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Backup QB job a good fit for Rees at Notre Dame

04/28/2012  Waukegan
Giovanni Navarrete (right) Round Lake Ill. battles Mike Hayden Lake VillIll. 135lbs weight class during Battle Warriors MMA

04/28/2012 Waukegan Giovanni Navarrete (right) of Round Lake, Ill., battles Mike Hayden of Lake Villa, Ill., in the 135lbs weight class during the Battle of the Warriors MMA (mixed martial arts) action at the Lake County Sports Center in Waukegan on Saturday April 28, 2012. Hayden defeated Navarrete. | michael jarecki ~ for Sun-Times Media

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COMING ATTRACTIONS FOR KIDS

One involves doing and one involves watching:

Doing — If you are a skateboarder with game, the annual tournament is Saturday, Aug., 11 at Antioch Skatepark. The cost to compete is $5. See Web site LoLoSkateCo.webs.com.

Watching — If you are a fan of MMA — Mixed Martial Arts — then make a note about Saturday, Aug. 25 on your Iphone. The Battle of the Warriors II show is coming to the Lake County Sports Center (old Oakwood Racquet Club) on the west side of Waukegan.

Tickets range from $20 to $45 and are on sale at (224) 441-8074.

While some of us prefer a boxing ring to the octagon-shaped MMA cage, the reality is that MMA is a sport for the Twitter generation.

Fans of the sport who saw Battle of the Warriors I at the Sports Center say it was solid entertainment, with competent fighting and well worth the price of admission.

We assume that Battle of the Warriors II will be more of the same. Pictured at left is action for the first Battle of the Warriors.

NIU FOOTBALL

AREA GRADS ON ROSTER

No. 86) Jacob Brinlee — Lake Zurich High grad. He was a star running back in high school but is a wideout at NIU. Last year, he attended a prep school after graduating from Lake Zurich in 2010.

11) Rashaan Melvin — Waukegan High grad is a redshirt senior who is the returning starter at cornerback.

9) Anthony Wells — North Chicago grad is a redshirt junior defensive tackle. He’s now 6-5, 275 pounds and could start.

Updated: October 3, 2012 1:59AM



They say dinosaurs have brains the size of an acorn, which is as good an explanation as any for the following:

When one of the gas stations near the entrance to Great America in Gurnee changed the price of a gallon gas on its big sign from $3.47 to $3.85, this dinosaur actually thought that the new real price was going to be $3.58 and that the guy changing the sign simply had transposed the numbers.

As for what else is rattling around in the acorn ...

Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly’s one-game suspension of Lake Forest’s own Tommy Rees was a touch of coaching brilliance.

First, the back-story.

Last summer, star wideout Michael Floyd was suspended from the team for spring practice after his third alcohol-related incident in two years.

But, he was reinstated for the start of preseason practice and then played in all the Irish games last fall.

In a newspaper story during the spring of 2011, Kelly was quoted as saying Floyd would either play in all of Notre Dame’s games that fall or none at all. He said a one- or two-game suspension would not have solved the problem.

Now, we fast-forward to Rees — basically the starting quarterback for the Irish for the last two seasons.

In this new case, it appears that the one-game suspension of the QB WILL solve a problem.

Notre Dame’s QB problem.

What we’ve learned over the last two years is that Tommy Rees can lead the Irish to a winning season and he beat the teams the Irish should beat, but he can’t elevate the offense to beat the elite opponents.

During the spring, Kelly had an open three-man competition for the starting QB job between Rees, backup Andrew Hendrix and redshirt freshman Everett Golson.

That, of course, meant that he was not satisfied with Rees’ level of play because if he was, there’d have been no open competition.

Unfortunately, none of the three emerged and it looked like the trio were going to have to share snaps during practice this month before Kelly finally got to do what he’s want to do all along — anoint the speedy Golson as the starter for the season opener in Ireland on Sept. 1 against Navy.

Now, Rees is out of the way. Golson and Hendrix can prepare for Navy, and after Golson leads the team to a win, he’ll be the starter for the next week’s game against Purdue.

That will give the untested budding star two games of experience before running into the brutal part of the schedule.

If Rees had been in the QB derby this month, it would have slowed Golson’s development, which is something Kelly can’t afford as the team is playing a brutally difficult schedule.

Rees’ lapse in judgement, and his ensuing misdemeanor arrest and guilty plea on the alcohol-related incident gave Kelly an all-important “out.”

As in, Tommy Rees is now out of the QB competition.

Will he ever get back in it?

Look for Golson to start as No. 1, Hendrix to be No. 2 on opening day but eventually get shifted to tight end, with Rees as the competent backup QB.

If Golson, who can run with the ball — the one thing Rees cannot do — gets dinged up, don’t be shocked to see Rees get the backup call.

He is a solid game-manager and will function well as the reserve-in-ready.

Freshman QB Gunner Kiel will sit this year and learn while watching.

Meanwhile, one of the Notre Dame fan Web sites as Vernon Hills High School graduate DaVaris Daniels listed as a second-string wideout.

After a non-eventful freshman season, Daniels got into the wideout rotation during the Irish spring game, but didn’t stand out either as a great prospect or as a bust.

It will be interesting to see where he fits in when the pads come on later this month.

If you’re one of those sports fans who always has one ear tuned in to sport-talk radio ...

According to May ratings via Arbitron that were published online, the sports-talker on 670-AM (WSCR) is crushing the competition on 1000-AM (WMVP).

If that trend continues, don’t be shocked if there are some personnel changes at the losing station ... perhaps in the 9 a.m./1 p.m. time slot as those fast-fading hosts are making the guys down the dial sound interesting.

Though girls-basketball coaching guru Kathie Swanson is now at the wheel at Elk Grove after a tremendous run at Libertyville, she doesn’t have to end her coaching rivalry with Zion-Benton’s Tanya Johnson.

Next Jan. 26, Elk Grove will host Zion-Benton in a non-conference game.

Zion and Libertyville built an intense, good rivalry during the years when Swanson and Johnson were going head-to-head.



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