Keith Arnold over at NBC Sports was the first reporter to break the news that Everett Golson would most likely be named the official starter today by head coach Brian Kelly.
I expect Everett Golson to be named Notre Dame's starting quarterback today.— Keith Arnold (@KeithArnoldNBC) August 23, 2012
Brian Hamilton of the Chicago Tribune, another well-respected Fighting Irish reporter, echoed Arnold's sentiments shortly thereafter.
Last week the South Bend Tribune discussed how Golson was getting the bulk of the first-team reps and outperforming his chief competition, Andrew Hendrix, and building trust with the Irish staff. However, according to the Chicago Tribune, Brian Kelly had no interest in making a public announcement, because apparently the thought never really occurred to him:
I have not thought about it in those terms, in terms of making a public announcement about the quarterback position. Because I've never had it in my mind that we were going to get there at a certain time. If it's clear to me that we've got a No. 1 and there's a great separation there, then there's a possibility I could announce it. But I have not thought about it in those terms.
Well, according to Hamilton and Arnold, the writing is on the wall when it comes to officially designating a quarterback, and Golson is the guy.
We've talked about the up-and-down nature of Golson, and many Irish fans have watched with "hungry eyes" as the quarterback slowly emerged as the leader starting this spring. Now, it seems, the masses are going to get what they want: a mobile athlete with a high ceiling, big arm and tons of talent playing the quarterback spot.
First, the bad. Unlike Hendrix or Tommy Rees, Golson is a kid that has not played a down at the collegiate level when things were truly live. Certainly he's sat in meetings and gotten a chance to look at the opposition, but seeing it live when they're coming at you is a game-changer. Both mentally and physically, he'll have to adjust to the speed of the game.
Pre-snap reads come quicker. The play clock seems to tick away time at a speed that has to be increased. The sounds of the stadiums play with him him trying to get the plays in. He'll have to overcome that first hurdle as a starter. Then the ball gets snapped, and everyone is moving fast. He has to build up that internal clock, understand when to run away and when to throw it away and just how tight of a window he can fit the ball in to his receivers.
Players don't often get "high school open" in college, and that means he has to put the ball on target and at times throw guys open to keep drives going.
The good thing is physically Everett Golson is equipped to do all of these things. He's a kid with a good arm, great feet and the ability to get himself out of trouble. He throws well on the run and is comfortable in the pocket. The beauty of Golson is that his abilities open up the Fighting Irish playbook. More rolls, half rolls, bootlegs, run-pass options, floods and, of course, all of the play-action, zone-read and read-option plays thanks to Cierre Wood.
Golson helps make that playbook wide open, and Brian Kelly is most certainly going to take advantage of that. Once the first-year starter proves he has the mental aspect of things down, the Fighting Irish, with Golson at the helm, could have a double-digit-win season in their sights.