NOTRE DAME — Everett Golson didn’t feel an excited rush of accomplishment this time around.
Instead, when head coach Brian Kelly announced Golson as Notre Dame’s starting quarterback Wednesday, Aug. 13, Golson felt more weight on his shoulders than when he was named starter in 2012.
There won’t be any new helmet visors or celebratory pats on the back. Now it’s just back to work.
“I think it’s a heightened sense of responsibility on my part now that everything is set for Week 1,” Golson said shortly after the announcement. “It’s my job to get these guys right. I understand the job and the task at hand and what I have to do next.”
Unlike in 2012, he has a more pronounced role on the team. Kelly himself downplayed Golson’s leadership in 2012, saying the then-redshirt freshmen “rode the bus to the national championship.”
Now that the quarterback competition with redshirt freshman Malik Zaire is decided, Golson’s place on the offense is undisputed.
“This is my team and I’m responsible for the actions and performance of our team,” Golson said. "I think in 2012 we had guys — Zack Martin, Manti (Te’o). It was hard for me to crack into that top level being that I was young and it was my first time around. Two years later it’s completely different. It’s a 180 in that respect.”
Kelly said the decision came after evaluating Golson since his return to the team in January. Golson is 10-1 as a starter for the Irish and helped Notre Dame to a BCS National Championship game appearance in 2012.
While he was away from Notre Dame during his academic suspension, Golson trained under quarterback guru George Whitfield. When he returned to campus, Golson studied under new Irish quarterbacks coach Matt LeFluer.
“Winter workouts, how he handled himself with the team, our workouts, his spring practice and then his leadership in the summer and then camp here – I think he’s put himself in a position to get that opportunity to be our starter against Rice,” Kelly said. “Everett will be our starter.”
Kelly does not envision a dual-quarterback system during the 2014 season. Golson will play unless he is injured.
“Everett is the starter for Rice, and we hope he’s the starter for the entire year,” Kelly said. “But we're all in this in a merit-based situation. We have to win, and Everett knows that.”
Kelly said he talked to Zaire about the decision before speaking to Goslon.
“I got the right answer from Malik,“ Kelly said. ”He wasn't happy. If he gave me a hug, I'd be very disappointed. So he went out and practiced well and he wants to be the starter here. He’s going to keep working to be the starter.”
The Aug. 30 opener against Rice will mark Golson’s first college football game since the 42-14 loss to Alabama in the 2012 BCS National Championship.
Golson completed 187 passes (58.8 completion percentage) for 2,405 yards and 12 touchdowns and rushed for 298 yards and six touchdowns in his first season.