Share This Page

Notre Dame offense finds a spark

| Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, 7:02 p.m.
Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson carries against Oklahoma in the fourth quarter Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012. (AP)

NORMAN, Okla. — Brian Kelly folded his arms across his chest and shook his head in disgust at a promising Notre Dame drive that stalled in the red zone.

His young quarterback, Everett Golson, had just planted a third-down throw in the grass a few feet too far away for Tyler Eifert to dive and catch it on the 13th play of a series that lasted nearly seven minutes. All that work would end up with no payoff when Kyle Brindza missed on a 35-yard field goal attempt, but it could pay dividends down the road when it comes to Golson's growth.

As his quarterback came to the sideline, Kelly put one arm on either side of Golson's waist and drove home a point: When you have a talented 6-foot-5 tight end, put the ball up high where he has an advantage on defenders, not down on the ground.

“Every single play, there's something out there that needs to be communicated, and it's very important that I got it across to him because later it ended up being a big play for us,” Kelly said, referring to a pass Golson delivered high for a leaping 22-yard catch on the next drive by 6-foot-2 DaVaris Daniels, which helped the Irish to a 30-13 victory against Oklahoma. “When you're dealing with a young quarterback, you have to take those moments.”

Golson, who was unable to complete three games in the first half of the season, is starting to show signs of maturing into the type of leader the Fighting Irish (8-0) will need to stay in the BCS championship picture. They return home to face Pitt (4-4) on Saturday.

Before Saturday, much of Notre Dame's ascent had been built around the nation's second-stingiest defense, led by Heisman Trophy hopeful Manti Te'o at linebacker. But against the Sooners, Kelly said it was “the first time that we showed that we could ... put some points on the board.”

“If we continue to go that way, it's going to give us an offense that's going to be difficult to defend because we'll have great balance,” Kelly said Sunday. “That's what we're trying to get with Everett in there: not an offense that throws it 50 times nor an offense that runs it 50 times (but) one that's balanced and difficult to defend.”

That's what the Irish got in their most difficult test of the season while turning the Sooners into a one-dimensional attack that could only complete short passes. The Irish held a 215-15 advantage on the ground, with Golson contributing 64 rushing yards to go with his 177 through the air.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.