May 27, 2013, 5:34 PM EST
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.
Dec 17, 2014, 4:24 PM EST
Any new questions? Ones that I’ve avoided? Last minute Christmas ideas? Drop them in the comments below or on Twitter @KeithArnold.
Dec 17, 2014, 12:29 PM EST
Monday UND.com premiered the short film “Blind Faith.” Directed by Notre Dame graduate Greg Kohs, the documentary follows a blind eighth grade boy making his first visit to Notre Dame Stadium.
Dec 16, 2014, 11:40 AM EST
Brian Kelly will play two quarterbacks against LSU, with both senior Everett Golson and sophomore Malik Zaire getting an opportunity to take on the LSU in the Music City Bowl. After a regular season where Golson served as the starter all 12 games with Zaire only seeing significant action against USC in the finale, both will be utilized in the Irish’s offensive game plan.
Dec 15, 2014, 4:52 PM EST
Notre Dame junior offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley walked off the stage Friday night with the team’s Lineman of the Year Award. He’s still uncertain if it’s the last time he’ll take part in the season-ending festivities.
Dec 15, 2014, 3:37 PM EST
This August, a group of people who spend way too much time watching and writing about Notre Dame football got together to put together some preseason rankings on the roster. In doing so, we (I’m definitely included) put in writing what so many of you (especially in the comments) already thought was true: We don’t know what we’re talking about sometimes.
Dec 13, 2014, 12:11 PM EST
Middle linebacker Joe Schmidt was named the 2014 team’s MVP on Saturday night, honored by his teammates with the top award at Notre Dame’s year-end awards show. Hosted by NBC’s Mike Mayock and WNBA star Skylar Diggins, “The Echoes” withstood a building-clearing plumbing issue to hand out 16 awards.
Dec 12, 2014, 10:40 AM EST
Notre Dame’s regular season may be over. The Irish’s recruiting class — one many thought would cap itself around 20 — is already at 21 commits. Get ready for a busy weekend on campus.
Dec 10, 2014, 9:49 PM EST
Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick finds himself in the news on another roller coaster day in college athletics. And while it isn’t about a coaching change (another job opening under Barry Alvarez!) or another critique of the College Football Playoff, Swarbrick found himself speaking openly — and rather candidly — about compensating student-athletes, and the perilous position college athletic departments now find themselves in.
Dec 10, 2014, 12:59 PM EST
Drop your questions below. Or on Twitter @KeithArnold.
Dec 9, 2014, 12:24 PM EST
Notre Dame’s season may have gone down the tube in November, but left tackle Ronnie Stanley’s stock has been sky-rocketing. The third-year junior (Stanley is a sophomore eligibility wise) is finishing up his first season as a left tackle and beginning to garner plenty of looks as a potential first-round draft pick.
Dec 8, 2014, 3:51 PM EST
Throughout spring practice, summer workouts and fall camp, Brian Kelly did everything he could to make us believe a quarterback battle was taking place between Everett Golson and Malik Zaire.
Twelve games and 22 turnovers later, the Irish finally have one.
Dec 8, 2014, 12:27 AM EST
Notre Dame got what it wanted. And if you thought Brian Kelly was looking for an easy matchup to become the first Irish head coach to win eight games or more in each of his first five seasons, think again.
Dec 7, 2014, 7:01 PM EST
Notre Dame will be spending the holidays in Nashville. Sunday afternoon the Irish accepted their first ever bid to the Music City Bowl, where they’ll take on LSU. Les Miles’ football team finished the season 8-4.
Dec 5, 2014, 5:16 PM EST
Recruiting rankings, quarterback controversy, coaching changes and more.
We’ll find out over the weekend where Notre Dame will go bowling. Until then, let’s dig into the mailbag.
Dec 4, 2014, 3:21 PM EST
Notre Dame sophomore wide receiver Corey Robinson was named a first-team Academic All-American on Thursday. He is only the second Irish sophomore ever to be named first-team Academic All-American and the first sophomore since 2008 to be given the honor in the entire country.
Dec 4, 2014, 11:08 AM EST
Year one of Notre Dame’s football affiliation with the ACC may not have gone as hoped. (At least the second half of the season.) But a quick look at the Irish’s postseason options reminds us of the importance of Jack Swarbrick’s handy work, as a 7-5 Notre Dame team is still the belle of the ball.
Dec 4, 2014, 10:25 AM EST
Drop your questions (not manifestos) below. Or on Twitter @KeithArnold.
Dec 3, 2014, 12:08 PM EST
Tristen Hoge is down to his final days as a high schooler. And as he plans to early enroll at Notre Dame, Hoge signed his early enrollment paper work and made that commitment official Tuesday.
Dec 2, 2014, 9:36 PM EST
“What you say you are is your philosophy. What we see on film is your identity.”
Noted philosopher Charlie Weis snatched that quote from the great Bill Parcels, introducing it to Notre Dame fans early in his tenure as head coach. It’s a lesson taught often in football, one that can determine the difference between a good football team and a great one. It’s also a lesson that applies to Brian Kelly’s 2014 squad.
Dec 1, 2014, 11:41 AM EST
Upon second review, Notre Dame’s 49-14 defeat against rival USC looks just as bad. Early missed opportunity. Another injury plague. And a game that looked decided by the end of the first quarter.