SOUTH BEND — Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson admits to being jittery at the first spring practice last month after being suspended from school last fall for academic impropriety. Returning to the field was a big moment for him.
He was eager to be back with teammates — and eager to try to reclaim the starter’s job he held when he helped guide the Fighting Irish to a 12-0 regular season and a berth in the national championship game. Heading into Saturday’s spring Blue-Gold game, coach Brian Kelly isn’t ready to name a starter. But other than a brash prediction by Malik Zaire, who didn’t play as freshman, that he will be the starter against Rice on Aug. 30, there have been no signs Golson isn’t the leading candidate.
The 6-foot, 200-pound Golson said he spent his time away honing his game.
“I have that mindset that I do want to be great. So it’s not about just getting back into the flow for me. It’s every day to come out you’re going to work to be the best that I can be,” he said.
Kelly said Golson hasn’t graded out that well, but neither has Zaire.
“We graded our quarterbacks the other day and nobody had a 2.0 cumulative,” Kelly said.
Kelly said that’s a good thing, saying the low grades are because they have been going against a defense where new defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder is throwing everything at them. Kelly said some coaches wouldn’t allow a defensive coordinator to use so many wrinkles, but he believes it will help make the Irish quarterbacks better prepared this fall.
“It’s really hard on them. But I’d rather have it be difficult so when I go into that meeting we have great meetings that we can teach off of and learn off of and get better at,” Kelly said.