Photo by Rick Kimball/ISD
Notre Dame Football

Robby Toma: 'They'll live and die for Tommy'

January 16, 2020

Few people have spent more time with Notre Dame offensive coordinator Tommy Rees than former Irish receiver Robby Toma. 

The two played together at Notre Dame, but they also had a close relationship off the field. 

"I was lucky enough to play with Tommy and he also was my roommate," Toma stated at the Polynesian Bowl on Wednesday. "I can step away from being friends and have a non-biased opinion - my time at Notre Dame; you never heard a guy on the team say a bad thing about him. From that standpoint, you know he's a great guy. 

"His work ethic is unmatched. I remember him in the film room a bunch. Any time we needed him, Tommy was there." 

There were many moments where Rees expressed his advanced knowledge on the field, but it was a moment on the practice field Toma immediately remembered. 

"One story sticks out when we were playing," explained Toma. "We were in 7-on-7. Tommy made a throw and Coach (Brian) Kelly got on him. Tommy turned around and said, 'Look at the film.' 

"Kelly didn't back off, but was like 'Ok.' He checked the film and Tommy was right. He has confidence like that and knowledge of the game. He already lived the Notre Dame life as a player and he can pass that on to his players on now. 

"'I think Notre Dame is in a great spot." 

Some will question if Rees is ready for the job, but it's his personality that could take Notre Dame's offense to new heights. 

"Tommy commands respect," Toma stated. "He's a no-nonsense guy. If he believes in what he studies, then you have no choice but to believe him. He'll carry that confidence and it will bleed into his players. They'll play for him. They'll live and die for Tommy." 

There is no question Notre Dame fans have seen players leave it all on the field for defensive coordinator Clark Lea and now, the offense will have a leader they respect. 

An ideal situation for Brian Kelly. 

"Stuff goes on in the locker room, film room, but it's off the field too," said Toma. "Tommy is a guy who cares about his boys. 

"Tommy embodies what you want a coach to be. That's loving, but it's tough love."

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