Everett Golson played well in his first year as a starter for Notre Dame, but he has a lot of room to improve.
As the quarterback of the Fighting Irish, he did enough to lead his team to an undefeated regular season. He improved throughout the year and started to become the type of player the team needed him to be.
However, his efficiency rating of 131 ranked 65th in the nation among qualified players. This is not good enough for one of the top teams in the country.
Still, he can be one of the top players in NCAA if he improves in these areas.
On the season, Golson only completed 58.8 percent of his passes. While most players improve as they get more experience, this is a pretty low starting point.
In seven of his 12 games, he completed fewer than 60 percent of his passes.
This is not only about accuracy, but also decision-making. Golson often tried to force bad passes that he could not get through to his receivers. While his six interceptions were not terrible, there were a few times where he was genuinely lucky to avoid a turnover.
The quarterback needs to make smarter plays to be able to find his teammates down the field. This will lead to extended drives and eventually more points.
At times during the year, Golson was very impressive when trying to run the ball. The problem is that he did not do it often enough.
Including sacks, the quarterback only rushed for 298 yards. He averaged 3.2 yards per carry. He had fewer than 10 rushing yards in half of his games.
Dual-threat quarterbacks often rule college football because they make it difficult for defenses to defend. Johnny Manziel, Collin Klein, Braxton Miller, Denard Robinson and others had very good years for their teams based on their ability to run the football.
Golson has the ability, but he has not utilized it. If he wants to take the next step as an elite player, he needs to use his legs as much as his arm.
This is hard to quantify or judge, but it will be very important for Notre Dame next season.
The Fighting Irish are losing a team leader in Manti Te'o, as well as many veteran players on offense like Tyler Eifert, Theo Riddick and Cierre Wood.
Although Golson is still young, he needs to take over the squad and let everyone know that he is the man in charge of the offense.
It is not only about words. Teams play with more confidence if they can believe in their quarterback. Golson must make them believe with his performances in practice and in games.
If he struggles early, it could be a long year for Notre Dame.
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