Going into the April 21, 2012 Spring Blue Gold for the Notre Dame Irish football team, all eyes were on two quarterbacks. Both Tommy Rees and Andrew Hendrix played their hearts out at the end of the 2011 season in an attempt to stake their claim on the starting position going into 2012. Fans were able to see both perform as expected and even witness incoming freshman Gunner Kiel demonstrate his playing ability. However, one prospect that has been out of sight and out of mind prior to the game is one that is now sure to be talked about as a true contender for the Fighting Irish starting quarterback job.
On Saturday, Everett Golson outplayed all Notre Dame quarterbacks by going 11 for 15 with 120 yards and 2 touchdowns. He was also the only of the four auditioning quarterbacks who did not throw an interception and also tacked on 25 yards rushing on 5 carries. Rees ended the day 7 of 14 for 84 yards, Hendrix 4 of 9 for 51 yards and 1 touchdown, and Kiel 5 of 10 for 57 yards.
As for Brian Kelly, he did not seem as impressed as the fans in the stadium. "Quarterback is an art and a science. He has the art part down. It is the science and consistency he needs. The stats really don't mean anything to me. What I did not like is that he has to get the plays in quicker, he has to recognize the signaling or else we are going to get flags thrown all over the place."
Although the stats don't really mean anything to Kelly, they do to the fans and alumni who are watching Kelly closely going into his third full year as the Notre Dame head football coach. Kelly led the Irish to a respectable 8 and 4 record in 2011; however, an 8 and 4 record historically has not helped any Notre Dame head football coach retain their job for long.
In 2011, Golson spent his entire college career on the Notre Dame practice squad, running plays against the first team defense. He did not spend any time in game action and still has four years of eligibility left under his belt. For Golson, this is his year to make a statement about his ability to be a starting quarterback for a Division I college. If given the opportunity, Golson should be able to outperform the other three quartbacks in the Notre Dame arsenal. After all, he has been in the same situation before.
When Golson was a freshman at Myrtle Beach (S.C.) High School, he took the starting job from the starting senior who already had 2 years and 4,000 yards on the high school record books. Golson's coach at that time, Mickey Wilson, also agrees that Golson is an impact player. In a 2011 article from the South Bend Tribune, Wilson stated that Golson is "just a very dynamic kid, and any time that [the] ball's in his hand, there's a chance for a big play or a score. You've got to put a kid like that on the field."
Golson definitely showed his talents during last Saturday's spring practice. As far as the quarterback competition, the race is just heating up and Golson has been the first of the four potentials to throw fuel on the fire. We should know sometime before August this year if he has done enough to put his stamp as the official starter for the Fighting Irish.
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