In the 2011 season Notre Dame went 8-5 and the offense was very in consistent and turned the ball over like it was their job. That was the main focus of Coach Kelly coming into this year, limit turnovers and play better defense. That’s how 12-0 happens, it’s really not that complicated. The offense slowly gained momentum as the season went on and got better each week. Everett Golson is the reason for this progress. He has grown up this year and he is only a (redshirt) freshman. Last year Tommy Reese played in all 13 games, but didn’t have a very good year. In 2011 Reese threw 14 interceptions and Notre Dame had 29 turnovers in all. 2012 is much different with Golson only throwing 5 interceptions and having 14 turnovers all together. Golson has finished the regular season with a 131.79 passer rating, which is 1.58 below Reese’s rating in 2011 (133.37). The one thing Reese did better than Golson was complete a higher percentage of his passes (65.5%), but when you have Michael Floyd it’s a lot easier to do so.
Everett Golson played in 11 games this season (missed BYU) and had a very efficient year. He completed 58.9 percent of his passes, for 2,135 yards 11 touchdowns to 5 interceptions. What Golson really adds to the offense is his ability to create plays when scrambling out of the pocket. Coach Kelly did throw in some designed runs for Everett, but most of his runs were scrambles from the pocket or when he decided to run on a play action rollout. He finished the regular season with 89 rushes for 305 yards, which is 3.43 yards per carry and 5 touchdowns. What many people don’t realize is that sacks go against his rushing yards and add to his rushes on the season. Notre Dame allowed 16 sacks that amounted for 90 yards and most of those sacks were on Golson. These statistics will not blow anyone out of the water, especially when compared to Johnny Manziel. It’s not about the stats, but about how Golson overcame adversity multiple times in his first year as a starter and how he responded. He was under a microscope all season and he performed well enough to win football games.
I wanted to start Everett coming into the season, especially hearing about him performing so well in practice last season. I didn’t always agree with taking a young quarterback out of the game when he was struggling, but Coach Kelly knows what he is doing. When Golson was pulled in those games it looked like his confidence was non-existent, but he worked much harder to improve and as the season went on he finished games. The future is very bright for this quarterback, and he will have the biggest game of his life on the biggest stage on January 7th in Miami. How will he perform? He has to be confident in himself, teammates, coaches, and most of all Notre Dame.