In week two, Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson is going to have to focus on growing in the offense, expanding his role and avoiding locking on targets. With one game in the books, we talked about the positives from Golson, and how, as it stands now, the job is clearly his. As Notre Dame turns the page to Purdue, the excitement builds and Everett Golson looks to not only retain the job but flourish at the helm of the Fighting Irish.
Job one for the sophomore is going to be expanding his role in the offense. In his first game he threw for 144 yards, completed 12 of 18 passed and had both an interception and a touchdown. Not a bad outing but it was limited in its scope. Against Navy, that's no problem. The Irish running game was opening massive holes for George Atkinson III and Theo Riddick, and Golson was easing into his debut.
Now, with Purdue on the schedule, it is time for Golson to take the next step in his development; getting the ball down field. Folks are going to key on the Fighting Irish rushing attack and that means eight man fronts and a more difficult time moving the ball on the ground. For Golson's evolution and for the success of the team, stretching the field is going to be the next move. He has to pull teams out of the box through reliable down field throws, and he has to be able to do it consistently. No sense in running the ball into an eight man box, when you can get bodies open down field and toss it over the top.
Another key to the expansion of Golson's role will come on the ground, becoming a true threat to run. We all know the kid has got wheels, expect to see more of that wiggle against Purdue; a team that wants to get after the quarterback from the inside out with Kawann Short. With pressure coming up the middle this week, look for Brian Kelly to use the roll outs, waggles and bootlegs as a means to get Golson comfortable moving around behind the line. He'll still be looking to throw but, the option to run will be there.
One big correction that has to come, with Golson's evolution, is avoiding locking on targets and deciding where the ball is going pre-snap. Advancing through his progressions has to continue to occur and while many quarterbacks have a favorite target, maintaining a whole field view is critical. Understand the coverage, know who is, or should, be open and then turn and deliver that ball quickly. Locking in on a target and waiting to throw is a recipe for disaster and against teams better than Navy, turnovers will be crippling.
It's week two folks; that's when you fix the issues you saw in week one and try to grow as you face your next contest. For Golson, that means erasing the mistakes and becoming increasingly reliable in Brian Kelly's scheme.