Notre Dame’s Everett Golson has taken advantage of prep time
BY MARK LAZERUS firstname.lastname@example.org October 7, 2012 8:16PM
Redshirt freshman quarterback Everett Golson is coming off a career game against Miami on Saturday. | Scott Stewart~Sun-Times
Updated: November 9, 2012 6:21AM
Listed officially — perhaps generously — at a flat 6 feet tall, and with a reputation for fleeing the pocket at the first sign of pressure, Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson is used to hearing people doubt him.
And after he threw two early interceptions and looked generally bewildered before getting the hook in the first half against Michigan two weeks ago, plenty of people were talking about Golson and all of his apparent shortcomings. Even coach Brian Kelly talked about how far Golson had to go mentally in terms of managing the game, getting the plays in and making reads at the line of scrimmage.
Golson welcomed all of it.
‘‘I always like people talking,’’ the redshirt freshman said. ‘‘It always charges me up.’’
With all that chatter still ringing in his ears, Golson let his play do the talking Saturday night, putting together the best game of his career in a 41-3 trouncing of Miami at Soldier Field. Golson was 17-for-22 passing for 186 yards with no turnovers. He also broke out the zone-read for the first time and ran for 51 yards on six carries in the first half.
All of this after sitting out the first four plays as punishment for being late to a team meeting Friday.
‘‘He took full responsibility for it, took accountability for it,’’ Kelly said. ‘‘He played very well. I was proud of him.’’
Kelly said Golson had his best week of practice and that having two weeks of preparation for Miami thanks to the bye week made a world of difference in terms of the young quarterback’s understanding and confidence. Golson agreed.
‘‘We went back to the drawing board and just kind of slowed it down,’’ Golson said. ‘‘Being we had this two-week period to prepare for Miami, [Kelly and offensive coordinator Chuck Martin] just clarified everything.’’
Golson only gets one week to prepare for No. 17 Stanford on Saturday. So it’ll be another week of intense work for Golson and the coaching staff.
‘‘I think you’re always concerned when you have a younger quarterback, that he’s going to be able to pick up things a team like Stanford does defensively,’’ Kelly said. ‘‘I will say this: He did some things in the second half that he had not done all year. He recognized pressure, did not run out of the pocket, stayed in there and delivered some balls on time. If that continues to show itself, he’s going to be very difficult to defend.’’
Golson said the biggest difference between the Michigan game and the Miami game wasn’t necessarily the preparation but the mind-set the preparation allowed him to have. Against Michigan, he was dealing with the pressure of a big-time home game under the lights, as well as several exams during the week. Against Miami, he just played ball.
‘‘I put a lot of pressure on myself during the Michigan game,’’ he said. ‘‘Talking to Coach Kelly and Coach Martin, they really just wanted me to calm down and have fun out there.’’
The fun’s just getting started for Notre Dame, which now sits at No. 7 in both polls. ESPN’s ‘‘College GameDay’’ is coming to South Bend to ratchet up the hype even higher for the Stanford game, and a trip to No. 13 Oklahoma looms two weeks later.
Kelly has been talking about ‘‘avoiding the noise’’ all season and says he’ll continue to remind his players to tune it all out. But he much rather would have to avoid the noise than have the noise avoid his team.
‘‘You want to be in that ‘in’ crowd,” Kelly said. ‘‘You don’t want to be on the other side looking in.’’