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Notre Dame Football

Rees details Irish addition of veteran QB Coan

February 3, 2021

Few coaches anywhere know a quarterback room better than Tommy Rees.

Fewer still can assess a room with the singular expertise of not only having played the position but also to be coaching signal-callers at his alma mater.

So Rees examined Notre Dame's quarterbacks room as it moves into preparations for the 2021 season and saw that, sometimes, losing a single player is more than just a single player.

That's been Ian Book for the Fighting Irish; he of multiple Notre Dame records, among the school's all-time winningest players at any position; and Book's gritty resolve, which as Book noted last month to Irish Sports Daily included playing with broken ribs and urinating blood during the 2018 Northwestern game.

Working with the rest of the Irish coaches, Rees helped address Book's inevitable departure by leading Notre Dame's recruiting to land Wisconsin graduate-transfer quarterback Jack Coan.

A former 18-game starter for the Badgers who appeared in 25 games during his Wisconsin career, Coan's presence signaled an immediate two-fold benefit for the Irish: competition now, veteran presence for the future.

“I think it's huge, man,” Rees said of Coan, who won 12 games as Wisconsin's starter. “I think, just having a guy that's played in big games, played in the Rose Bowl, played in the Big 10 Championship, led a team to those situations.

“Having a guy that's been around high-level college football, you look at the room right now and we're young and even younger in terms of the playing experience. The new age of quarterback play where guys are leaving, every year and all of that, you need to add veterans to your room and you need to add the right ones more importantly. And I think we definitely added the right one in Jack.”

In the 6-foot-3-inch Coan, a former lacrosse standout who entertained initiating his collegiate career in that sport at Notre Dame, the Irish get a rugged athlete with a pass-run skill-set not entirely unlike that of Book, though Coan does not possess Book's athleticism nor uncanny elusiveness.

Coan's presence in a room with Drew Pyne, Brendon Clark and 2021 four-star signee Tyler Buchner should be an instant boost for the Irish. Only Clark and Pyne have any collegiate experience; combined, they've thrown just six career passes.

Coan logged 76 rush attempts and 437 passes in his three-year career at Wisconsin.

“We are always in the business of creating competition and making this team better,” Rees said. “We had an opportunity here with the numbers to add a quarterback to our roster. We felt like there was a need for a veteran presence in the room. Obviously, contrary to popular belief, we were spoiled here for the last five years [with Book], and we had an opportunity to add a veteran.

“A guy that could come in and help the younger players, provide some guidance and make our team better. And then also, like I started with, add competition. We'll make the room better. I don't think.”

Added Irish coach Brian Kelly, “I'm really excited about Jack coming in and joining us. A veteran quarterback. Really like his presence already. You can feel his veteran leadership in our program. We're excited about what that brings to our program.”

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