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Football: Running the show

Matthew DeFranks | Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Five games into the year, Irish sophomore quarterback Everett Golson finally got to use his tools.

Golson, who leads the No. 7 Irish into a matchup with No. 17 Stanford, was unleashed in the ground game during Notre Dame’s 41-3 win over Miami on Saturday. The sophomore signal-caller rushed for 51 yards on six carries, effectively executing the zone-read option.

Irish coach Brian Kelly said the wrinkle was a new one for Golson.

“Certainly it was the first time that we ran him and what I like that he did in the running game and showed progress other than running him was he went north and south,” Kelly said. “He wasn’t out there shaking and trying to make people miss, he put his foot in the ground and he went north and south.”

Golson, who was recruited as a dual-threat quarterback, came into the Miami game with negative-11 yards rushing despite scoring two touchdowns on the ground.

“We were just getting him out on the field and getting him playing and enjoying the experience,” Kelly said. “We were just so focused on getting him on the field and giving him an opportunity to compete. That’s really what we were all thinking about.”

Golson, in addition to the zone-read, was also asked to run a two-minute drill at the end of the first half against Miami. Golson led the Irish on a 6-play, 53-yard drive in 1:02 that set up Notre Dame for a field goal. Sophomore kicker Kyle Brindza missed a 34-yard attempt.

In the 20-17 win over Purdue, Kelly pulled Golson for the last drive of the game and inserted junior quarterback Tommy Rees. Kelly said Golson’s two-minute drive management against Miami was encouraging.

“We thought he managed it fairly well, maybe too aggressively,” Kelly said. “He was aggressive, but I thought he made strides and being comfortable out there and really doing the right things necessary to be effective.”

Avoiding the noise

While ESPN’s “College GameDay” is grabbing all the headlines, Notre Dame will also be getting attention from other media outlets this weekend.

ESPN’s “Mike and Mike in the Morning” radio show, featuring Mike Greenberg and former Irish football player Mike Golic, will air live Friday morning from the Notre Dame campus. NFL Films and NBC will be showing an hour-long feature at 2:30 p.m. Saturday about Notre Dame’s matchups with Michigan and Miami.

“I think each program I have had has presented different challenges, but I will go back to the process and keeping them focused on the process on a day‑to‑day basis not only myself but all of our coaches,” Kelly said.

Kelly said, however, the outside attention will not affect the team.

“Well, I think I’m seasoned enough to know what noise is and how that affects 18- to 21-year-olds on a day‑to‑day basis and the coaches,” Kelly said. “I think I’m aware of it. The noise is there regardless of whether you win or lose, it’s there constantly.

“I don’t think that’s different in terms of what I’ve tried to do week‑to‑week whether I was at Grand Valley State and we won 24 consecutive games and now the Detroit newspaper was covering us, that was a lot of noise for us.  It’s just on a larger scale, but it’s the same noise.”

Contact Matthew DeFranks at mdefrank@nd.edu