The Notre Dame quarterback picture remains blurry after starter Everett Golson's concussion, and Fighting Irish coach Brian Kelly's choice of starter will not be clear until game time on October 20, when his undefeated team meets Brigham Young in South Bend.
Golson was suffered a helmet-to-helmet hit late in the game against Stanford, and was not cleared to practice until Wednesday. Veteran Tommy Rees once again came off the bench in that game and led the Irish to a 20-13 overtime victory. If Golson is not ready, Rees would presumably start against the Cougars, though Kelly would not even make that commitment.
Golson, Rees, and even junior Andrew Hendrix took snaps with the first-team Irish offense in practice, and Kelly maintains that all three would be ready to play against BYU. If he is healthy, Golson is the first choice. Despite going to Rees in key situations this season, Kelly has steadfastly insisted that the sophomore retains his starting role. His recovery from the concussion symptoms will dictate whether he plays.
''I don't think there's a cookie cutter approach to concussions,'' Kelly says. ''You want to see how they handle exertion. You want to see how they handle all the things leading up, film study, watching, and then getting back on the field. So I want to take the 48 hours that I have before I make that decision.''
The hedging on naming a starter has a benefit for Notre Dame, however, in that it forces BYU to prepare for multiple quarterbacks with very different styles.
"It's going to be hard," says Cougars coach Bronco Mendenhall of the matchup against Notre Dame. "It will be a great test for all of us. But certainly, no one will feel sorry for us. We'll have to get right back up, work extremely hard, rally, and focus hard on making improvements and go into a difficult setting against another good team."BYU is 4-3 on the season, and coming off a thrashing at home by Oregon State. Many Irish fans, and alumni like me, are already looking ahead to the next game, when Notre Dame travels to Oklahoma. But Kelly and his players refuse to look past Cougars or take them lightly.
''I think it's a trap game each week if you think that you can take a breather,'' Kelly says. "Our kids turn on the film and look at BYU and go, 'that's a good football team. We are not turning on the film and looking at a team where the kids go, 'oh, these guys can't play'. They are physical, play hard and play for four quarters."
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