Notre Dame opens the 2012 season on September 1 in Dublin, Ireland against the Naval Academy. Before the summer, Fighting Irish coach Brian Kelly had declared an open competition for the quarterback job. Tommy Rees, Andrew Hendrix, Everett Golson, and Gunner Kiel were expected to fight for the starting role, which Rees had for most of the year but nearly lost to Hendrix at the end.
But Rees' arrest in early May for underage drinking, along with kneeing a police officer in the "lower chest area," leaves him suspended for the first game. That leaves the three other quarterbacks to compete for the starting job in Dublin. With less than a month until the game and training camp opening August 4 for the Irish, Kelly must make his choice soon.
Each QB has certain advantages. Hendrix is the only one of the three with any on-field experience, and the junior has had enough time in Kelly's system that he should understand it well. Golson, a sophomore, has impressive athletic ability, and fits in well with Kelly's spread offense. Kiel comes in as the hotshot freshman with pro potential.
On Saturday, Golson took the first set of snaps, a sign that he is in the lead at the moment. Kelly explained that this happened because Golson had the best spring game. In my mind, Golson is the guy to go with in Dublin, and quite possibly the whole season.
Hendrix showed some potential last season, but Golson seems to be a better version of him. Hendrix also showed that he has the same turnover bug that has affected Rees so much. Golson has had enough time to understand the system, as evidenced by his performance in the Blue-Gold Game. Kiel may eventually take over the job a year from now, but reports say he has not grasped the offense yet.
Golson fits the spread offense, and he also fits the trend towards mobile quarterbacks in college football. Irish fans should know that well, considering what Denard Robinson has done to the Irish defense in past years. Last year, Kelly suggested that players he recruited were handling his schemes better than players recruited by former coach Charlie Weis. So why not give Golson a chance to do what Tony Pike did for Kelly at Cincinnati?
Better yet, if Golson performs well in Dublin, why not go with him in the second game? Personally, I do not think Tommy Rees does much for the Irish. If Kelly really wants to run the spread at its full potential, playing a guy who can't outrun a South Bend cop is not going to work.
Everett Golson looks like the man right now for the Irish, and I think he should be starting on September 1 in Dublin.
Scott Frano is a longtime Irish fan from Boston with a severe hatred of BC.
"Notre Dame camp opens, QB competition resumes," AP
"Notre Dame's Tommy Rees arrested, possibly narrowing the quarterbacking race to three (updated)," Graham Watson, Yahoo! Sports
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