With the Irish getting some scrimmage time in earlier this week, there’s a very good chance Brian Kelly and his staff are getting to know the type of football team that they have on their hands. In the case of Everett Golson, that might be a player that’s advanced leaps and bounds.
While we all tend to focus on the new players breaking in or the back-ups ascending to starting roles, no player should take a bigger step forward than Golson, who enters his first spring practice as the unquestioned starter.
After playing a sneakily impressive second half in a losing effort against Alabama, expect the Irish offense to really evolve behind Golson this season, as the rising junior has an opportunity to put up scary numbers this season, especially as his knowledge base continues to grow.
Let’s take a look at the tape, and continue our habit of over-analysis.
0:08 — That’s Everett Golson taking charge of the huddle. Now he’s just got to get used to being mic’d up at practice. Some nice edit work by Alan and the boys.
0:22 — This looks to be a little ones-versus-ones, eleven-on-eleven. While it’s hard to see if Golson had anything open while just isolating on him — the rising junior still looks mighty athletic. (Speaking of athletic, how about big Louis Nix, now sporting No. 1, giving chase…)
0:35 — You’re certainly not going to marvel at the footwork, but great job checking down by Golson, finding his tight end open in the middle of the field. Troy Niklas (#85) looks as imposing as ever.
0:40 — Even freeze framing it, I can’t tell who made the nifty catch in the end zone. The candidates:
- Alex Welch (#82.) But where’s the knee brace?
- Ben Koyack (#18)
- James Onwualu (#17)
- Joey Brooks (#81)
Anybody have a clue?
0:45 — Nicely blocked and George Atkinson runs hard around the right edge before Matthias Farley cleans him out on the sideline.
0:47 — That’s Alex Welch getting a check down from Golson, then rumbling forward.
0:52 — That’s Jarrett Grace (#59) getting a hand up and knocking down a pass from Andrew Hendrix (#12).
0:56 — Almost too many questions here. That’s TJ Jones (#7) wide open for a big gainer. He’s got KeiVarae Russell (#6) beaten badly, but did he expect safety help? Is it as windy as Golson mentioned in the first frames, and that’s why this pass is severely underthrown? Still — a 30+ yard gain is one the offense will take any day. (Now the defense…)
1:02 — I’m in favor of giving Ben Koyack a fresh start. Last season got off on the wrong foot, and it had to have been hard for Koyack to keep his confidence, getting lost in the shuffle after some early drops.
Here’s Koyack working at slot receiver making a nice catch. Sure, he’s only there because the depth chart needs filling, but Koyack’s not a guy you should give up on yet.
1:07 — Heckuva catch, Danny Smith (#87).
1:12 — Heckuva tackle, Jarrett Grace. (Listen carefully, do you hear Bob Diaco howling at the moon?)
1:18 — Another impressive catch by Smith, who goes up and wins a one-on-one battle down field.
1:21 — Smith doesn’t come down with probably the easiest of the throws we’ve seen, though you’ve got to give some credit to Lo Wood (#23).
1:26 — That’s Cam McDaniel (#33) on the loose. That’s a heckuva job by Ishaq Williams (#11), fighting off the block by Welch and then making a big hit on McDaniel.
1:31 — Tommy Rees (#11) playing pitch and catch with James Onwualu (#17).
1:35 — Brian Kelly, high above his perch. Looks like a pleasant South Bend spring day!
1:44 — Nice play by Lo Wood, dropping the boom on Corey Robinson (#88).
1:49 — Onwualu beats Wood on a well placed fade throw, fighting off Josh Atkinson (#24) and making a tough catch. Good ball placement by Rees, who hasn’t always had that strength.
1:52 — That’s Elijah Shumate (#22) crashing down into the box and making a tackle.
1:58 — Before the musical transition, I have expected Ryan Gosling to show up wearing racing gloves.
2:01 — Now we’re just getting downright artistic. Some great slo-mo looks at the offensive line. Nice kick step by Zack Martin (#70) while Chris Watt (#66) holds up Tony Springman (#69).
2:17 — Not bad, Nick Martin. Big Lou is more than a handful.
2:25 — That spin move won’t beat Zack Martin, Sheldon Day (#91). Not that you should feel badly. Not many beat Martin.
2:30 — Oh boy. Nix turned the younger Martin into a turnstile there…
2:35 — This might be our first isolated look at freshman Steve Elmer (#79) who looks like a GIANT as he blocks Prince Shembo (#55). That’s a big kid.
2:40 — Martin handles Ishaq as well.
2:50 — The left side of the line handles a stunt more than capably.