If the calendar were to read April 1 this headline here would seem like a cruel April’s fool joke. Unfortunately, the calendar reads May 26 and that headline is just another cruel twist to an off-season that has turned into a nightmare for Notre Dame despite being fresh off a championship game appearance in January.
Since the wheels landed in Miami carrying the 2012 Fighting Irish to the National Championship game, not much has gone right for Notre Dame and it’s fans. The Manti Te’o saga unfolded, Notre Dame signed a prized recruit only to see him look to transfer before ever stepping foot on campus, and now the Irish have lost the starting quarterback that guided them to a 12-0 regular season last year.
Multiple sources are reporting that Golson’s departure from Notre Dame is academic related. The university, however, due to federal privacy laws and their own internal policies, is unable to confirm the reason that Brian Kelly will once again be looking for a new starting quarterback as he enters his 4th year in South Bend.
Heading into 2013, many were optimistic that the Irish offense was going to take a big step forward given that the Irish would have stability at the quarterback position for the first time under Kelly. Golson made huge strides last year from the inexperienced kid who had to be pulled from the Michigan game to the experienced starter who led the Irish into Norman and LA and left with wins in both road contests.
With Golson out of school, the Irish quarterback position becomes a major question mark. Tommy Rees likely steps into the role – a role he lost last year to Golson during training camp. As a backup, Rees is all you can ask for. As a starter, however, his limitations have been exploited by agressive and athletic defenses in the past.
Outside of Rees, the Irish have senior Andrew Hendrix who didn’t play any meaningful snaps last year and freshman early enrollee Malik Zaire. A lot of knee jerk reaction will speculate that Kelly should roll the dice with Zaire and have the offense take its lumps this year in order for Zaire to get experience. In an ideal world though, Zaire would have redshirted this year and had four years of eligibility heading into 2014 and backing up Golson as he prepared for his senior year.
Zaire flashed plenty of talent in the Spring game, but like Golson in the spring of 2011, he also looked plenty raw. In 2011 though, Kelly had the benefit of having Rees and Dayne Crist at the top of his depth chart so he could afford to bring Golson along slowly. With Zaire, it is possible that Kelly decides he gives the Irish the best chance to make another BCS run in 2013 and spends the majority of his time in fall camp bringing him along.
Golson’s absence and uncertain future, however, throw all of that up in the air. No one is reporting that Golson is done at Notre Dame permanently. We’ve seen other players leave the university for a year and come back the following year to finish their careers – Darrin Walls immediately comes to mind. The only certainty with Golson right now though, is that he won’t be playing anywhere this fall since he would be required to sit out this fall should he decide to transfer rather than do what he needs to to re-enroll at Notre Dame.
The only other certainty here is that this is a major, major blow for Notre Dame as it tries to capitalize on last year’s BCS Title game appearance. There is maybe one other player that the Irish could have lost for the year that would have had a more devastating effect than Golson – nose tackle Louis Nix. Golson was going to be the key to the Notre Dame offense starting to resemble some of those high powered offenses that Kelly put on the field during his days at Cincinnati.
Instead of working on adding more wrinkles into the offense for an experienced quarterback, Kelly will now be faced with the task of limiting his playbook for a starting quarterback without great downfield arm strength or limiting his playbook for a young, inexperienced quarterback for the second year in a row. Not an enviable task for any coach, let alone who we also found out this week was paid less to coach the Fighting Irish in 2012 than Charlie Weis was to not coach them.
@SteelFanRob? Excellent post. In particular,
“It’s the price we pay for integrity.”
So true. (“So good! So good! So good!”)
ZAIRE. (stick with him)
This was EG’s decision. Bottom line. ND had no choice. We start turning a blind eye on these issues and ND’s no longer truly ND. We’ll be no better than the Special Ed Conference (with the exception of Vandy) or Ohio St.
Yes, this is bad news. No doubt. This may be a tough season. But it’s the price we pay for our integrity.
ND is in a perpetual Catch-22. If it disciplines its student-athletes it’s out of touch, too tough, bad Kharma, or whatever.
If it cuts someone a break, like it did with TR, then ND’s selling out, becoming just like everyone else.
Let’s stick together and behind the school and team. Let’s hope EG learned his lesson and comes back for next season.
Oh I’m not blaming the University for this one SFR. I agree- if he cheated, then these are the consequences. I was just lamenting and venting in regards to the constant cycle of ND football: 1 step forward, 2 steps back. I mean, it wasn’t a 3rd string DB who cheated. It was the starting QB, the person that the offense has been built around. Good grief.
I should clarify SFR, I’m not blaming the University if Golson’s cheating was major- i.e. they found that it had been done repeatedly or was some major violation. I would be upset however if this was “one bad decision” by EG. Then the punishment would be inconsistent at best.
Devastating. ND just has an uncanny way of providing HUGE blows for millions of fans to enjoy. A legit future Heisman candidate who decides to cheat. Unreal.
Doesn’t this seem a little strange.
DUI and assaulting a police officer = 0-1 games.
Cheating on a test = gone from the university.
TR should have received a stiffer penalty than what he did for what he did.
Did he cheat on a test?
If he did, then the punishment is the crime itself.
We don’t know. If he’d been taking dance class like SC QBs do when they return to play, then no “poor academic judgment”, whatever that means, is necessary.
When I attended, cheating for the non-athlete students meant an “F” for the course, not dismissal from the university. Again, it is discriminatory, not admirable, to hold athletes to a higher standard than other students. That mindset doesn’t impress me, it shows arrogance and victimizes athletes and shows that “image” is more of a priority to the university than the well-being of the student/athlete.
We don’t need to be like the football factories who perennially are top 10. But we don’t need to be overly punitive toward our athletes to maintain our prestige. This is a Christian university, and two of the tenets ought to be compassion and forgiveness, unless you’re trying to impress righteous brethren who forget how they acted when they wee young.
And remember Michael Floyd? Clearly had decision-making problems when it came to alcohol and he missed what, a game or two? I hope that EG’s cheating was pervasive so that the punishment meets the crime. Otherwise, the system at ND is arbitrary and senseless.
I’d be a tad concerned about how Kelly will react to this. This could be a signal to tighten up the program. Are Kelly and the administration on the page? Hopefully yes and hopefully Kelly agrees with the rules. He better. But if not, the. This is the sort of thing that might have him looking for easier conditions.
I agree, good point, C-Dog.
How many times have we been through this? Well, I really hope Golson comes back to end all this.
JC, your first question is the operative point. “How many times have we been through this before?” Too many and again no real consistency at starting QB since Kelly’s arrival for this season. It’s enough to drive you crazy. Oh well, I guess we will just have to see how this translates.
I agree that Tommy is limited physically, but his football IQ and his composure is a huge plus. I really think our saving grace is if Kelly and Martin commit to an up-tempo offense. Rees has been in the system for 4 years now and is really good at getting the offense in the right play. If they can speed up the tempo and if they can run the ball well, that should stop teams from dropping 8 into coverage.
I’m pretty confident that Kelly will have a plan and that this team will respond in a big way. The culture has changed at ND and I really don’t think this is going to set the program backwards. Rees and Hendrix will lead this team this year and then Golson will be back next year competing with Zaire and whoever they recruit.
I expect at least 10 wins next year, if not more.
10 wins or more. I think you’re being overly optimistic Scav. I would respectfully disagree that a TR/AH combo will help elicit 10 wins. The history is pretty consistent on TR’s outcomes given his limitations. There’ a reason he did not own the starting position last year. If you’re right, I will be the first one to say I was wrong and acknowledge that.
Before we speculate what Golson did, examine what the university did in reaction to whatever Golson did.
As recent as last spring, another ND QB was in the news.
Last year TR, running away from the cops from a party, (imagine
the shame- ND students drinking at a party!)
and TR was accused of kicking (or trying to) a cop in the groin.
Poor judgment, yes- and perhaps an overreaction to the typical and too frequent S.Bend cop harrassment of ND students, which fellow students and I experienced and remember well and often during my years at ND -’69-’73.
Tommy was suspended how many games?
What could Golson have done if the university (at least according to his closing remark)
kept the door open for him to return next semester?
TR’s attempted kick to a cop’s groin = short suspension . . .
EG’s expulsion for a semester – ??? I’m betting he didn’t pistol whip any of his profs.
If what he did was so diabolical, why leave the door open at the semester ?
If it wasn’t, why close the door on his entire season ?
The speculation is some kind of improper academic judgment on his part.
Quite a bit of cheating going on when I attended ND back in the early 70’s- as there has been
ever since athletes and non-athletes have been attending any/all schools.
I know! I know! It’s all pure speculation since we don’t know,
and probably never will. Here’s hoping the excessive punishment meted out fits the crime and that
Res Life isn’t returning to the days of
“let’s punish the athletes worse than we do our students” ( remember Tony Driver?
what was his crime that lost his season /violation of parietal hours?
or Mike Stonebreaker, prior to the ’88 championship season / excessive parking tickets, or driving too often on campus or some such nonsense). And there have been others too frequent to mention and too painful to recall.
I really like Tommy Rees- but his experience cannot compensate for the incredible limitation
put on any attempt to run a spread offense with him at QB. Play-action short passes don’t make it at any
level of competitive football beyond community college.
I have no issue what the university had to do. A real bad decision by EG which affected a lot of others besides himself. I am very critical of it. When you’re the starting QB at ND, you have a lot of the spotlight on you. He’s not a frosh either. He should have known better. Maybe he returns and possibly gets respect back from teammates and coaches next year. Whatever occurred, the university felt shutting an entire season was warranted.
TR is not a long haul season answer at QB. Neither is AH. I guess you have to play the hand dealt so Kelly has some decisions to make with his “hand.”
Go Blue & Gold
Before everyone starts digging a grave for our team, sometime things like this can bring a team together and make them stronger for it. thank God for the integrity of the program to catch this now instead in the middle of the football season. I’m saddened to hear EG did this, but football fans hold your head up who knows whats instore for 2013…. AS FOR ME I’M ROOTING FOR MY TEAM…… GO IRISH. LOVE YOU GUYS AND FIGHT,FIGHT, FIGHT
Not going to happen, Rees’ sponge-bob arm won’t cut it coupled with elite defenses know how to shut him down.
Hey, if Johnny Manziel can start his freshman year and win the Hiesman, why can’t Zaire? Zaire doesn’t need to win the Hiesman, just play smart!
Zaire is a bright kid and very talented and will do very well!
Here come our beloved Irish! Regis and Lou!
Manziel was a redshirt freshman like Golson was, not a pure freshman like Zaire will likely be playing as.
OK, I stand corrected, however, Zaire’s superior incoming talent will still shine and allow him to start.
I don’t know JC. If it comes to that,well, if MZ ends up getting a lot of time, he will have to mature awfully fast. I’m not having a lot of optimism right now.
So once again like in the recent years, we most likely won’t have a even a somewhat seasoned & decent QB (I do not count TR to fall under this category nor AH) to start the season. Ok, this just sucks, period. I’m not writing the year off completely but do we REALLY need to speculate on how well a TR led offense is going to do over a long haul. We have the evidence as to how well that has occurred in the past. Unless something drastically changes, I see TR probably starting. Images of 2007 come to mind. Yeah, defense will have to step up EVEN more but you still have to score points to win games. Part of me says bring in MZ as much as possible. If cheating is what EG did, that speaks volume of his character. I’m glad I’m moving so that will take much of my mind off this debacle.
I actually like hendrix’s mobility and while not as steady as Reese I think the play book is more wide open and he has had a good few years to digest the plays . I thought he did bring a spark in the few times he went in
A quick question about Golson. Is there any way he can enroll at a University? If the speculation is true, then I imagine it would be near impossible to get accepted anywhere right now.
John Infante, who operates the popular Bylaw Blog, which parses NCAA issues, wrote Saturday night that Kiel actually could switch course one more time and return to Notre Dame without having to sit out. Infante cited “Bylaw 126.96.36.199.8, the Return to Original Institution Without Participation or With Minimal Participation Exception.” That bylaw says that a student-athlete can play immediately after a transfer under the following circumstance:
“The student transfers to a second four-year collegiate institution, does not compete at the second institution and does not engage in other countable athletically related activities in the involved sport at the second institution beyond a 14-consecutive-day period and returns to the original institution. The 14-consecutive-day period begins with the date on which the student-athlete first engages in any countable athletically related activity (see Bylaw 17.02.1). A student may use this exception even if he or she has an unfulfilled residence requirement at the institution from which he or she is transferring.”
No need to empower Kiel again, he made his decision. No need to risk losing Zaire over it either.
I highly doubt BK would be that desperate to even remotely entertain that idea.
Besides, developing Zaire early may very well surprise people than disappoint!
Without question, Zaire’s incoming talent is way greater than the remaining QB’s. put together!
If the speculation is true about Golson, then I wonder if anyone else on the team did the same thing as Golson, but didn’t get caught. I just can’t see Golson cheating as an isolated incident. He might of heard about other players getting away with cheating and thought he could. Again it is speculation, but I think there is a bigger story to this.
At Notre Dame there aren’t football classes so I could easily see this as an isolated incident.
Its going to be Rees and Hendrix sharing the load. Combine that with inexperience in the backfield and TE position and its a recipe for disaster. No Way Zaire is ready to take over at QB. He didnt look that good against the vanilla D in the spring game. Fortunately the Defense will be strong and should keep us in games much like last year.
I respectfully disagree for winning has a way of curing many ills. OU Sooners will be a challenge for sure.
funny thing is, i feel like the coaching staff hardly EVER called for designed qb runs. even with everet’s speed and athleticism. maybe they didn’t trust him because of his propensity to put the ball on the ground? im not sure
either way if Malik does see playing time, i doubt he’ll be running all that often, so i sure hope the kids got a strong and accurate arm, cuz we already know tommy’s limitations.
Bring in Zaire. Rees is a backup at best. Kelly did It with Golson. He can do it with Zaire.
Ouch! A well defined CW paradox! Cheer-up Frank! Next man in, right? Again, thunderously disappointing, however, it could be worse! Yet, we are very fortunate to have Zaire to develop quickly. It can be done!
If Golson is gone for good than I hope to see Zaire next season. A two-headed QB was serviceable last season.
EG was an undersized running QB that was prone to getting banged up – losing him for the season was always on the table but just not like this.
Does Notre Dame have athletes who could effectively serve as a running style QB? A QB with leadership skills perhaps? These last 2 seasons appear to have yielded a bounty of talent in recruiting…