After benching, Golson steers Notre Dame to victory

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After benching, Golson steers Notre Dame to victory

Everett Golson finally felt comfortable, and that was despite losing his starting role.

Before Notre Dame's 41-3 throttling of Miami at Soldier Field, the team announced Golson would be benched in favor of Tommy Rees. That's all anybody outside the Irish locker room knew, and it seemed reasonable to posit Golson had lost his starting role only a few days after coach Brian Kelly re-affirmed it in South Bend.

Instead, Rees took three snaps and gave way to Golson, who turned in arguably the best game of his young career, completing 17-of-22 passes for 186 yards while rushing six times for 51 yards.

"I feel little bit more confident," Golson said after the game. "It wasn't necessarily because of this game, just the whole week of preparation really made me feel a little bit more confident. It really showed throughout the game."

That week of preparation, though, involved Golson being dinged for violating a team rule -- thus, the benching to begin the game. Coach Brian Kelly said Golson's punishment stemmed from a meeting with a professor that ran long, and the quarterback didn't communicate that with the team and missed the start of a football obligation.

"But he took full responsibility for it, accountability for it," Kelly said. "I thought he came in and played very well. I was proud of him today."

It was only two weeks ago when Golson was at his worst, throwing two interceptions and looking lost before he was lifted in favor of Tommy Rees from Notre Dame's 13-6 win over Michigan. But with two weeks to re-assess, Golson looked like a completely different quarterback at Soldier Field.

"My main motive tonight was just to have fun, never try to -- I'm not going to make anything too serious, but I think I put a lot of pressure on myself during the Michigan game, so talking to coach Kelly and coach Martin, they really just wanted me to calm down and have fun out there," Golson said.

"I didn't really feel like I was having fun out there," he added about his performance against Michigan. "Just stuff off the field added a little bit of extra pressure or whatnot. But when I'm on that field, I gotta play within myself, I can't let other stuff affect my play."

Golson didn't force anything and didn't make any questionable reads on Saturday. He looked like the quarterback of a 5-0 team, one that's solidly in the AP top 10 and has legitimate BCS aspirations.

With questions mounting about whether a quarterback controversy was brewing in South Bend, the news before Saturday's game probably set off alarm bells at more than a few locations across Notre Dame nation. But Kelly's decision to insert Golson into the game after three plays wasn't about quieting that noise -- it was about Kelly expressing his faith in his freshman quarterback.

"It was important for me after disciplining him to get him back in the game right away, to let him know that I had trust in him, and that I believed in him," Kelly said. "I think that helped him to go in and be relaxed and feel like, hey, I've got the head coach's support here, even though I goofed up, he's going to put me right back in the game. And I think that really helped his confidence and then he backed it up with this play."

Perhaps aiding in Golson's success was the use of his legs. Entering Saturday, Golson had rushed 21 times for -11 yards, but thanks to implementing the zone read into Notre Dame's playbook, he rushed for 51 yards on six carries.

"I felt that it was good that we implemented that in our offense this week, because they never really had a chance to prepare for that because we haven't really shown it before," Golson said.

It took Notre Dame five games to implement the zone read, when the coaching staff finally had enough confidence in Golson to use it. And it's just another example of how Notre Dame's offense is still growing, and has plenty of room for improvement -- even after scoring 41 points.

"Today, we showed a glimpse of what we could be," Golson said. "And just to think about it, to me, is kinda scary. We got all the physical tools. It's just a matter of putting it together and playing as a unit."

Artemi Panarin shows off Duncan Keith's Russian singing skills

Artemi Panarin shows off Duncan Keith's Russian singing skills

Duncan Keith isn't quitting his day job anytime soon, but maybe he can moonlight as a Russian singer.

Artemi Panarin — Keith's Blackhawks teammate and a native of Korkino, Russia — posted an Instagram video Friday of Keith signing along to a song called "Gop-Stop:"

Канадский #розенбаум 😂 Canadian #singer @dk_2_

A video posted by @artemiypanarin on

Here's the YouTube video of the song, which is a famous Russian gangster song:

This is exactly what social media was made for: Bringing worlds together for the amusement and entertainment of others.

Also, hat/tip to Keith for his quality singing/rapping skills.

Dwyane Wade not buying into the Bosh to Bulls speculation

Dwyane Wade not buying into the Bosh to Bulls speculation

ATLANTA — One of the reasons Dwyane Wade was so attractive to the Bulls in free agency was a perceived ability to bring other stars along with him at some point.

Enter Chris Bosh and an ESPN rumor that states the Bulls would be first in line if Bosh becomes free from the Miami Heat on March 1. 

Bosh hasn't played for the Heat in nearly a year after a reoccurrence of blood clots, which could ultimately be deadly. Bosh and the Heat are at an impasse; Bosh wants to play, believing he's found a medication that could work for him and his condition, while the Heat don't feel it's prudent or safe for him to suit up. 

Thus, the impasse.

Since Wade and Bosh are former teammates — and Bosh appeared at the United Center earlier this month for a Bulls-Raptors game — the Bulls seem like they could be a natural destination should he become free.

"Who came up with that? I don't know. I play with the Bulls and I don't even know that," Wade said after the morning shootaround at Philips Arena in Atlanta. "That's news to me, he's one of my good friends. The biggest thing with Chris is the same thing, you know, is his health. He's not even playing basketball right now. He's going to continue on his health and I think that's what he's doing."

[SHOP: Gear up, Bulls fans!]

The Heat can get Bosh off their salary cap Feb. 9th, the anniversary of the last game he played for them. Bosh played 53 games last year after playing 44 in the 2014-15 season, when the blood clot issue first appeared.

A player averaging 20 points and 7.2 rebounds — Bosh's numbers in the 97 games he's played since LeBron James left the Miami Heat in free agency — would be a boon, but as Wade said, his health has to come first for Bosh and whatever franchise is potentially looking at him.

It's already tricky enough when involving Bosh's desire to play and his support from the NBPA, but the NBA doesn't want to have a player potentially die on their watch, making it more difficult for a prospective team to step in and offer Bosh.

"Basketball is something he loves and I'm sure somewhere in the back of his mind he would love to be able to do again," Wade said. "But I know his steps and he's that moment is not here now. I can't even talk about next year."

Wade said the thought of Bosh coming to Chicago hasn't come up in their recent conversations, although even if it had, Wade wouldn't be the one to stoke the flames of speculation when there's so many other hurdles to clear.

"I talk to him. A lot of the issue with the Heat is at the end of the day he has something serious and they want to make sure it's not life-threatening and then it goes from there," Wade said. "Things are said and things are done, but at the end of the day, as I've always said about Chris, I know Chris is worried about his health first.

"He has a family that he loves and he wants to make sure that he's as healthy and whole as he can but also he loves the game of basketball so when that day comes there are always going to be stories about guys where they have friends at."