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With the dust settled, Irish already moving on

May 27, 2013, 5:34 PM EDT

Brian Kelly, Everett Golson AP

In the span of one holiday weekend, the trajectory of Notre Dame’s football program has been irrevocably changed.

That’s not hyperbole. Coming off a twelve-win season and finally solving a quarterback conundrum that took three seasons to sort, Brian Kelly turned down an opportunity to jump to the NFL, presumably because he saw the bright future ahead of him in South Bend.

That all looks much different thanks to Everett Golson’s “poor academic judgment.”

Fans and media can spend the next few months discussing what Golson’s exile means. They can kick dirt on Golson for a variety of reasons — namely wasting the best academic support system in college sports while letting down the teammates and coaches that supported him through last year’s miracle season. But before anyone gets too high and mighty, it bears mentioning that Golson isn’t the only college kid to get wandering eyes during a final exam. And for those that have enjoyed kicking dirt on Notre Dame the past few years, not too many football programs put their starting quarterback on ice for a season because of an honor code violation.

All of this is fodder for the water cooler for the next 100 days, giving this offseason another talking point after a regular season that was just too tidy to believe. But don’t expect to hear much from Kelly. Privacy rules or not, the Irish head coach and his staff have already moved on.

Any tears shed by the staff dried up long before the public revelation of Golson’s fate. No doubt this one hurt. No doubt it’ll limit an offense that was finally coming into the image of its creator. But if you expected this setback to stop Kelly and his coaching staff, you haven’t been paying attention the past few years.

While some Irish fans will revert to the doomsday proclamations and star-crossed concerns of years past, there is no intergalactic conspiracy. This isn’t the first time a Notre Dame student-athlete has been tripped up by the academic challenges the school presents. And it certainly won’t be the last.

A twelve-win regular season didn’t save Irish fans from reawakening their ghosts. But in his three seasons in South Bend, Kelly has proved that there’s no rearview mirror for this program. That’s why Gunner Kiel was never an option to return. That’s why this team didn’t flinch when Aaron Lynch quit or Davonte Neal went home. All spring Kelly talked about this football team finding its identity. After last year’s team was fueled by self-belief, the doubt now being cast on a team that still has plenty of potential could be galvanizing.

Make no mistake, this one stings. But players go down. And while it’ll be hard to look at the 2013 season and not wonder about what could have been, “Next Man In” doesn’t just cover shoulder injuries and graduation.

  1. gtizzo - May 28, 2013 at 9:55 AM

    Well Keith,

    I think you mentioned this the season before last. Maybe it was after the South Florida game. 9 seasons as a head coach and Kelly has had 8 different starting QB’s. The only repeat was Crist and well we saw how long that lasted. Golson would have been the second…but he is out. Aside from the known issues with Rees (turnovers, not accurate, etc) he doesn’t have a real crutch this time. He had Mike Floyd and Eifert when he started now he has…anyone…anyone. I think that worries me more than anything else. I would give the read option with Hendrix at the helm a real shot at least against Temple. Teams have all kinds of film on Tommy. Tommy coming out of the “bull pen” seemed to work for him last season, why not do it again? Both QB’s have accuracy issues, why not put the better athlete at the helm and let him run? Just a thought.

    • 808raiderinparadise - May 28, 2013 at 3:30 PM

      Well my fellow ND fans, everyone has lost it in here, sorry … Golson’s loss is HUUUUUGE, everyone trying to say its ok, Kelly always has different QB’s, blah blah blah ….

      This is seriously disturbing …. if this was Alabama or LSU kid would be still playing, we all know it.

      But its ND, now the offense has terrible options in Rees, Hendrix (not a passer) and Malik who is squeky clean and young ….

      This is a ND program that just last year finally got back to winning and Golson was a huge part of that …. ND lost lots of key guys to NFL (shouldn’t have to name them) …

      Get ready for purple-faced Kelly again ….. He will be back …..

      My vote … Malik Zaire …… best chance to win and still have a vertical passing game

      • gtizzo - May 28, 2013 at 10:09 PM

        “My vote … Malik Zaire …… best chance to win and still have a vertical passing game”

        Throw the ball to who? Also a passing game plays into the hand of a few key opponents. Michigan had a top 5 secondary last season. Michigan State is going to have a solid secondary. What Alabama and LSU would do makes zero difference. The fact you even mention it is stupid. Notre Dame isn’t going to give up on it’s principles to win football games it isn’t who they are. You want to be that ND fan, then be prepared to wait a very, very long time. Your comment may have carried more water if ND hadn’t just come off a 12-0 regular season. Plus the NCAA is raising eligibility requirements anyway. Should BK go with Hendrix he is in the same situation as last season. He has an unproven QB who is going to have some growing pains. Run the ball but go up tempo, Chip Kelly did it to perfection at Oregon. Given we don’t have the freakish speed guy, but we have GAIII. ND can’t run it at the break neck speed Oregon does but they can go up tempo. BK has adjusted who he as a coach the past 3 season, this adjustment wouldn’t be that hard to make. Do you ever listen to player interviews? I listened to an interview done on ESPN with Dee Milliner. The kid could barely speak in complete sentences.

  2. 4horsemenrideagain - May 28, 2013 at 10:08 AM

    Two weeks ago I was complaining about having nothing to talk about. Now here we are. All in all, I wish we still had nothing to talk about (No Vanderdoes, No EG, No “will Kiel return?”), but again, here we are.

    All those of you who jumped at the chance to put $50 down on ND to win the NCG two weeks ago when the odds were 28:1 are kicking yourselves, now that vegas is going to be giving 100:1 odds at least. I don’t bet, but $50 at 100:1 is not bad for a day’s work…

    Let me put a shiny face on all of this. Jarrett Grace will be the biggest, most pleasant surprise of this season. He is going to make wearing #59 cool again.

    If the Baltimore Ravens could win a superbowl with Trent Dilfer at qb, ND can win 10 games with Rees, Hendrix and Zaire.

  3. fnc111 - May 28, 2013 at 10:54 AM

    Why are ND people pouting about an average QB? We all knew, including Kelly, that this kid was struggling with the academics at Notre Dame. This is not a shock at all to me. He almost flunked out his freshmen year. He wasn’t allowed to play for Brey because of his academic issues early on.

    Where was Kelly and the academic support staff for EG if he was such a star? No tutoring? Couldn’t put some of these guys in rooms by themselves when taking tests?

    Does Kelly know the definition of RKG anymore? It’s time to rebuild with a classy coach after CBK takes the Detroit Lions job next January.

  4. don74 - May 28, 2013 at 11:30 AM

    I glad Louis Nix, #1 on the field and #1 in our hearts, took some reps at QB this spring. Next man in!

  5. 1historian - May 28, 2013 at 12:25 PM

    No matter who starts @qb it will be fun to watch play out and then come here and gab about it.

    How about Luke Massa? He’s buried at wide receiver but he was originally recruited as a QB.

    BTW – we’re under 100 until the season starts

  6. irishfootball55 - May 28, 2013 at 1:54 PM

    Defense wins championships and ND has much more talent on defense heading into the 2013 season. D- Line is top 3 in the country led by the Nasty-Dog Louis Nix and Stephon Tuitt. Linebackers Carlo Calabrese, Dan Fox along with highly recruited Jaylon Smith and Jarret Grace has depth and skill. Most importantly is the improvement in the secondary. Max Redfield, Kavari Russell, Lo Woods, Austin Collinsworth just to name a few will have much more depth and will not be the soft spot of this tremendous unit. We will miss Everett Golson, no doubt. You can bet right now that Malik Zaire is working twice as hard to learn the spread offense. Malik has a similar skill set as Everett and may have a stronger arm. Will there be mistakes, yes and that’s where Tommy Rees will be utilized. Tommy can settle a game down while also working with Malik in camp. What Rees lacks in natural god given talent he makes up for with his knowledge of the game. The running backs are a gifted group led by incoming freshmen Greg Bryant and Terean Folson. Add into the mix Will Mahone, Amir Carlisle, Josh Atkinson and Cam McDaniel and there is a running game that Everett did not have. Irish fans it’s not all bad thanks to the depth Brian Kelly has brought into the program. This upcoming season will not be a wash. Next man in, Rise up 2013.

  7. pacific123ocean - May 28, 2013 at 3:01 PM

    The headline is not true. ND has not moved on, and I say that because they refuse to release EV from his LOI. Right or wrong, it shows that they have not moved on from EV. If they had actually moved on, they would just let him go and live by the mantra “next man up”.

    • NotreDan - May 28, 2013 at 3:04 PM

      wrong article dingleberry, I mean EV’s uncle.

    • 1historian - May 28, 2013 at 3:13 PM

      All I have heard or seen so far is rumors. I have NOT seen an article in which it is reported that EV has formally asked to be released from his LOI.

  8. irishdog80 - May 28, 2013 at 4:59 PM

    In light of recent events, his a Keith story from last May that shines a ray of hope:

    http://irish.nbcsports.com/2012/05/14/kelly-may-have-his-perfect-qb-recruit-in-malik-zaire/

  9. padomer - May 28, 2013 at 11:19 PM

    My take on this situation is that the loss of EG is obviously, without a doubt, huge. To speculate what happens next, how the offense will look and who will be the signal caller is a moot point. We’ll see when we see. That said, I have the utmost confidence in our loaded RB stable, and see no reason not to play similar to the same style as last year. In fact, I believe the replacement duo (or trio) will be more electric, dynamic and productive than last years tandem. The sky is not falling out, but a repeat of last year and the pre-season optimism seems less likely. Essentially, we are back to square one, in terms of the exact same uncertainty of last season’s off-season.

    None of this is news.

    What I find most discouraging is the uncertainty surrounding EV. I know it’s beating a dead horse here but we absolutely cannot afford to lose him. It is rare that we have ready-made DL enroll here, and he certainly fits the mold. We hit the jackpot with the ST and AL recruiting class, but seemingly, the DL we tend to sign are projects. EV, in terms of need and priority, might be the jewel of the class. Moreover, we cannot look to the one example of AL leaving and our D looking the best it has of the post-Holtz era. For, make no mistake about it, the loss of AL was huge, and still is. As is Dav Neal and Gunner and whomever else I may be missing. I asked an unbiased fan if he had ever seen anything like this in terms of the off-season we’ve had, namely, players jumping ship. And while many maintain that this happens everywhere, the way it happened here has the potential to be devastating. If LSU loses a former 4star LB who can’t crack the rotation his sophmore year, no big deal, they can restock in the talent, big-bodied rich south. When we lose ready-made DL, who outside the ones we have there is an absolute dearth of big-bodies, the sky can fall down. All in all, if EV does leave, I think it has the potential to be a worse blow than EG leaving for a year (with the possibility of coming back).

    P.S. this is not to say I won’t miss EG this year, for I do believe he was ready for a break-out…even purchased the #5 jersey last year =(

  10. padomer - May 28, 2013 at 11:20 PM

    haha who will be donning the #5 jersey this year?

  11. padomer - May 28, 2013 at 11:25 PM

    I mean, I guess it is somewhat feasible that MZ plays, and plays the same role as EG last year…vanilla until he learns more and gets more comfortable. I have no problem with that I guess. Perhaps even incorporate more option runs and such. That could be interesting, but daunting to learn in the timeframe we are now working with. Most logical scenario is that it is gunna be the Rees show, and in typical fashion. I foresee low scoring games and gut-wrenching -7 point losses, with some glaring mistake made at some point into the game that will leave us asking “what if” a lotttt this year.

    That said, I am optimistic about the run game, can’t wait for Temple…Go Irish!

    • geauxshawx - Jun 3, 2013 at 1:15 AM

      So we’re all allowing for MZ to grow into QB, but no allowances for Tommy’s growth this past year, and in the Fall?

  12. loadofwash - May 29, 2013 at 12:24 AM

    The Ohio State would like to thank the Irish for being the worst team in BCS championship history. Somehow the voters will forget about that. We are the Irish; ask Manti, he’ll tell you. I mean watch the games; we look as talented as Florida, A&M…. OSU did run the table, maybe the Irish are avg. no way, Lou sats we are great, so that must be true.

  13. almoose - May 29, 2013 at 11:03 AM

    It’s time to get over it and move on. Golson was not Johnny football. He ran but was too small. Apt to get hurt. Kelly has choices and will do well again this year! I think he has built up the defense to perform better. He is moving to what it takes to be a defense like seen in the SEC. This is what wins games and he is on the way! Go Irish!

  14. almoose - May 29, 2013 at 11:05 AM

    Golson’s statement was scripted by his lawyer. Integrity is everything and he lost his. Move on ND and Win as you will!

  15. loadofwashmother - May 29, 2013 at 1:28 PM

    Loadofwash you are grounded please go back to your room and please find a job !

  16. mikes1160 - May 30, 2013 at 9:46 PM

    Listen to your mom Load. And stay away fnc111 – some things never change.

    Great article Keith. Where’s nude?

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