NOTRE DAME — Everett Golson doesn’t read sheet music.
The talented pianist said he’d rather play by ear, from improvisation.
That’s nice, offensive coordinator Chuck Martin countered, but that improvisation doesn’t have as much of a place in the Notre Dame offense.
“That’s how he used to play football,” Martin said of the Irish quarterback. “I watched his high school tapes. If he read (the play) right, it was awesome. If he didn’t read it right, he’d use his feet, buy enough time to re-read it or just take off running. Well here it’s a different deal. You have a different caliber of athlete.”
Martin likened Golson’s fast-pace style to a pickup game on the school playground.
“That’s what I like to tell him about every five minutes: ‘That’s recess, that’s what you do at recess,’” Martin said. “The teacher isn’t going to come out and yell at you if you make the wrong read, but recess gets us beat.”
That same sporadic, scrambling style was on display during the Blue/Gold scrimmage, which earned Golson praise from fans but a wary word of caution from head coach Brian Kelly.
Kelly called Golson “exciting and electric,” but also heart attack-inducing.
But a funny thing happened during pre-season camp. That exiting, electric player learned to stay in the pocket and he earned his coach’s trust.
He’s now officially off the heart-attack list.
Kelly shared a telling insight on Golson during the Media Day press conference Thursday.
“We’ve had 126 throwing opportunities for Everett. He’s had one interception,” Kelly said. “You build trust. You don’t just give it, you build trust.”
One pick out of 126 passes? Even with that no-hit red jersey on and against his own defense, that’s an impressive statistic.
“I think I’m throwing more accurately,” Golson said. “(The quarterbacks) are just smarter. Coach Martin does a great job clarifying where we are, where the ball goes.”
As for building trust, Golson said that builds with consistency.
“If he sees that consistency, he trusts me,” Golson said of Kelly.
These past four months had to have been a blur for the sophomore.
Everyone with access to a keyboard has held the Souths Carolina native under a microscope, dissected him, weighed in on his pros and cons before he’s even taken a snap in a college football game.
We’ve learned that he doesn’t like to grip the football by the lace — “I always just did it like that,” he said — that he looks to pros like Drew Brees and Russell Wilson for inspiration.
We learned at an impromptu performance in Orlando last December that Golson is a hecukva piano player.
“Music is definitely my outlet,” he said. “Whenever I’m going through something, I’ll kinda just sit on the keys and just play a bit.”
He’s been known to stop by the band room on the way to the Gug and play the piano to relax. He’s even gotten to know a few music professors along the way.
Kelly is set to hone in on a starting quarterback as early as Monday next week.
From what the media has seen in practice, Golson has shown every sign of being the one Kelly names.
If that’s the case, let’s hope he can pack an electric keyboard on the plane to Ireland.