Everett Golson: Witnessing The Birth of a Dynamic Quarterback

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Mike Mayock may have said it best when he suggested we were all witnessing the birth of a dynamic quarterback Saturday. Everett Golson was going all beastly during the Irish’s 48-17 romp against the Rice Owls.

And, really, there is very little wiggle room to argue those sentiments just one day removed from Golson returning to the program after a year away due to some academic no-nos done by the quarterback.

Looking at the stats alone does not do the game Golson had justice. Sure,  14-of-22 passing for 295 yards and running for 41 yards on 12 carries that resulted in five touchdowns does read well in a box-score and sounds neat to say it aloud. However, it was the entirety of Golson’s performance that will have the quarterback on the lips of lots of prognosticators as their new favorite player to hurl out as a guy who can be sneaky great in 2014.

Without anything other than the past to go off of, though, I am not too sure that anyone can say with certainty that Everett Golson is going to be a great quarterback. His only other season with Notre Dame resulted in the Irish’s return to the National Title picture — earning a spot in the Title game itself — but that version of Golson was nothing like the one we saw on Saturday.

As a redshirt fresman Golson more closely resembled what most redshirt freshman do, a player who plays a bit tepid, closer to being a game manager than a playmaker, as well as someone who didn’t seem to have a ton of confidence in his own strong-arm.

It happens. While someone like Jameis Winston makes us forget — or, really, makes us lose perspective — that quarterbacks usually need time to grow, it would have been asking a lot of Everett Golson to be anything like he was on Saturday when he was stealing the job from Tommy Rees just a couple of years ago.

What we knew back then, however, has not changed. Golson continues to be a humorously elusive quarterback. While he might not have the straight line speed of a Robert Griffin III, he does have that East-to-West, toughest freeze-tag opponent ever ability going. Don’t get me wrong. Golson is pretty fast, but not with some sort of jaw-dropping, Usain Bolt-like quicks.

Instead, like many other college quarterbacks before him, Golson can evade pressure in the pocket as if he were covered in a combination of Vaseline, a Metal Gear Solid hiding box and some form of Bill Cosby Gostdad invisibility attribute. Basically, no matter the pressure Golson faces he does a tremendous job of buying extra time and either getting rid of the ball or running up the field for a positive gain.

The biggest difference between Golson as a wide-eyed redshirt freshman and as a Junior who has put his own obstacles in front of him and — seemingly — overcome them, is the fact that this version of Everett Golson is buying even more time, reading defenses as well as going through multiple wide receiver routes, and finding the biggest and — most importantly — best play available.

That’s why the Irish were able to capitalize on so many opportunities yesterday. Despite all the drops by receivers, Notre Dame was putting it on the Owls because Golson made every possession count to the point that it felt like the Irish had a chance for a big play on every time they lined up. It is a feeling that a Notre Dame program has never felt with their offenses and one fans usually equate more with a Oregon Ducks or Texas Tech like program — which is meant as a compliment, yet it is not in anyway meant to hint at the notion that Golson might be a system QB. I mean, um, Tommy Rees did muddle around the levels of being a shit-baggery quarterback in the Brian Kelly system.

One game does not define a quarterback, though. As easy as it would be to overreact less than 24 hours later, proclaiming Everett Golson as the greatest thing since sliced-bread (what was the greatest thing before that?), it wouldn’t make an ounce of sense.

Yes, it is a pretty safe bet to say we witnessed the birth of Everett Golson as a dynamic quarterback on Saturday, but acting like any of us knows if he will be consistently as great as he was in the opener or if he is going to be a great quarterback would be asinine. Like Mayock said, though, dynamic-QB sounds about right. Golson clearly has the ability at his best to be great, to be a playmaker, to put the Irish’s offense on his shoulders and lead them to the endzone more times than he leads them on three-and-outs.

Being a dynamic-quarterback does not mean Golson is great or even consistent. It means he has the ability to be great, even if it is in spurts, even if this labeling of him as this is just for right now. A few more games of Everett Golson playing like a video game version of himself and we may have to reevaluate the way we define a quarterback who looked like his year away from college football was spent being mentored by some magical football fairy from Neverland.

Regardless the reason for Golson’s performance against Rice — which is likely a combination of maturity, more confidence, playing a not-so-great defensive team, giving less hecks, always being this guy and Brian Kelly finally unleashing him, etc., but mostly playing with confidence– the echoes in South Bend are probably awake (again? For like the 20th time in the last decade, I guess), and the world of college football will now have to deal with yet another quarterback who can beat you with his feet, arm, mind, confidence, decision making, etc. — which is to say that Golson has every attribute that anyone could ever want in a quarterback (including a mustache!).

What does all of this mean? Could be nothing. Golson could throw out a stinker next Saturday and the world will collectively forget about Golson throwing off his back foot in the waning moments of the first-half while getting hit for a touchdown, but that wouldn’t change the fact that Everett Golson is one of the most dynamic quarterbacks in all of college football and that his ceiling as a player seems to be higher than that of any character in any Cheech and Chong movie.

If Saturday was any indication, the biggest difference between the Everett Golson who piggy-backed off a Notre Dame defense to play in the BCS Title game two years ago and now; now not only does he know he belongs, but he knows he is really good at being all that and a bag of chips — not just at running around, buying time for his wideouts, but making great decisions, being a team leader and using the arm hanging from his shoulder (with phalanges included) as his biggest weapon.

Everett Golson the dynamic quarterback or Everett Golson the gosh slam scariest thing to hit the football field since we were able to see Charlie Weiss in HD?