When dealing with some offseason roster chaos, Brian Kelly called upon his experience raising three children.
"It's like being a dad. You're disappointed, but you know these things happen," he said.
That’s how the Notre Dame head coach described the loss of starting quarterback Everett Golson on a conference call with reporters Tuesday afternoon. The news of Golson being academically ineligible for the fall semester broke over the holiday weekend, serving as the latest twist in a tumultuous offseason for the Fighting Irish.
Kelly said that no one had contacted him or the Notre Dame compliance office about a possible Golson transfer (rumors circulated this weekend that an unnamed SEC school was in touch with the quarterback) and he expected Golson to work his way back onto the team. Golson said in a statement released Sunday that he hoped to regain the trust of the Notre Dame community and return to both the university and football roster.
“I would say there are defining moments in everyone's life, mistakes are made," Kelly said. "Especially young kids make mistakes. Everett is going to take this and it's really going to be truly his defining moment. He's going to grow and live and learn from this mistake."
Kelly said he was “proud” of Golson for accepting full responsibility, and that Notre Dame was working on a plan together to help him.
"If the university lets him back into the school, that will be enough to let him back on the team. Then it's back to work."
Kelly also addressed the idea that former top recruit Gunner Kiel, who transferred from Notre Dame to Cincinnati in April after redshirting the 2012 season, was considered as a possible replacement under center.
"That's not something I've ever done and will never do,” said the Irish coach, dismissing the idea of Kiel transferring back to South Bend.
Golson helped lead the Irish to a 12-1 record in 2012 in his first season as a starter, combining to run or throw for 18 touchdowns and playing some of his best games in tough road contests (at Michigan State, Oklahoma and USC). The candidates to replace him are senior Tommy Rees (14-4 in eighteen career starts with the Irish), senior Andrew Hendrix (44 career pass attempts, but a capable runner) and early enrollee freshman Malik Zaire, whom was Rivals third-ranked dual-threat quarterback and 126th overall player in the Class of 2013.
"Those guys will all have the opportunity to compete to be the starter," Kelly said. "It's going to be a challenge but one that we think we can overcome."