SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Everett Golson didn't need anyone telling him directly that he would not take the field for Notre Dame this season. By Week 2 or 3, when his practice snaps weren't increasing, the freshman quarterback pretty much figured out the scenario on his own.
"Maybe it would be in my best interest to redshirt," Golson recalled, coming to grips with his situation.
The reality that Golson would not be playing this season became public knowledge when sophomore Andrew Hendrix debuted against Air Force on Oct. 8, the official announcement that, at least at that moment, Golson was no higher than fourth on Notre Dame's depth chart.
For a four-star recruit with little experience sitting and watching, Golson experienced an adjustment during the 2011 season.
"This experience really humbled me," the 6-foot, 185-pound Golson said. "Just being a freshman, just learning it takes time to go get acclimated and everything. So it's just been really humbling to be on the scout team and also know, really good for my skill development going against the first-team defense."
Golson was honored as the offensive scout team player of the year, hardly a goal of any decorated freshman upon entering the next level. But Mickey Wilson, Golson's coach at Myrtle Beach High School, said he learned something about his former protege this season.
"He understands the future," Wilson said. "A lot of kids, they just think here and now, especially at that age. And he's a kid that understands what's down the road, and I think at this time that he's gonna sit back and learn the offense and watch everything happen.
"I think it's been a very valuable experience for him. I think he'll probably tell you that, and he's definitely grown from it and I think he'll be ready once his opportunity comes."
That opportunity may come this offseason. Irish coach Brian Kelly has said that Hendrix will relieve Tommy Rees in Dec. 29's Champs Sports Bowl, but the quarterback situation beyond that remains unclear.
Enter Golson into the mix. The dual-threat has a skill set that would seemingly be a natural fit for Kelly's spread offense. He watched this season as Rees and then Hendrix capitalized on Kelly's next-man-in philosophy, and he is optimistic his time is not so far away.
"Just like everybody else," Golson said when asked of his approach to this offseason. "Just knowing that it could be my time now. Obviously the second year you can't really redshirt, so I have to prepare as if I'm going for the starting spot, so I'm definitely gonna do that."