Everett Golson named ND’s starting quarterback
Posted: 08/23/2012 at 9:20 pm
By: Rachel Terlep
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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)
Notre Dame NCAA college football coach Brian Kelly talks during the teams media day Thursday, Aug. 16, 2012 in South Bend, Ind. (AP Photo/Joe Raymond)
Notre Dame NCAA college football coach Brian Kelly talks during the teams media day Thursday, Aug. 16, 2012 in South Bend, Ind. (AP/Joe Raymond)
Quarterback Everett Golson (5) practices at Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind. on Saturday, Aug 4, 2012. (Truth Photo By Evey Wilson) ¨
Golson told his coach he wanted a helmet visor right off the bat. Kelly said he could have one, but only if he ever became the starting quarterback.
As of Thursday evening, there was a brand new visor on Golson’s helmet.
“For me, it was monumental just to get the visor,” Golson said in his first meeting with the media after being named starter. “I woke up this morning and before class I came over here just hoping to see the visor on the helmet but it wasn’t there so I was a little down today,” Golson said. “I came back in (before practice) and it was just there. I was kind of happy about that.”
Kelly broke the news to Golson on Wednesday. The quarterback said that while he was excited, he knows he has a long road ahead.
“It definitely means a lot, but I know with this comes a lot of responsibility so I’m not going to rejoice in it,” he said. “I’m happy about it, but I also understand it’s a time to go to work right now, so my main focus is on Navy and just going to work.”
He later added: “It doesn’t solidify I’m the starter for the whole season.”
After a quarterback derby that began as soon as time expired in the Champs Sports Bowl, Kelly finally settled on the electric Golson as his starter against Navy on Sept. 1.
What started as a four-man race quickly whittled down to two when incumbent Tommy Rees was arrested in May and suspended for the season opener and freshman Gunner Kiel began to see fewer and fewer substantial reps in pre-season camp.
Golson and Andrew Hendrix seemed neck-and-neck at the beginning of the summer, but Golson gradually pulled away throughout August.
“A lot of practice, lots of film, lots of evaluation,” Kelly said of the decision-making process. “(Golson) won the job. Andrew did a great job, made great improvement, really pleased with the progress of both of those young men. It was tough decision, but Everett clearly won the starting job.”
Kelly said he has been impressed with Golson’s increased confidence throughout camp, complimenting his poise and vision down the field.
“We would have not named him the starter unless we felt that this was the next step towards moving our program,” Kelly said.
As a reminder, it was about a year ago that Kelly put an end to another quarterback dilemma by announcing Dayne Crist as the starter against South Florida. Crist was yanked after the first half and replaced by Rees.
But Kelly may be a little more patient with Golson, who red-shirted as a freshman.
“I think we prepared the offense to suit a first-time starter,” Kelly said of Golson. “He’s got four seasons of competition remaining. Any time you start someone with four seasons of competition remaining, you know he’s going to learn more, he’s going to experience more as he plays, but we also know we have to put him in good positions.”
AT STARTING CORNER...
Freshman KeiVarae Russell will fill in the starting cornerback spot vacated by the injured Lo Wood.
After Wood ruptured his Achilles tendon on Monday, Russell became a front-runner to take the job.
“There’s always a couple of kids that just have it,” Kelly said of Russell. “He’s a great kid. He’s so confident in his ability. He’s extremely athletic. He’s picked it up so quickly.”
Kelly said Russell and fellow starting corner Bennett Jackson would switch sides of the defense depending on the opponent for that week.
AND ON SPECIAL TEAMS...
Kelly named freshman receiver Davonte Neal as the punt returner and sophomore running back George Atkinson III as the kickoff returner.
Atkinson was an obvious choice. The speedy tailback returned 35 kicks for 915 yards and two touchdowns as a freshman.
Neal was chosen as punt returner over Cierre Wood, Theo Riddick and Chris Brown, who had also been seen fielding punts during pre-season camp.