Oct 17, 2012, 9:40 PM EDT
As expected, Everett Golson passed the final portion of concussion testing, clearing him to play this Saturday against BYU. Now, the sophomore quarterback needs to make the strides on the field to reward Brian Kelly’s faith in him.
Golson’s first season has been like many other rookie debuts: a work in progress. As the Irish were apt to do when discussing Tommy Rees‘ early appearances, it’s worth noting that Golson’s W-L record is sterling. He’s 5-0 as a starter, with his lone no-decision coming when Golson took over the offense after Rees took the offense’s first three snaps against Miami. But Golson has hardly been winning games for Notre Dame, having been relieved by Rees against Purdue and Michigan, then again after getting his bell rung against Stanford. Golson obviously hasn’t lost any games, but the offense has tagged along with the dominant defense, often times celebrating a victory in spite of the team’s offensive production.
An obligatory look at the stats gives you an idea of where Golson is through his first half-season playing quarterback at Notre Dame.
He’s completed 79 of 135 passes, a 58.5% clip, for 968 yards. He’s thrown four touchdown passes and three interceptions. As elusive as Golson is, he’s still been sacked 10 times. After failing to run for positive yardage through four games, Golson has carried the ball 21 times for a respectable 92 yards against Miami and Stanford. He’s also lost four fumbles, three coming against Stanford.
For the sake of an obvious comparison, through Tommy Rees’ first six games, he completed 100 of 162 passes, a 61.7% clip for 1,106 yards. (A slighty lower per throw average.) He tripled Golson’s touchdown passes, throwing 12, while more than doubling his interceptions with seven. He too was undefeated in those games, coming in as a reliever against Navy and Tulsa, and playing his worst in a rain-soaked victory against USC.
Instead of kicking another hornet’s nest, that’s where the comparison is going to end. Rees and Golson both play the same position, just as your reliable, hand-me-down Volvo and fit-filled Jaguar convertible are both automobiles. Each have their own admirers. When the the temperamental Jag ends up in the shop, you yearn for the days of the ol’ reliable Volvo, safer than a tank. When the Jag flies around you burning rubber, you start thinking that maybe a few extra trips to the garage aren’t so bad as long as you have a chance to feel the wind whip through your hair.
Credit Brian Kelly for show patience this season, especially as the leverage keeps cranking up. Letting Golson work his way through the slumps of Saturday night was admirable, and a decision not many people in Notre Dame Stadium would’ve been able to reach. Perhaps it was his belief in his defense (or his relief QB) but letting Golson work his way through the tough spot could be a launch point for the young quarterback playing another stingy defense.
Kelly talked about seeing progress when not many of us saw it.
“This is just the development of a young quarterback who is taking to coaching and understanding,” Kelly said. “Everett had his best four plays of the game with the last four plays that he was in there. I think probably his best play… he threw a ball out to T.J. that seemed to flutter. He had somebody in his face. He set his feet. He stayed in the pocket. He didn’t try to escape, which he did earlier in the game. So that learning curve is taking place, series by series.
“That throw is something that he’s developed into by being out there. That’s the value and the benefit of him playing this year with four seasons of competition. That’s what I see and those are the things that keep me moving towards seeing the positive things. I know there’s others. He’s got to take care of the football. He’s got to set his feet. He plays sloppy at times but boy, he competed his butt off. I couldn’t be more proud of the guy and the way he competed.”
Kelly stuck with Golson Saturday night, letting the young quarterback fight back from a tough situation. Now it’s up to Golson to reward his coach with more progress, putting together a complete game against the Cougars.
Sep 3, 2015, 6:55 PM EDT
The pieces are in place for Notre Dame’s secondary to be great. Led by returning cornerback KeiVarae Russell and armed with depth at every starting position, first-year position coach Todd Lyght has considerable talent to work with.
Sep 2, 2015, 4:53 PM EDT
When Everett Golson pulled the chute and headed south to Tallahassee, Notre Dame’s quarterback competition quickly cleared up. This is Malik Zaire’s football team.
Sep 2, 2015, 3:27 PM EDT
So who’s calling the plays? That was one of the main questions still unanswered heading into the season’s opening game, and when head coach Brian Kelly was asked about it, he was staying mum.
Sep 2, 2015, 9:30 AM EDT
Game week is finally here. After nearly nine months—spent wondering about transfers, speculating upon returns and predicting what’ll happen come September—we finally get to see a football game.
Sep 1, 2015, 2:23 PM EDT
With a strong recruiting surge, some roster shuffling and some good luck (and hard work) in the health department, Notre Dame’s linebacking corps was rebuilt remarkably quickly. A season after question marks were everywhere, the Irish have a linebacking group that is among the fastest and most athletic we’ve seen in a very long time.
Sep 1, 2015, 12:56 PM EDT
Brian Kelly released his first official depth chart on Tuesday. Let’s take a look at some of moves and surprises heading into the Texas game.
Aug 31, 2015, 4:12 PM EDT
Notre Dame’s wide receiving depth chart features talent at just about every level. Starting with All-American candidate and sophomore record-setter Will Fuller and working down to freshmen like Equanimeous St. Brown and C.J. Sanders, top to bottom this is the most exciting set of playmakers the Irish have had at the position in, maybe—ever?
Aug 31, 2015, 11:37 AM EDT
Let’s get the rest of the mailbag finished off so we can concentrate on game week. (Feels really good to type that sentence.) Thanks again for some great questions.
Aug 30, 2015, 3:34 PM EDT
There are a ton of good questions to get to so this will roll out in multiple parts. Many thanks for the thoughtful work. (And some nice examples of brevity.)
Aug 29, 2015, 3:19 PM EDT
After a long line of starters with plenty of experience, Notre Dame’s tight ends all but start over in 2015. Scott Booker’s position group comes in with all sorts of intriguing traits. Unfortunately, none of those are experience.
Aug 28, 2015, 2:50 PM EDT
Brian Kelly was on the Dan Patrick Show this morning and the Irish head coach got his last weekend without a game started by chatting it up with the popular radio host. While Kelly didn’t make any headlines in the interview, he did conduct it from his desk with a Showtime crew hanging a boom mic over his head, part of life with a documentary film crew following him around.
Aug 28, 2015, 1:04 PM EDT
Just about everybody expects Harry Hiestand’s offensive line to be a dominant unit. But after months of preseason hype, they now need to prove they can do it.
Aug 27, 2015, 8:48 PM EDT
Ishaq Williams’ college football career is over. Notre Dame’s exiled defensive end, who sat out last season as part of a two-semester suspension for his role in the “frozen five” academic dishonesty investigation, has lost his NCAA appeal for reinstatement. Brian Kelly shared the news on Thursday after practice
Aug 27, 2015, 8:25 PM EDT
The votes are in and Notre Dame’s football team will be captained by five players. Graduate students Matthias Farley, Nick Martin and Joe Schmidt will be joined by senior Sheldon Day and junior Jaylon Smith as the captains of the 2015 Irish.
Aug 27, 2015, 12:34 PM EDT
It appears that the Greg Bryant era at Notre Dame is over. The junior running back, who was declared academically ineligible to play for the Irish this fall, has enrolled at ASA Miami, a junior college with a new football program run by former Irish assistant Ernest Jones.
Aug 27, 2015, 9:00 AM EDT
After two seasons of trying to find carries for a handful of emerging running backs, Notre Dame has the opposite problem: Trying to spread out a growing workload among a smaller, highly-differentiated position group.
Aug 26, 2015, 1:56 PM EDT
With the season right around the corner and preseason camp finished, it’s time to get our final preparations done before the games start counting and the journey begins. We spent the summer pumping out tens of thousands of words on Notre Dame’s evolving roster, so if you’re looking for 50 hours of easy reading, check out the Irish A-to-Z series.
Aug 26, 2015, 12:42 PM EDT
Have a final question before we have actual football to talk about? Today’s the day. Drop them below or on Twitter @KeithArnold.
Aug 25, 2015, 5:06 PM EDT
Notre Dame announced a number of enhancements to Notre Dame Stadium on Tuesday. Most notable among them, a video board that’ll go atop the south end zone.
Aug 25, 2015, 12:45 PM EDT
Our final installment of the A-to-Z series is perhaps our most important one. Because Notre Dame’s fate is in the hands of quarterback Malik Zaire.