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updated: 1/7/2013 2:09 PM

Irish eyes began smiling when Kelly anointed Golson his QB

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  • Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson celebrates after scoring the winning touchdown in the third overtime period against Pittsburgh on Nov. 3, 2012, in South Bend, Ind.

      Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson celebrates after scoring the winning touchdown in the third overtime period against Pittsburgh on Nov. 3, 2012, in South Bend, Ind.
    Associated Press

  • Coach Brian Kelly saw something special enough in Everett Golson to hand the reins of the Notre Dame offense to the redshirt freshman. All Golson has done is lead the Irish to a 12-0 regular season and a shot at the BCS national championship tonight against Alabama.

      Coach Brian Kelly saw something special enough in Everett Golson to hand the reins of the Notre Dame offense to the redshirt freshman. All Golson has done is lead the Irish to a 12-0 regular season and a shot at the BCS national championship tonight against Alabama.
    Associated Press

  • Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly

      Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly
    Associated Press

  • Video: ND vs. Bama: A historic matchup

  • Video: BCS championship preview

 
 

Notre Dame's success confirms that the quarterback isn't the most important person in football.

The quarterback evaluator is.

Sometimes it seems like picking a starting QB is like picking a pickpocket out of a police lineup.

"No. 3 sort of looks like him … can you have him turn to his left … yes, I'm sure that's him … well, it is unless No. 2 is."

Bears operatives talk like they're sure Jay Cutler is their franchise quarterback -- but his play still screams that maybe there's somebody else out there somewhere who would be better.

The Seahawks are advancing in the playoffs because head coach Pete Carroll anointed rookie Russell Wilson during the preseason.

The 49ers will be in the Super Bowl if head coach Jim Harbaugh decided correctly by switching from veteran Alex Smith to inexperienced Colin Kaepernick in midseason.

Perhaps in Brian Kelly's spare time he can hire himself out to NFL teams as a QB consultant.

Notre Dame's head coach saw enough of redshirt freshman Everett Golson to declare him the starting quarterback over tested Tommy Rees.

Twelve games later, the Fighting Irish are undefeated and poised to challenge Alabama for the national championship tonight.

Most fascinating as Notre Dame's season progressed was how Golson progressed along with it. He evolved from a rookie to a veteran to a reason the Irish have a chance to upset the favored Crimson Tide.

Notre Dame grew as Golson did, going from winning some games it should have lost to becoming a legitimate title contender.

Other elements were in place: a formidable defense and skilled weapons on offense. But the Irish couldn't become all they wanted to be unless the quarterback was a primary reason.

Golson didn't always make it easy on Notre Dame. He struggled at times early in the season and Rees replaced him occasionally.

But Kelly never forgot what he saw of Golson in practice and on tape. Meanwhile, Notre Dame's offensive staff never stopped developing him.

Golson is one of those quarterbacks who recently burst onto the scene in both college and pro football.

You know, the kind in college like redshirt Texas A&M freshman Johnny Manziel, who won the Heisman Trophy. And the kind in the NFL like rookie Robert Griffin III, who drove the Redskins to the NFC East championship.

Golson can throw it and he can run it. He can pressure a defense with his arm, his legs, his head and his heart.

Combine those attributes and Golson fits Kelly's offense, which probably is why this coach preferred that quarterback over Notre Dame's others.

So, now, is Golson ready to play the game of his life in the biggest game of his life?

Who knows? All anybody knows is that Golson must be great against Alabama because it's nearly impossible to beat the Tide without the quarterback playing great.

Remember, Manziel won the Heisman mostly because he was Johnny Football as Texas A&M beat Alabama.

The Irish hope Golson can approximate Manziel's performance but won't know for sure that he can until the ball is in his hands tonight.

Selecting a spouse, selecting a surgeon, selecting a starting quarterback … they're all life-altering decisions.

It's doubtful that Notre Dame would be where it is if Kelly hadn't identified Golson as the Irish's best chance to be all they could be.

Seriously, maybe Bears general manager Phil Emery should ask Brian Kelly what he thinks of Jay Cutler.


mimrem@dailyherald.com

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