Rees, Hendrix supportive off field


SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- At some point during Thursday's Champs Sports Bowl, Andrew Hendrix will replace Tommy Rees. It might be for just a few plays, it might be for the rest of the game, but Rees' reaction will likely be the same regardless of the circumstance.

"When I went in versus Stanford, that was really the first time it had been switched," Hendrix said. "And just like I was supportive to him when he comes off the sidelines, I'll say stuff to him, I'll try to get him pumped up -- he could not have been more supportive in the Stanford game. When I went in he said, 'If there's anything you need. Even during a play look over, I'll try to help you out the best I can.'

"And I really felt like that was maybe a defining moment for me in our friendship, is that this guy has my back no matter what."

The sophomore signal-callers are among the best of friends away from the field, a task that is considerably easier when they are not directly competing for playing time. But as Hendrix and Rees face Florida State and audition for next season's starting quarterback spot, the bond between the two has only strengthened.

"Yeah, we put that away," Rees said. "We don't really talk about football when we're not here. We joke around with each other a lot, give each other a hard time, and that's just kind of the relationship we've had. And it's definitely helped us out just kind of bonding and keeping the quarterback room close."

Hendrix befriended Rees, an early enrollee, from the beginning of his Notre Dame career. Last winter -- after Rees assumed starting duties following Dayne Crist's season-ending injury and while Hendrix bided his time during a freshman season relegated to the sideline -- Rees visited Hendrix and his family in Cincinnati. They went to a basketball game at Moeller High School, Hendrix's alma mater, and they visited Rees' sister at her school, Miami University of Ohio.

Rees returned the favor by hosting Hendrix in Lake Forest, Ill., last summer for Independence Day.

"It was fun. It was fun," Hendrix said. "Apparently the Lake Forest parade is something to celebrate. But it was fun. They had this big party on their lawn, so it was cool."

During down time together, the Irish quarterbacks have a less-than typical way of socializing.

"Sometimes we're singing," Hendrix quipped. "He's not very good."

As for Hendrix?

"I'm OK," Hendrix said. "I think I'm good but he says I'm not. He says I sing like a girl. We watch 'Glee' every Tuesday. That's kind of our show."

For now, the two have a much more serious competition taking place on the football field, though this battle is free of trash-talk.

"I think we were kind of forced to do it a little bit," Rees said of their relationship developing. "We had talked before we even got here, and both being the two quarterbacks in the class, and just being together so much within football, we just formed a really strong bond. I consider him one of my closest teammates and it's just something, he's a great guy and something that's kind of turned into a pretty good relationship."