FILE - In this Aug. 9, 2014, file photo, Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly, right, talks with quarterback Everett Golson during practice in South Bend, Ind. Golson has reclaimed the job as Notre Dame's starting quarterback after being suspended last semester for academic impropriety. Coach Brian Kelly on Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2014, said Golson would start against Rice on Aug. 30 and said he hopes he will be the starter for the entire season. (AP Photo/Joe Raymond, FILE)
It's game week for the Notre Dame football team and the most anticipated return is of course that of quarterback Everett Golson. Golson missed all of last season due to an academic suspension.
By all accounts, Golson has stepped up his game in every way. Everett beat out Malik Zaire in fall camp to winning the starting job.
And sure he was the favorite to do so. After all, he was the primary quarterback for the Irish during an undefeated 2012 season. But Brian Kelly described that as Everett riding the bus along for the ride.
Now Golson is a leader has changed according to Kelly. The Irish coach says Everett used to have spotty attendance and used to be late for team events. We remember Golson did not start against Miami at Soldier Field in Chicago back in 2012 for being late to a team meeting.
Those issues are long gone.
"He wasn't doing the things leaders do," Kelly said of the 2012 Golson. " Now he's first to everything. He's the first one to speak up if things aren't going well. "He's matured and he knows what great leadership looks like, and he's paid attention to it and knows what it looks like. Now he's that guy out in front, and he's not the guy behind. That comes with maturity, and that comes with knowing what good leadership looks like."
Golson's teammates agree that Everett has become a leader.
"That's one of the biggest things I've noticed," center Nick Martin says. "I've been so proud of Everett. He's been awesome. Awesome, awesome, awesome. Vocally and he's having fun, getting us hyped, he's getting guys lined up at the ball. He's doing an unbelievable job."
Golson and Notre Dame begin the 2014 season Saturday at 3:30 against Rice at Notre Dame Stadium. Countdown to Kickoff gets you started at 2pm here on WNDU.