Everett Golson threw for two touchdowns to lead the way in Notre Dame's quarterback competition during the Fighting Irish's spring game Saturday.
While his touchdowns wowed, his fumble contributed to a six-turnover total for the Irish offense. George Atkinson III was equally as electric, amassing 127 yards rushing on the day with one touchdown, but also fumbled twice.
"Both of those guys are exciting, electric players, but they are a heart attack for me," said Head Coach Brian Kelly of Golson and Atkinson. "We've got to get them there, because I think we all see that they've got great skill. But they are guys that are a work in progress."
Despite Kelly's efforts to emphasize ball protection among the competing quarterbacks, each had at least one turnover. Tommy Rees, Andrew Hendrix and Gunner Kiel each had an interception.
But it wasn't all bad.
"I think we saw some things that we haven't seen before in terms of ball placement," Kelly said. "Then we saw some errors that, unfortunately, are all too familiar. So, I think there were some strides made, but clearly we're not there yet."
Coach Brian Kelly elected to rotate Rees, Hendrix and Golson on alternating possessions in the first half and then allowed Kiel to run all the plays in the 16-minute running clock second half. Kiel was 5 of 9 for 57 yards.
"Obviously, it’s frustrating to throw an interception," said Rees of his performance. "You never want that to happen. But the reps thing--I know were battling. there’s four of us and I understand the split time. It would be nice to get a couple series in a row but playing competing with them we all support one another and the reps are what they are."
Golson completed 11 of 15 passes for 120 yards and ran for 25 yards on six carries. Rees was 7 of 14 for 84 yards and Hendrix was 4 of 9 for 51 yards and a touchdown.
After the game, Golson was in good spirits about his performance.
"I feel like I kind of put myself into the race," he said. "If I had to asses the day I would say that it was average. Like I said I made some good plays, but there’s still some stuff I have to clean up."
"There were some good things and some bad," said Hendrix. "I started off strong, obviously threw an interception, which is not what you want. The thing about this spring versus any other time is that I know better (than to make mistakes). I knew what I should be doing and its just attention to detail at this point."
While the Blue-Gold game marks the end of Spring football at Notre Dame, Kelly hopes his players carry the momentum over to the fall.
"We're hoping that this summer is an opportunity for (the quarterbacks) to move past some of the areas of concern and now come into camp where we really can start to narrow down who those guys are going to be competing for the starting position."