Blue and Gold Illustrated

February 2014 Issue

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Page 43 of 111

A Peer Into THE FUTURE Five of the top storylines entering 2014 A BY LOU SOMOGYI year ago at this time, after Notre Dame's appearance in the BCS National Championship Game, most of the 2013 themes centered on the intangibles. Can Notre Dame build on its success with the proverbial target now on its back? Where would the player leadership emerge minus Manti Te'o and several others? Can the bounces and injuries fall the right way a second year in a row? Now entering 2014 coming off a 9-4 ledger, the themes are more personnelbased, both with players and coaches. 1. EVERETT GOLSON & 'THE NOISE' How would Notre Dame have fared in 2013 had junior quarterback Everett Golson not committed an academic transgression that left him exiled from Notre Dame during the 2013 fall campaign? That question haunted Fighting Irish followers in quest of a second straight BCS bid. Golson was officially readmitted to the university Dec. 13 and will begin attending classes again at the start of the spring semester Jan. 14. Golson received instruction from esteemed quarterback coach George Whitfield this fall, but head coach Brian Kelly was more impressed with Golson's mental frame of mind and maturity after meeting with him in South Carolina last month. "He's physically more mature, over 200 pounds. He looked great and is in great physical condition," Kelly said. "I think I saw a young man that understands what he's coming back to. He even said, 'There's going to be a lot of people out there that are looking at me and not all of them are going to want to see me succeed.' "… The conversations were a little different about the expectations that are on him. He's got to come back and get back into academics and the community. He's got to come back and earn the [starting] job back." According to Kelly, Golson's first step is to build back his "bank of trust" that was nearly depleted. "He's done everything we've asked of him," Kelly said. "I think he's added a little to the bank of trust over this time.

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