Everett Golson’s role is about to change.
In 2012, Notre Dame’s freshman quarterback wasn’t asked to do a whole lot. Coach Brian Kelly basically wanted him to manage the game well and not make careless mistakes resulting in turnovers.
Golson delivered, leading the Fighting Irish to a perfect 12-0 regular season and a berth in the BCS National Championship Game.
But, as they say, that was last year. Now Golson will be counted on heavily to generate offense.
To do that, he’ll need to elevate his game.
No longer can Golson rely on the veteran duo of Theo Riddick and Cierre Wood in the backfield or look for reliable tight end Tyler Eifert when he drops back to pass. Those three playmakers have all departed so players like Golson must step it up.
Kelly had to really like what he saw from Golson last fall. He’s a dual-threat quarterback who has a strong arm and has the ability to create when things break down.
Golson entered last season after winning what was a pretty fierce battle for the starting spot. His numbers were somewhat modest as he completed a tad under 59 percent of his passes for 12 touchdowns and six picks.
Expect Golson to be more comfortable running Kelly’s offense in 2013. He’ll be a year older and wiser.
Kelly hopes a better understanding of the offense means Golson can be more of a weapon in the read-option game. If anything, Golson should showcase his legs even more as a sophomore after running for nearly 300 yards and six scores during Notre Dame’s magical season.
Golson showed just how special a quarterback he could be in the last five games of the season, throwing for better than 1,400 yards and eight touchdowns, while running for four more.
Down the stretch Golson threw more and threw more downfield so his yards per completion improved.
The second half of the season was a prelude of things to come as Kelly will direct his offense through Golson and expect a lot now from his seasoned quarterback.
So with No. 5 back running the show, expect Notre Dame’s offense to be much improved over a year ago.
Doug Griffiths is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and the US Basketball Writers Association. Doug is a columnist/writer for RantSports. Follow him on Twitter @ISLgriffiths and Facebook.