Weather could be a factor in QB Everett Golson’s debut for Irish
August 31, 2012 11:52PM
FILE - In this April 21, 2012, file photo, Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson sprints out of the pocket during the Blue Gold college football game in South Bend, Ind. Golson and Andrew Hendrix have emerged as the front runners to be Notre Dame's starting quarterback. (AP Photo/Joe Raymond, File)
Updated: October 2, 2012 6:10AM
DUBLIN, Ireland — First it was sunny and warm. Then it was windy and chilly. Then it started to rain. Then the sun came back out.
Took about 10 minutes.
“I have no idea what season it is over here,” Notre Dame defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore said.
Well, it’s technically summer, but it doesn’t matter much. Irish weather is Irish weather — it’s constantly changing, it’s usually blustery, and rain is almost always right around the corner.
Hardly ideal conditions for a quarterback making his first college appearance, but that’s what Notre Dame redshirt freshman Everett Golson faces Saturday against Navy at Aviva Stadium.
The forecast calls for overcast skies and 20-25 mph winds. Golson’s primary charge as he gets his feet wet is to protect the football and avoid the turnover problems that plagued the Irish throughout last season. The wind won’t make it easy.
“You have to be on top of your game or the conditions will affect you,” ND coach Brian Kelly said.
Tight end Tyler Eifert said Golson looked sharp throwing in the wind at Thursday’s practice after some early adjustments.
“He’ll be fine,” Eifert said. “What helps him (is) he spins the ball really well, he throws a tight spiral. That helps in the wind.”
Navy, on the other hand, wouldn’t mind if the skies opened up and the wind ripped through the stadium all day long. Running their traditional triple-option, the Midshipmen averaged fewer than six completed passes per game last season.
For ND, Golson’s hardly the only player stepping into a new role. Theo Riddick — a receiver the past two years — will start at tailback with Cierre Wood suspended for the first two games. A largely untested receiving corps will try to fill the void left by all-time leading receiver Michael Floyd.
And Bennett Jackson and KeiVarae Russell — a true freshman and converted tailback — will each start at cornerback for the first time.
Key player: Linebacker Manti Te’o must lead a disciplined defensive attack to contain the triple option. It was only two years ago Navy ran for 367 yards in a 35-17 win over the Irish.
ND will win if: Golson protects the football. As Kelly said, “Let’s make it clear: He will make mistakes.” The question is, how many? If Golson limits the inevitable rookie miscues, the Irish should have no trouble with the Midshipmen.
Navy will win if: all of Notre Dame’s rookies play like rookies. A monsoon wouldn’t hurt, either.
Prediction: Notre Dame 31, Navy 17
Sports editor Mark Lazerus