Notebook: Rice coach sees growth in Notre Dame QB Everett Golson

Bob Wieneke
South Bend Tribune

SOUTH BEND – In order to find valuable footage of what he thought Notre Dame’s offense could look like, Rice football coach David Bailiff had to flip past 2013 and dust off the 2012 footage in order to get a better feel.

The reason? Everett Golson played for Notre Dame in 2012. Last year he did not as he served a suspension over academic misconduct. And what Bailiff saw in person Saturday was a much more polished quarterback than the guy who led the Irish to the BCS National Championship Game following the 2012 season.

“You can tell he’s matured. You can tell he’s studied the game and he’s a much more complete quarterback than he was,” Bailiff said after the 17th-ranked Irish dispatched his Owls, 48-17, in the season opener for both teams. “I think the decisions come to him a lot faster on what’s presented to him. I was very impressed with him today.”

Golson’s ability to use his feet to buy more time to use his arm resulted in the senior passing for 295 yards and two touchdowns and running for 41 yards and three scores.

“Talented guy. I’d say one of his biggest strengths is being able to make plays on the run, kind of just free-styling more or less,” Rice strong safety Gabe Baker said. “He was able to really put the ball on the money when the play had broken down. That was one thing I really admired about what he’s doing.”

Golson’s return to the lineup – the Irish went 12-0 two years ago during the regular season with Golson the primary starter before stumbling to 9-4 last year while he was not in school – bodes well for the Irish in the eyes of Baker.

“He’s a really mobile quarterback and you’ve just got to be ready for those kind of things,” Baker said. “I think he’s a great quarterback and as long as they keep things going and he stays healthy I think they can really do some good things this season.”

The short end of it

Notre Dame was playing a bit shorthanded with five players unable to practice or play because of the ongoing academic fraud investigation. Two of the five on defense – cornerback KeiVarae Russell and defensive end Ishaq Williams – had been projected as starters.

Add in that the Irish were minus starting safety Austin Collinsworth, out with a nee injury, and ND was digging into its depth. Rice quarterback Driphus Jackson was asked if he thought Saturday’s game would be any easier because of the missing personnel.

“Not really. I mean this is Notre Dame. You know they have depth,” Jackson said. “I don’t overlook anybody.”

Jackson’s view

Two Irish defenders in particular jumped out to Jackson. He lauded the work Florida transfer Cody Riggs did in press coverage.

“He’s a baller,” Jackson said of the fifth-year senior cornerback.

Jackson also pointed out sophomore linebacker Jaylon Smith, particularly what he was able to do from a leadership role.

“He is great too,” Jackson said. “I feel that he played really well, and he managed the defense well. He was really quick, and I was surprised by how big he was. But I feel like we could compete with these guys. That was the biggest thing. I feel like we didn’t show up as the offense. All we can do is get better from here.”

A foreign place

Saturday’s meeting was the fifth between the schools, but the first time Rice scored a touchdown against the Irish.

Prior to Saturday, ND had won by scores of 55-2 (1915), 29-0 (1973), 10-3 (1974) and 54-11 (1988). In the ’88 game, the Owls scored on three field goals and a blocked point-after touchdown attempt that they returned for two points.

BWieneke@SBTinfo.com | (574) 235-6428 | Twitter: @bwienekeNDI

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Notre Dame has found the end zone on 10 of its 14 red zone trips with the help of quarterback Everett Golson this season. (SBT Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN)