field vertically, has accuracy to go with it. When you compare that type of arm strength with elite accuracy that’s usually a pretty good combination."
Coan has also impressed with his ability to stay poised in the pocket, especially playing behind an evolving offensive line.
“The thing that’s shown up over and over is his ability to stay calm in the pocket and see things down field, stay in there, deliver some critical throws, whether it be a third-down situation or an opportunity for a play-action shot," Rees stated. "He’s done a really nice job there."
While Coan has impressed, there are still parts of his game, and his adaptation to the offense, that must continue to improve.
“There’s still steps we want to take with him," the Notre Dame offensive coordinator said. "Anytime you’re transitioning to a new offense there’s some comfort things that you’ve got to get a hold of, there’s some of the small details that we have to iron out, and that’s where our focus is right now, getting those details and the nuances of the offense down.”
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