Notre Dame football: Golson absorbing possibility of starting in Ireland
Posted: 08/08/2012 at 7:46 pm
By: Rachel Terlep
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Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson (5) stands ready to start a drill during practice on Aug. 13, 2011.
Truth Photo By Jennifer Shephard
Quarterback Everett Golson (5) practices at Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind. on Saturday, Aug 4, 2012. (Truth Photo By Evey Wilson)
Quarterbacks Everett Golson (5) and Gunner Kiel (1) practice at Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind. on Saturday, Aug 4, 2012. (Truth Photo By Evey Wilson)
Notre Dame quarterback Everett Goslon (5) pulls up after running through a tire rack during practice Saturday, August 13, 2011. ¬ (Truth Photo By Jennifer Shephard)
He sees himself taking the field at Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, being announced as Notre Dame’s starting quarterback in the season opener Sept. 1.
“Honestly, I had dreams about it, seeing visions of it, just me being out there, the crowd and everything,” Golson said. “But I think that’s what motivates me to keep going, keep driving and learn as much as I can.”
If the first five days of pre-season practice are indicative of anything, Golson has a very realistic shot at making that dream a reality.
Though head coach Brian Kelly is quick to note that Golson and Andrew Hendrix are “1A and 1B” in the quarterback derby, Golson has taken every first-team snap in the two practices with media in attendance.
As a sophomore who spent his entire freshman season on the bench and fourth on the quarterback depth chart, Golson’s sudden emergence into the spotlight has been overwhelming.
“It’s crazy. I don’t really know,” he said. “I guess it could be a little pressure. You’ve just got to go through it and just deal with it.”
Golson quickly became a fan favorite after an electrifying performance in the spring Blue-Gold scrimmage. Not only did he dominate statistically by finishing 11-15 with 120 yards and two touchdowns, but he was the only quarterback to not turn the ball over.
Kelly downplayed Golson’s performance by saying the quarterback’s sporadic style was heart-attack inducing, that Golson was all art and no science.
Golson hopes his work in the summer and through pre-season practices can put Kelly’s heart at ease.
“One of the biggest things for me, talking to Coach Kelly, he said that I had the art of (being a quarterback) but needed the science,” he said. “So one of the biggest things was getting in the film room, getting my mechanics down.”
The Golson the media saw at practice Wednesday morning was noticeably different than the Golson everyone saw at the spring scrimmage.
He commanded the offense better than Hendrix or Gunner Kiel for most of the day. Instead of defaulting to scrambling out of the pocket for a four- or five-yard keeper, Golson was patient and read the field through each play.
“I just wanted to be more developed in the pocket,” Golson said after practice. “That’s one of the things that I came in, and you kind of saw, that I was a little amateur coming in at the spring ball game. I’m always running around the pocket and relying on my athleticism. But definitely to become a more complete quarterback you have to stay in the pocket and read the defense.”
Golson credits a large part of his maturity to riding the bench behind Dayne Crist, Tommy Rees and Hendrix after coming to Notre Dame chomping at the bit to play as a freshman.
“Coming in, I was so anxious to play coming from a successful high school as we were,” he said. “You’re obviously always thinking that you’re ready to play, you’re ready to go in and battle for the starting position. Unfortunately, it wasn’t that way, so me progressing now, I’ve seen a lot of change. Everything is kind of slowing down to me.”
“Sitting out definitely helped me,” he added. “It kind of made me step back a little bit and realize that maybe I have to mature a little bit more and show the guys that I’m a leader and can be the leader of the team. Last year I wasn’t really ready for that. That’s what going through the scout team procedure was, it just kind of humbled me so that I could get back to what I know how to do.”
Golson’s inexperience is still evident. He threw an interception to defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore on a screen route during an 11-on-11 scrimmage.
A few downs later, he got an earful from Kelly after misreading a signal, then proceeded to fumble the snap.
But he feels confident and mentally prepared to lead the team if called upon.
“One of the main things I look to do is lead,” he said. “You have that science, but it also takes that art of leading. The thing I really want to focus on is my mechanics and that’ll make me a more complete quarterback.”