Notre Dame football: Silent should be Golson

AL LESAR
South Bend Tribune

There are mistakes... And there are mmmiiissssttttaaaaakkes... On a scale of 1-to-10, with 1 being putting his left shoe on his right foot, Everett Golson made a doozy; a blunder of epic proportions. Golson, the defrocked Notre Dame quarterback whose self-professed "poor academic judgment" cost him his spot on the Irish football team as well as the fall semester at the university, lifted his hiatus from the media over the weekend while appearing at a charity function in his hometown of Myrtle Beach, S.C. During an interview with WBTW, a CBS affiliate and sister station to South Bend's WSBT, Golson didn't exactly bare his soul, but he did have something to say. At least this act of contrition came in his own words, not the homogenized version released by the university a month ago. "Right now, it's time for me to grow a little bit and develop," Golson said. A little bit? Better grow a lot to get beyond the temptation to repeat such a bad decision. "A lot of mistakes I made (last year) that I've been on myself about; this is that time to get it right," Golson said. "I definitely want to take full advantage of this time." That's where Golson, who said he is spending his summer in Chicago training and conditioning, seemed to get a bit off topic. He went on to talk about improving his footwork and getting stronger. This exile into college football's abyss shouldn't be about working on footwork and learning how to find the right receiver. This seven-month banishment from the game should be used to get his life and priorities in order. This is a time when Golson should come to the conclusion that something like this will never happen again. There are no shortcuts in life. "Obviously, I got hit with a little bit of adversity," Golson said. There he goes again. A little bit? Nothing "little" about anything in this whole situation. This is one of those "fork in the road" times that every young person must navigate. It's a life-altering and possibly life-defining opportunity facing Golson. It's his chance to make a statement. "(I'm) just trying to bounce back up from it," Golson said. "Never keep my head down; just keep going and pushing to that goal." Problem is, life keeps pushing back. Golson's absence, in the immediate future, is a significant challenge for the Irish football team. It probably could have been negotiated easier last season than now. At least last year, with Theo Riddick and Cierre Wood, Notre Dame had a proven running game. Tight end Tyler Eifert was an inviting target for even the most smart — but immobile — of quarterbacks. Golson's skill set and athleticism was more of a bonus for the entire package. Riddick, Wood and all the experience in the backfield are gone. Eifert's in Cincinnati. This season had all the makings of a quarterback-centric offense until George Atkinson, Amir Carlisle and Greg Bryant found their legs. That plan's out the window. The pressure pendulum swings back to the Irish defense again. Plan to bet the Irish this year? Take the under. Points will be at a premium. This is coach Brian Kelly's opportunity to again work some of his magic; make chicken salad out of something less palatable. The long-term consequences of this entire situation carry the most weight. It goes beyond whether the Irish will be able to find the end zone Sept. 7 against Michigan. How will this impact Golson? Will his teammates view him as the same sort of leader they thought he was before the poor judgment? Will this sour him toward the big-picture concepts, objectives and mission of the university or make him even more committed? It's not about Golson missing this season. It's who he is when he returns, as he and Kelly have projected, in January. This is a pretty critical time in a young man's life. Make no mistake about it.

Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson speaks during media day before the BCS National Championship Game on Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013, at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla. SBT Photo/JAMES BROSHER