Amid the controversy surrounding the four Irish who are under investigation for academic dishonesty, students at Notre Dame are ecstatic over the potential of this year’s team. Last season was full of both great moments and unfortunate disappointments. The Irish finished 9-4 last season with a win in the Pinstripe Bowl against Rutgers all with the very inconsistent Tommy Rees under center. But this season Everett Golson is going to be given back the torch at quarterback. Surprisingly, not all Domers are confident in what Golson brings to the table.
Two sophomores from Notre Dame were able to provide some insight on what they think Golson is going to be able to accomplish this season.
“While I think Golson is an upgrade over the QB play of last season, I feel he is more of a game managing quarterback than game changing quarterback” Zach Heller, sophomore from Knott Hall, said. “But I am excited to see what improvements he made after spending all of last season in California working on his quarterback skills.”
While serving a semester away from Notre Dame for poor academic judgement, Everett was able to train one-on-one with quarterback guru George Whitfield Jr. During his year as the starter for the Irish, Golson compiled 2,405 yards and 12 touchdowns through the air along with 298 yards and six scores on the ground. Although he was at the helm of the offense during Notre Dame’s run to the national championship, Heller doesn’t think Golson can receive much credit for the Irish’s success.
“While I think Golson is a great athlete and a good quarterback, I think he sometimes gets too much credit for the 12-1 season of 2012″ Heller said. “That team was carried not by the offense, but by Manti Te’o and one of the best defenses in the country.”
Another student believes that Golson puts the Irish on the same level as other teams with dual-threat quarterbacks.
“I think either way, Golson or Zaire, you’re going to get a very similar style of offense” Zach Klonsinski, also a sophomore from Knott Hall, said. “Obviously Kelly feels better with Golson, and it was never really a QB battle. It’s nice to have a mobile QB in today’s college game.”
Personally, I think Golson’s mobility brings another element to the offense, which I think is necessary as top defenses are becoming more equipped to handle pure passing offenses. In addition, his training with Whitfield Jr should help him become much more fundamentally sound as a passer on game days to make him a complete dual-threat.
Aside from Everett Golson’s fresh start, both Heller and Klonskinski gave their thoughts on Notre Dame’s investigation on the four players who have been accused for academic dishonesty. Of the four athletes, three of them were set to become starters prior to the investigation.
Davaris Daniels, who was suspended last spring, was projected to be the Irish’s number one receiver; KeiVarae Russell, who is on both the Nagurski and Bednarik award watchlists, was ready to start at cornerback for the third year in a row; and Ishaq Williams, who was supposed to fill in for now Pittsburgh Steeler Stephon Tuitt, is now not going to be able to get his opportunity to start.
“I feel that the academic dishonesty issues have become too widespread among the university” Heller said. “It is frustrating to see so many guys getting in trouble over academics in recent years. However, I do not fault Notre Dame. The players know coming in how excellent of a university they are attending and Notre Dame should not treat them any differently than any other student when it comes to academics. They need to continue to uphold their high standards for all students, athletes included.”
Both Heller and Klonsinski are on the same page with this issue. “Personally, I’m just disappointed in those guys, and proud of the university for taking action” Klonsinski said. “That was the right thing to do. Maybe not for our football season, but in every other way it was the right thing to do, and that’s the most important thing.”
It’s obvious that Notre Dame has no remorse for those who haven’t been honest academically, even if you’re a stud on one of the greatest football programs in the history of college football. Regardless of what happens with the investigation, the Fighting Irish are still going to have to play all 12 games on their schedule.
In about a week, Notre Dame will have a chance to prove that they’re championship material when they play the Rice Owls.