Everett Golson making transition at Notre Dame

BY foxsports • August 19, 2011

Freshman Everett Golson showed off his considerable skills Friday at the end of a Notre Dame scrimmage that featured reserves and freshmen.

He made a perfect pass, leading the receiver Deion Walker, who made a nice grab for a long gain down the sideline. And then Golson showed off his speed by carrying it in for a touchdown.

Maybe Golson is the quarterback of the future for the Irish in Brian Kelly's spread offense. But this season he's expected to mostly be a spectator as Dayne Crist or Tommy Rees run the offense. Kelly said Friday that he'll announce the starter, either Crist or Rees, on Tuesday.

Golson, who was a standout football and basketball player at Myrtle Beach, S.C., High, enrolled early at Notre Dame and got to participate in spring drills. But he's got a long way to go before he's running the Irish offense for real.

''I feel more comfortable. When I first came in in the spring it was a little bit too much for me, just learning the playbook and trying to ready the defense and everything,'' Golson said. ''It has slowed down a little bit since I gained that knowledge about the playbook.''

Now Golson is trying to master the checkoffs and reads in Kelly's intricate offense while also learning to take care of the football.

Golson and sophomore Andrew Hendrix were part of the quarterback derby when it started in preseason camp, but Crist and Rees with their experience quickly jumped ahead.

''Everett had a couple of flashes today,'' Kelly said, quickly adding that when Golson had an opportunity to loft a ball to a receiver in the end zone, he threw a line drive pass instead and it was intercepted.

''There are great things from both of these kids,'' he said of the two backups. ''We can't put them in there yet because they are not able to take great care of the football. Both of these kids have huge upsides. They're just not ready to do it on a consistent basis.''

At one point this preseason Kelly even mentioned Golson as a potential kick returner. But on Friday he said those duties - both kickoffs and punts - would primarily fall to the speedy Theo Riddick. Bennett Jackson will assist on kickoffs.

Golson's attributes could someday add a different flavor and flair to the offense. At 6-foot, 185 pounds - just about the size of Michigan's Denard Robinson - his mobility is one of his greatest assets.

''You have to set the offense for him,'' Kelly said. ''You saw what we do, we threw it deep, we hit some play action, we moved the pocket a little bit. You set your offense to what he is capable of doing and I think we saw a couple of glimpses of that today.''

As a prep star, Golson was 44-5 as a starter and passed for 11,634 yards and 151 TDs, and was also a basketball point guard on a championship team. He might be donning an Irish uniform and taking orders from basketball coach Mike Brey this winter.

He also plays the piano and drums. How are his musical talents?

''I'm all right. I'm all right,'' he said with a huge laugh.

Golson strongly considered North Carolina and then chose Notre Dame, leaving early to enroll just as Rees did a year ago.

Now he's in an offense he says was similar to one back home. It's still a system that has plenty of differences, too. And he'll hear it from Kelly when he makes a mistake.

''He's just trying to bring the best out of me, so I don't take it as a negative aspect,'' Golson said. ''He knows I want him to keep on me like that. He wants the best out of me, just like I do. That's how that works.''

Reminded that the high school football season kicks off in Indiana this weekend, the18-year-old Golson shook his head.

''Kinda crazy, you know, just thinking one year ago I was in high school and now I'm on the big stage here at Notre Dame,'' he said. ''It (leaving home) wasn't difficult at that time. I weighed out the pros and the cons and basically it came down to how I could benefit myself at the next level.''

Now he must wait and watch and absorb all the information he can with Crist and Rees in command.

'' Right now I'm just accepting my role, just making the best of it. I understand the situation. Obviously Dayne and Tommy are 1-2 and are going to be getting most of the snaps,'' he said. ''I'm learning a lot. I'm progressing.''

Notes: Kelly said Rees and Crist are so close that after looking at a statistical breakdown between the two, the decision became even cloudier, not clearer. He said it could likely come down to some subjective criteria that he didn't want to reveal. ''We're lucky,'' Kelly said. ''I got two really good quarterbacks who are ready to play championship football.'' ... Kelly said backup tight end Jake Golic broke his arm and underwent surgery and will probably be out for six weeks.


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