The Golson Effect: Helping the Irish Receivers Reach Their Potential

Everett Golson - WR Potential
(Photo: Robin Alam/Icon SMI)

It’s no secret the Irish offense struggled under Tommy Rees last season.  With Rees at the helm Brian Kelly’s offense is severely limited due to lack of mobility at the quarterback position as well as a lack of arm strength that made moving the pocket by rolling the quarterback out and throwing on the run nearly impossible for the Irish to execute.  Many of Notre Dame’s deep threats were also limited by Rees’s inability to hit open targets deep downfield.  The likes of Davaris Daniels, Chris Brown, and William Fuller were unable to reach their full potential with their ability to take the top off the defense going unutilized in many games.  Also sideline patterns suffer under Rees as when the ball arrives late on a timing pattern it can be broken up or intercepted, while even if the receiver makes the play his time and space to make a defender miss is minimal.

With Golson back under center this upcoming season the offense should blossom.  Davaris Daniels is the man now with the departure of T.J. Jones to the NFL, a task he should be up to as he and Golson have shown excellent chemistry in the past.  Golson’s ability to get Daniels the ball anywhere on the field should lead to the Illinois receiver’s biggest season yet.  Chris Brown is also ready to take the next step as a junior and he’s the deep threat that could open up the field for the Irish and combined with Golson’s excellent arm strength big numbers could be in order.  Golson will also help the largely young and inexperienced receivers tremendously as Fuller and Cory Robinson will see their roles increase as well as incoming freshman Corey Holmes and Justin Brent being expected to contribute immediately.

Golson will be entering his second season as the Irish starter.  After leading the Irish to the national championship game as a redshirt freshman the South Carolina native was suspended for the 2013 season.  Although that is a setback, Golson spent last season under the tutelage of renowned quarterback coach George Whitfield Jr. honing his game and adding size and strength to his frame.  The suspension will also allow Golson to be a impart wisdom to his young playmakers on what it’s like being a student-athlete at Notre Dame and the consequences of not living up to those responsibilities, increasing his leadership role.

Golson will return to game action this August as a more mature quarterback, and with the handcuffs off Brian Kelly the Irish offense should be extremely potent.  Golson’s confidence will be reflected in the offenses play as with him at the reins everyone from the offensive lineman to the receivers know the only need to do their job as the quarterback can hold his own and make plays for himself and his teammates.

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  1. George I appreciate what you are saying, and in my inseason articles I identified the Irish areas of weakness.

    I give more credence to letdown spots than most, but agree that the Navy performance was inexcusable. That was even worse than the Pitt game.

    I expect the change of coordinators to solve that.

    2012 was magic in a whistle past the graveyard way. That team dodged many bullets, intrinsic and extrinsic. The secondary, as my analyses harped on, was a potential disaster area and was only rescued by a combination of great performances from the seven, a dearth of great opposing quarterbacks and some serendipity.

    The Ol was not very good, and NOT CLOSE to the offensive line we will field in 2014.

    But this program is stronger now. At positions like the entire defensive backfield, the offensive line and the wide receiving corps this team is several ladder rungs better.

    I regard the last two years as anomalous. 2012 because EVERYTHING broke our away (especially injuries-we were one OL injury from DISASTER).
    2013 because of the Golson mistake (it was Ev
    ‘s no one else’s) dovetailing with Kiel’s departure. And, while injuries
    are part of the game, necessitating depth and next men in, the injuries to theOL, DL and LB corps were an actuarial outlier.

    This team has a gaping hole at MLB, and if normal injuries hit the DL, it will cost a game or two.

    But as a Coveyite I alway look at production capacity (goose) rather than the production (golden egg).

    And this goose is very strong, the best since 1993. So it’s on Kelly to produce the Golden eggs. Are we subpar at
    Dl depth and LB? Yep, every college team outside of Tuscaloosa has suboptimizations.

    but this is, top to bottom, the best Irish squad we’ve seen since Clinton’s first term.

    Dwelling on the past accomplishes, well, exactly Richard.

  2. It is laughable that people still are gullible for prognosticating fools
    who create faux legitimacy for their foolhardy predictions by ascribing a numerical score, to two decimal places mind you, to their prognostications. You all did know that “gullible” is not in the dictionary.

    Fools predict, and bigger fools pay attention to them.

    The future is unknowable, but these authors are slick and manipulative with the illusion of predictive legitimacy with their “78.85”

    Go back to those five. Ask them each, and severally, which had predicted Notre Dame as 12-1 in 2012 and 9-4 in 2013.

    Johnson, it is not surprising you so cowardly answered my challenge with a personal retort. This is your style. You answer factual questions with emotion and then respond to being called out on your emotion with facts, often faux, from that confederacy of dunces at Bleacher Report.

    For the Record The Irish have lost 5 games THE LAST TWO SEASON.

    total record 21-5

    Round up and you get 11-3, round down and you get 10-2

    The precise arithmetic mean is 10.5 v 2.5.

    Emote your way to 8-5 with that set of facts. But, perhaps, it’s seepage of your purported agricultural tasks. You seem to have gotten so comfortable with shoveling the residue of your horses that you seem to throw many shovelsful here. It best remains on the farm.

  3. “How does Notre Dame fare into the college football picture for the next three years? Pretty well.

    The Irish check in at No. 9 on’s list of top 25 programs for the next three years. The panel — Brad Edwards, Travis Haney, Brock Huard, Tom Luginbill and Mark Schlabach — ranked teams based on coaching, current talent, recruiting, title path and program power in determining their list.

    Notre Dame had an overall score of 78.85 out of 100, with coaching, recruiting and program power being the biggest hallmarks of its future success. (No. 1 Alabama, by comparison, scored a 94.6.)” bleacher repoirt today

  4. Thanks for proving my point Bruce Johnson, we haven’t seen 8-5 since Obama’s first term. By the way, now that you’re so interested in precision and mathematics, can you please cite the mean and median record for the last two years, the most recent two years, the last
    two FACTUAL years? Can you provide that data for us? It might be instructive and might reveal to you the shoddiness and superficiality of your lies.

    1. So we went two straight years exceeding 8 wins. You act like 2011 is ancient history. I appreciate that you’re trying to be Mr. Positive, but as long as ND keeps struggling to beat Navy there’s going to be room for serious criticism. (I don’t mean to pick on Navy… you can throw in Purdue, Temple and a loss to Pitt if you want)

  5. Storespook, I generally find myself in full agreement with your posts, but am going to register a gentlemanly disagreement with the one re FSU and Miami.

    If history is a guide, and it’s the only one we have, I think the rule is that he who loses latest loses the most. And I think it is that principle that applied in ’89 and ’93. I was taught by my Dad about the virulent anti-Catholicim to which Al Smith was subject, and he kept me posted on the milder version of it seen in the JFK election. (That was artfully covered in Altman’s movie “Nashville” by the way.

    I offer one bit of evidence and one thing that shows you a different view of when a prejudiced view might just be wrong.

    One of the most amazing 15 day periods in college football was the end of the 2001 season, with the schedule goofed up because of 9/11.

    From Thanksgiving Friday, the opponent heir apparent to be the lamb on Miami’s sacrificial altar was Nebraska, but they lost on thanksgiving Friday to Colorado in a romp. The next day, OU the then frontrunner was upset by Bob Simmons’ Okie State squad in Norman. Then Florida was the frontrunner, but they lost the following Saturday to Tennessee, This put texas and Tennessee in the driver’s coseats, but on the following Saturday, in the conference championship games LSU upset Tennessee and Colorado upset Mack Brown and the Horns. Who would up playing Miami?
    Nebraska, partly because they had the good sense to lose as early as Thanksgiving Friday. By the way, they suffered the most severe beating.

    Then consider ’66 and the day Notre Dame fans will always remember and never forget, Nov. 19. 1966 with the 10-10 tie. Because the Big Ten had a no repeat
    Rose Bowl rule, the tie was the mighty Spartans’ last game. But the irish played the following Saturday against USC, even with Coley Obrien as the quarterback, and slaughtered TRoy 51-0 in the the Coliseum.

    Bubba Smith declares publicly, even to this day that Notre Dame was awarded the championship because “They were not going to give it to a bunch of n……………..” And he believes that. But most feel that the Irish overcame more hurdles in the MSU game and proved out with the romp against USC. As I believe.

    I know a lot of people hate ND, but we’ve seen time and again the perils
    of losing late in the season. Lose in September-EVEN IF ITS TO A SORRY MISSISSIPPI TEAM IN JACKSON, and you can win the ’77 National Championship.

    Again, Storespook, I am merely expressing an opinion, but one that I believe strongly. May we most often agree, occasionally disagree, but always agree to disagree agreeably!


    2010 Notre Dame 8–5 W Sun
    2011 Notre Dame 8–5 L Champs
    2012 Notre Dame 12–1 L BCS NCG† 3 4
    2013 Notre Dame 9–4 W Pinstripe

  7. Notre Dame has not seen 8-5 since 2011, Kelly’s second year. You are entitled to your own dementia, er, opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts.

    1. What’s with this “I” stuff?

      You’re not a coach and you’re not a player.

      Your just an everyday Super Hero with x-ray vision and ESP who flies around in his underwear giving sound advice.

  8. So much to discuss here…I can see all the opinions flooding the page. The odd thing is that most of you are completely correct.

    1. Tommy Rees was the most frustrating quarterback of all time.
    2. Tommy Rees saved ND’s ass on several occasions.
    3. I am glad The Tommy Rees era is over.

    The upside for Golson and Zaire is nearly limitless…the downside can be just as bad.

    I do fully believe that BK can recruit QB’s to fit his offensive scheme and BTW Blake Barnett wasn’t one of them. Blake will be a great QB in a pro style offense, he is not going to put up the offensive numbers of a golson or zaire when plugged into this configuration. BK is the first coach to get us to the National Championship game since Lou, if you discount that accomplishment, even with the ass-whooping by Alabama…then you really don’t understand how difficult that goal is. Does the word UNDEFEATED mean anything to you? Lou couldn’t beat BC in ’93 to go to the national championship game. The difference between 11-1 and 12-0 is HUGE!

    1. Yep, the difference between 11-1 and 12-0 ARE huge. Since you use 1993 as an example, really thought how a component of anti-Catholicism was used to give FSU the sole championship versus a co-champion because of the BC loss even though ND beat FSU head to head. Same justification was used to deny a potential co-championship in 1989 with Miami because it was played out that Miami beat ND in the head to head game that year so with equal records, Miami was named champion.

      JackedDome, I certainly share your “take” via your post.

      Go Irish

      1. Beat FSU head to head? If my memory serves, ND pummeled FSU, it wasn’t even close until garbage time when charlie ward managed to get in another score to make it look respectable. THAT team was a national champion, no matter what the voters said. 2 teams with one loss, 1 team beat the other…in whose math does the loser of the head to head become the champion over the winner of the head to head??!??!?? Lost faith in the voting system forever that year…

      2. Somebody call the waaaaambulance. Quit your crying. Beat BC and it doesn’t matter.

      3. Yeah, me too JackedDome. Hey Burgundy, not wwwwwhiinnnning, just reflecting on a past ND event with JackedDome and I am trying to stay classy, and using some Sex Panther to help, hahahaha.

        Go Irish 2014

      4. Burgundy,

        1 plus 1 equals 2, not crying. Were there any other 1 loss teams that year? Oh yes there was FSU but wait we beat FSU handily…how did they end up ahead of us in the polls? There was also Nebraska, yet we beat the team that beat nebraska…none of this math adds up. I can’t change anything but we all recognize that ND was the NC in 93…nuff said.

      5. Nobody recognizes ND as NC in ’93. They were good and had a great year but lost at home to BC….nuff said. BC was a game they should have won. Then they go play Nebraska for the title. We will never know how that would’ve shaken out. Furthermore, nobody pummeled anybody. They won by 7 and were driving for tying score until the D stepped up. It was a classic game and one of the best I’ve ever seen.

      6. PUMMELED!!!

        Did you watch that game? ND ran the ball down FSU’s throat all game long until they put in the second string. It was 31-17 with 1:39 left to play. Charlie got a TD agains the second string as Lou pulled the starters knowing he couldn’t lose to the 14 point favorites with 1:39 left. Not ONLY did ND PUMMEL FSU the final touchdown was a deflection on a 4th and 20! 4 and 20 is what we all call a hail mary, the deflection is what we all call luck. You should watch that game again and then look at the stats, up until the final 3 minutes of the game it was severely lopsided. Ron, your memory is not serving your argument very well.

      7. BTW,

        Ask Notre Dame fans who was the NC in ’93 and then tell me that nobody recognizes them as National Champs. The voters that year had their heads up their asses and it was a MAJOR deciding factor to switch to the BCS. When voters can’t even recognize the importance of a head to head competition why should they be allowed to decide a national champion? Hey, FSU beat Nebraska (barely) would it be ok if the voters decided Nebraska should be the NC in ’93? After all they had the same record but Nebraska had better opponents…

    2. Ass whooping…Notre Dame vs Nebraska…Johnny Rodgers…I was a little kid, but I remember that.

  9. Bj,

    If you were really “thinking” you would remember that you ranted for weeks on how the Under Armour deal was a disgraceful waste of time by the Notre Dame Athletic director. Now its good?

    “Either shit or get off the damn pot because all you’re doing is stinkin up the joint”

    -Vince Lombardi-

  10. i am just thinking how to use the under armour folks to sponsor an elite camp somewhere like nike does in oregon, to our benefit

    1. I don’t know this for sure, but I’m willing to bet that Under Armour had/will have a very noticeable presence at the Georgia camp. To what degree a corporate sponsor has on a particular recruit, in terms of actually signing that recruit, is a black box. Yes, the corporate clothes/equipment contract certainly has something to do with “presentation”. But are kids really picking schools based upon who makes the uniforms? Oregon is an extreme case because of Phil Knight and the Nike juggernaut. Oh and if you’re not an Oregon fan, that entire situation makes them look like retards.

  11. if you want to be number one, you gotta think outside the box, how about an elite camp for prospects sponsored by under armour in south bend

    1. So wait. Having a camp down south, in Georgia, where ND needs/wants to recruit is not “thinking outside the box”. But having a camp in South Bend/Midwest, where ND’s footprint has been secure for decades, is “thinking outside the box”? Also, that phrase is so cliche and overused as to be useless, much like your logic.

    2. Other “outside the box” thoughts = field turf, music in the stadium, jumbo tron. All of which you despise.

  12. All these comments add up to another 9-3 type of season. The new norm for the Irish. In other words the same old, same old.

      1. We have gone over this before. You must have been on one of your drinking binges. But wake me up when BK wins his first REAL NC. Wake me up when he has multiple top 5, top 10 finishes.

      2. Sounds good. I’ll make a note to wake you up.
        Dear diary,
        Wake this tool up when BK wins a “real” NC. Also, ask his wife to stop texting the DL at Alabama, they are finished with her.
        Good night.

  13. I wonder if some of the fans here actually enjoy those dozen Saturdays in the Fall for the sheer bliss of being able to root for the Fighting Irish?

    Or, rather, are they mired in dark enclaves weeping, gnashing, rehashing old arguments and hating the experience of being a Notre Dame fan.

    I couldn’t get to the pinstripe bowl and peeked (not peaked) into the game chat. I was amazed at the bedwetting.

    Notwithstanding, I will approach each Saturday with the same disposition.
    And I guarantee you that me and my entourage will have fun.

    These are my guys, out there on the field. The internet wannabees are not.!

  14. Bryan, let’s not foget this. Golson improved a LOT during the second half of the year capped with his performance against Bama. Rees subbed only in the first half of the year.

    Further, if we have learned ANYTHING from observing Notre Dame football it is that quarterbacks, on almost a linear incline, tend to improve more than any other position. The Theisman of his fourth year was not the Thiesman of his soph year, Similarly Mirer, Mcdougal, Jarious Jackson, and all the way back to Clements, Lujack and Bertelli.

    It’s a motion picture, not a snapshot, Bryan, and I will assuredly bewatching the motion picture unfold this September.

    Don’t put Golson in the box of his first six games.

  15. Ok fine Jerry, let’s start worrying about the defense. There is one linebacker to speak of, a walk-on could be starting at the position, and Farley is still on the team somehow.

  16. I cant believe all this Reece talk. IT IS OVER! We will have 2 excellant
    QB’s this season. Worry about BK calling the plays and the defense not

  17. While there are a number of question marks on the defensive side of the ball, the offense will be a lot better this year. even with the schedule, I can see them winning 10 games this year. Granted, some of those games will be shootouts. That’s something TR could never do. Good teams could always stop him. He piled up his stats against lesser teams.

  18. As opposed to an “Honest” post?

    ” I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me Nick Montana or give me death! ”


      1. But George, let’s be honest… “IF” Nick Montana had actually attended ND, then he should have started the last four games…

        Then we shoud have brought in and stuck with Crist no matter how bad he was because losing with Crist is far better than having Rees come in and save the day with a win.

        And any half wit who saw Hendrix fill in for Rees in the game against USC knows Hendrix was always better than Rees mostly because his last name was Hendrix and not Rees, but wait.. I forgot.. Golson would have certainly been better than Rees…. and better than Hendix and Crist for that matter, except he got himself expelled so I guess that at least makes Crist better than Golson even though Crist threw more interceptions than touchdown passes for Kansas.

        Now as for Nate Montana…

  19. Let’s be honest. Although Tommy Rees was our quarterback for all or part of four seasons, he was not talented enough to be our quarterback at all. In his freshman year, Nick Montana should have started the last four games. In his sophomore year, we should have stuck with Dayne Crist, no matter how bad he looked against South Florida and even though later he threw more interceptions than touchdown passes for Kansas. In his junior year, Rees should not have been brought in in all those games to save the day. Hendrix would have done far better. Hendrix would have been better than Rees in their senior year too.

    Rees, as many have said, is no quarterback. Period. Give me Montana, Crist and Hendrix any day. For that matter, give me Golson last season. Wait…I forgot. He got himself expelled for cheating. Well, if he had not gotten expelled from the University, Golson would certainly have been better than Rees last year.

    1. I also thought that BK pulled the plug on Crist to soon in favor of TR but its hard to know for sure as Crist was injured so often. No fricken way Montana or Hendrix were going to do better than TR. Ive said this many times on this site BK failed to recruit the right kind of QBs early on. I dont think BK knew what kind of QB he wanted at ND during his first three years.

  20. I hope Tommy Rees has a great degree, makes millions of dollars and has a great family and all the nice things. As a QB Tommy Rees absoultely SUCKS!! PERIOD!! End of story!!

    1. BK shouldve recruited better QBs to run his system early on. It took him five years to finally get some QBs on campus with similar skill sets. Now we might finally see this offense take off like it should. Whether it ends up being Golson, Zaire, or both BK finally has some depth at the QB position and its taken a lot longer than it should have. Golson didnt help matters with his academic situation but I blame BK for not recruiting any depth at the QB position early on in his career at ND.

      1. Like I said, Rees is a gentleman and a scholar and I wish him well but a qb he is not. Our offense will be 100% better. We still might lose a few but our offense will be a hell of a lot better.

      2. What does “100% better” even mean? Instead of averaging 27 points per game, ND will average 54 PPG, perhaps. I’d love to see it.
        Golson needs to improve DRASTICALLY since ’12 in order to meet the expectations of the vast majority of fans on this board.

      3. Since I have to spell it out for you it means ND’s offense will be like night and day. Not one dimensional. Weapons everywhere including the most important one, the QB.

      4. They have a big camp at Oregon and all the top top prospects go. They get to see Oregon for free. Why don’t we have some one like Nike do that camp in south bend not Beaverton.

      5. First, Beaverton is 2 hours from Eugene. Second, to my knowledge there is no athletic shoe company based in S Bend.

      6. bj,

        speaking of camp…
        remember that one time, at band camp, when you stuck that flute up your arse?

    2. TR did a pretty good job at the QB position during his time at ND. He definetly lacked the athletic ability to play QB at a high level so when you look at the numbers he put up in his career its pretty impressive. Instead of beating up on TR I think we should take some shots at the Defense which was horrible last year.

  21. “With Rees at the helm Brian Kelly’s offense is severely limited due to lack of mobility at the quarterback position as well as a lack of arm strength that made moving the pocket by rolling the quarterback out and throwing on the run nearly impossible for the Irish to execute.”

    I do not agree with this conclusion in its entirety: Rees has a great deal more potential and abilities than many here would believe not to mention a high IQ. Tommy Rees & the coaching staff were not always prepared properly. Take the Oklahoma first half for example as a clear snapshot of Rees looking bad but due to the ineptness of the offensive scheme with little to no ground game.
    I believe Golson will add a comfort zone of sorts for Brian Kelly’s staff due to mobility, accurate arm & the allowance of a ground game if by no other means than Golson’s legs.
    Bear in mind: Notre Dame defeated Michigan State & came back against OU with Tommy Rees in command.

    1. Toulmin,

      The limitation is in the option read. Tommy was never a threat to run which allowed back side D-ends and LB’s to pursue the play. The idea of the read option is the fact that the QB needs to be accounted for in the run game.

      Let’s look at OU’s scheme against TR as opposed to EG. They didn’t need to keep that backside DE or LB in which accounted for added pressure. Plus the scramble drill will kill defenses because it will cause them to have to cover longer.

      I liked TR but his limitations were just that, he couldn’t extend the play or was a threat to run, so when he left the pocket he was no threat to run. You could just rush 4 and keep everyone back in coverage, which is what other teams did against him.

      1. What I’m driving at is this Rees had enough talent for me to mold him. I would have worked him hard, run sprints until he dreamed about it and generally tried to get inside his heart & mind… I would, I feel, have as a result achieved consistent productivity as a result.(that is the theory)……….. I feel the same way with JC. (another under achiever at QB) ………………I strongly feel Brian will achieve more on this new faster field. Achieve generally as well as get consistent production from his skill position personnel. Lets hope.

      2. I would not say that TR was inconsistent. I would just say that he had a low ceiling and not quite enough fire power around him to make up for what he lacked. And I definitely wouldn’t say that JC underachieved at the college level. Had he stayed his final year he’d have every passing record in the book. Not to mention he was the 48th pick in the NFL draft.

      3. Could you give us example of other great QB’s you have “molded” into all-Americans Toul.

      4. I can’t believe this much space is being devoted to a guy no longer playing. I was no fan of TR’s QB’ing on the field and expressed it as much during the 2013 season. I don’t know about you, I am embracing the now and the future of the QB position and IT DOESN”T include what TR did, could have did, should have did, etc. EG and MZ are better equipped to do what Kelly wants done. They will be better and achieve better at the position than TR ever did.

        Go Irish

    2. Please cite one example that lead you to believe that TR did not lack mobility. Possibly his 6 inch TD run vs. Michigan in the game where Mich turned it over six times and still almost won?

    1. If your quoting Bleacher Report that is weak. They have no credentials to be a reporter. Also, again Bruce you fail to look at the recruiting services rankings after players have played four year. Isaq was a no brainer five star and he is still here.

      If you want to bank on recruiting stars how did Florida lose to a Div IAA team last year. How did Alabama lose to an inferior Auburn team and finally how can Texas ever lose in the Big 12. They were perennial top 5 for the last 6 year. Jackson Jeffcoat was a five star, sure fire first rounder. If Stars behind names are the case how did USC lose to Standford who has not had a 10 class or how does OSU lose to MSU who has not had a top 10 class in a long time.

    2. The bleacherreport quote is accurate, so their reputation is irrelevant. However, the fact that ND doesn’t have any 5-star players recruited doesn’t mean that they won’t have a good team, either. We’ll see. It’s a long time to NSD as well.

  22. “Notre Dame’s class is relatively devoid of the best prospects in the country. Of the 10 top classes, Notre Dame is tied for the second-fewest 4- and 5-star pledges (five). Center Tristen Hoge is the only commitment who ranks among the top 100 players.”

  23. Lets not get to excited. Tommy obviously is not the most talented quarterback to have ever played for Notre Dame. But lets not forget he was put into several games when Golson could not get the job done. Golson may not be Notre Dames savior. Although he does have good arm and foot speed he definitely lacks accuracy and missed many targets throughout his inaugural season. I would look to a red shirt freshman quarterback to Golson a run for his money for the starting position. He has better accuracy and equal if not better arm and foot speed. I wouldn’t make Golson a hero just yet. Will be interesting to see how this all plays out.

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