Thursday, October 4, 2012
Rice likes what he sees from Golson
By Matt Fortuna
Tony Rice had a long conversation with fellow South Carolina native Everett Golson this past summer.
This was not long after Golson's breakout spring game put him on the radars of many, before he emerged from training camp as Notre Dame's starting quarterback.
"A lot of people will try to say you're the next Tony Rice," Rice recalled telling Golson. "And I think you're better than Tony Rice. You have a lot of things to bring to the table, and once you get that shot don't look back. Don't hold back. You dot those I's and cross those T's, because people will be looking at you."
Rice, who quarterbacked the Irish to their last national title in 1988, will be in the Chicago area this weekend for the annual Shamrock Series tilt, joining several members of the 1988 team Thursday in hosting a "Bash for St. Baldrick's" charity event at Joe's Bar in Chicago's Lincoln Park.
The Woodruff, S.C., native has kept a close eye on the progress of this year's undefeated team as he faces one of his biggest rivals, Miami, and he thinks Golson -- a Myrtle Beach product -- is a huge asset for Notre Dame to build around in the years to come.
"I try to lay low," Rice said. "I'm not trying to be like everyone else who's in his ear. We'll have a conversation after the season, and I want to find out from him what did he learn the first year from being quarterback. He's got three more years to play there. Go out and have fun and do what you do best and win."
Four starts have yielded mixed results for Golson, who is undefeated as a starter but was pulled from both home contests in favor of Tommy Rees. The redshirt freshman has completed better than 56 percent of his passes for 641 yards, passing for three touchdowns, rushing for two more, but also throwing three interceptions, including two in the first half against Michigan in his last game.
"I think that's all part of the progression," Kelly said of Golson. "He's got a lot of pride. He's not a guy that I feel lacks confidence, but certainly is quite aware that there is a learning curve that he has to continue to develop on. So when you're taking a highly skilled player that is somebody that is a great competitor, they're never going to be deflated relative to confidence, but they're going to gain more confidence as they understand what they're seeing."
When it comes to a young quarterback being overwhelmed by the moment, look no further than Rice. Entering mid-game as a sophomore in 1987, Rice lined up behind a guard for his first career snap.
Golson said during the team's preseason media day that Rice left that story out during their chat.
"You know what? I just had a memory lapse," Rice quipped this week. "I forgot all about that."