Notre Dame fans everywhere rejoice! Our beloved Fighting Irish will take the field this Saturday for the Blue-Gold game. The annual game caps off Notre Dame's spring practice season and is a great opportunity to get a sneak peak at the 2013 squad.
The game will air this Saturday, April 20 at 1 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network. If you don't have NBCSN, fear not, NBC has other options to watch the game.
Obviously, every quarterback is a key component of the team's success, but the onus falls particularly heavily on Fighting Irish QB Everett Golson, who led the team to the national championship game last season but was often pulled in favor of veteran Tommy Rees on key third downs.
Here's what to look for from the Irish QB this Saturday:
It is critical that Golson improves his pass-completion and efficiency if the Irish want to see a BCS birth this season. In 2012, while the Irish defense ranked among the top in the nation, the offense ranked a terrestrial 74th in pass efficiency and 71st in passing offense.
His pass completion percentage last season was 58.8 percent, which was markedly lower than that of Tommy Rees during his freshman season with the team (65.5 percent).
Look for Golson to improve these stats by hanging in the pocket longer and keeping his eyes down the field for alternate receivers when his primaries are bogged-down in coverage. He should do this instead of throwing the ball away or scrambling for yards like he had a tendency to do last season when plays deteriorated.
Also, expect Golson to continue to improve as a rusher. In the last seven games Golson played in the regular season, he rushed for an average of 45.1 yards. Juxtapose that with the minus-11 yards he rushed for in his first four games with the Irish and you can see that Golson was already evolving into a powerful dual-threat quarterback by the end of last season.
Irish head coach Brian Kelly is pleased with Golson's progress, telling Keith Arnold of NBC, “I don’t know that you could even put him in the same category with where he started last year to where he is now."
“He didn’t know anything relative to what he had for tools last year in terms of what he could do with the offense,” Kelly explained to Arnold, “Now he wants to maybe do a little bit too much. We’re at a totally different point in his development.”
With the groundwork already laid last season, and the positive progress reports from Kelly, you can expect an impressive performance this Saturday and beyond from the Irish QB.