Saturday, January 5, 2013
Kiel says he's not going anywhere
By Matt Fortuna
MIAMI -- Gunner Kiel says he will be at Notre Dame this spring, and he says the thought of transferring has never crossed his mind.
"It honestly hasn't," Kiel said at Sun Life Stadium. "I've been more focused on the season and been more focused on school and other things that are more important to me."
The ballyhooed quarterback recruit-turned-scout-team ace has watched as Everett Golson ascended from a similar role last season to starting quarterback in Monday's Discover BCS National Championship against Alabama.
Junior Tommy Rees has relieved Golson when necessary this season, with redshirt sophomore Andrew Hendrix seeing sparse action as well.
The math shows four men competing for one spot through next season, with Golson holding two more years of eligibility after that and Hendrix one. The domino effect equaling just one potential year for Kiel to be front and center in the quarterback race.
He sees other possibilities, and that starts with entering the competition with the right mindset come spring.
"Anything could happen," Kiel said. "[Golson] could go to the NFL -- you never know. He could also get hurt, other people could get hurt -- there's so many doors that could be opened that I just have to be patient, just wait my turn, wait to get better."
"I'm gonna try, but he's a great quarterback," he added when asked about unseating Golson this spring. "He's going to lead this team and he's going to keep getting better, so I just need to keep getting better and learn from him, and also learn from coach [Brian] Kelly and just try to keep getting better each year."
Saturday's media day being Kiel's first availability to reporters since fall camp, the Les Miles issue came up again. But Kiel took the high road, saying he can't blame the LSU coach for publicly questioning his heart after de-committing from the Tigers in favor of the Irish at the 11th hour.
"Once he said it, I don't blame him at all -- I was dumb during the recruiting process," said Kiel, who had de-committed from Indiana earlier as well. "I couldn't really make up my mind, but I was also doing what was best for me at that time, and that was picking a college. That much pressure and being so highly ranked, I couldn't make up my mind.
"It was hard, but I'm very happy with the decision I made, and I've always respected coach Miles. I'm not going to throw him under the bus, because I think he's a great coach. Everything he stands for I think is great. He's a winning coach. There's nothing more to say. I can't take back what I did, so I respect coach Miles and everything he stands for."
Notes: Redshrt junior running back Cierre Wood said he will announce his decision about his future shortly after Monday's game. … Redshirt senior safety Jamoris Slaughter has filed paperwork to the NCAA to petition for a sixth year and expects to hear in the weeks after Monday's game. Slaughter tore his Achilles in a Week 3 win at Michigan State. … Running back Amir Carlisle said nerve damage suffered during his ankle injury from the spring was what delayed his recovery and forced him to redshirt this season, which he had been granted a waiver to play in following his January transfer from USC after one year there.