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Tuesday, March 4, 2014
3-point stance: Golson returns for Irish

By Ivan Maisel

1. Cleaned out my closet over the weekend and found a promotional poster from a trip I covered in 2008 in which five Division I head coaches visited U.S. troops in the Middle East. The trip was six years -- and a cumulative eight job changes -- ago. Charlie Weis has gone from Notre Dame to Florida to Kansas; Tommy Tuberville from Auburn to Texas Tech to Cincinnati; Jack Siedlecki from Yale to Wesleyan; Randy Shannon from Miami to TCU to Arkansas. Only Mark Richt from Georgia has remained in place. I’m guessing you could select randomly five head coaches in 2008 and come up with a similar result. What a business.

2. Everett Golson returned to the football field at Notre Dame on Monday. How much did the Irish miss him last year? While total yardage and touchdowns remained virtually the same from 2012 to 2013, look deeper. The run/pass yardage ratio in 2012 was 46/54. Last season, it shifted to 37/63. Trips into the red zone dropped from 60 to 45. Notre Dame missed Golson’s ability to run. Quarterback rushing yards went from 285 yards to minus-30. Every defense is stressed by a running quarterback. The Irish have that threat again.

3. I love that Paul Chryst canceled Pitt’s spring game because his young team would benefit more from another practice than a pretend game, especially with the relatively low number of available players (seniors are gone, freshmen haven’t arrived, and the injured are recuperating). And I love that Chryst felt the need to apologize for doing so. Spring games are a valuable marketing tool to rekindle interest among fans during the long offseason. But I bet more teaching goes on in practice than in a spring game.