Notre Dame Football: Why Everett Golson Must Be Starting Quarterback in Week 1

Ian HanfordFeatured ColumnistAugust 13, 2012

Apr. 21, 2012; South Bend, IN, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback Everett Golson (1) throws in the first quarter of the spring game at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-US PRESSWIRE

Brian Kelly's spread attack only fits one quarterback on Notre Dame's roster, and that's sophomore Everett Golson. 

Golson is locked in a head-to-head battle with junior Andrew Hendrix, with the season opener against Navy rapidly approaching. Coach Kelly has mentioned alternating the two players, but this battle must come to a close prior to Week 1's kickoff. 

Quarterback is the only glaring weakness on Notre Dame's current roster, and Golson deserves a chance to remedy that situation.

Could he really be worse?

Hendrix was given one chance at major action last season against Stanford. He completed 46 percent of his passes for 192 yards and also threw one interception. The signal-caller I saw didn't seem to grasp the offense and tried to do too much at times.

One more year of experience could help Hendrix tremendously, but the same could be said for Golson. The only difference is, Golson has no in-game experience up to this point.

That said, he was electric in the Blue-Gold spring game. Golson completed 11-of-15 passes for 120 yards and two touchdowns. His fast-twitch style fits Kelly's spread offense to perfection, and he immediately made an impression on anyone who happened to watch the game.

This isn't surprising to Notre Dame fans. Golson entered South Bend amid considerable hype.

According to Notre Dame's website, Golson was a finalist for South Carolina's Mr. Football in 2010 and, he ranked sixth all-time in national high school history with 151 career touchdown passes as Myrtle Beach High School's quarterback.

He hasn't had a chance to live up to the billing with the Fighting Irish, but there's never been a better chance to give him that opportunity.

Kelly knows what he's going to get from Hendrix. He's only thrown 37 career passes, but he doesn't display the quick read-and-react mentality that the spread offense requires. 

Golson's game is tailor-made for the spread. He's undersized (6'1'', 185 pounds), but his elusiveness neutralizes any issues in that department. He was the quarterback on Notre Dame's scout team last season, according to Notre Dame's website again, and he's already familiar with the nuances of Kelly's system.

Obviously, regular season action is a different animal. But Notre Dame must roll the dice here. Irish fans are buzzing about Golson's potential, and Notre Dame should go down, if it does, using its best possible option.

Notre Dame has enough talent to win nine or 10 games this season, but consistent quarterback play is necessary to that success. Last year, the Irish were plagued by turnovers, and that derailed any hopes the 2011 season held. 

You know the old saying: "If you have two quarterbacks, you have none." That couldn't be truer in this case, and Kelly must make sure his Irish—if they do—go down riding their "best horse." 

He has everything to lose, but at the same time, he is risking nothing. No one knows what to expect from behind center in South Bend this season, but at the least, Golson will provide some necessary excitement.

Golson fits the offense, and this situation, like a glove.