Notre Dame will go with Golson at QB

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Notre Dame will go with Golson at QB

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- There was little hiding it, from the first day of fall camp onward: Everett Golson was the favorite in Notre Dame's quarterback competition. On Thursday, Golson officially came out on top, as coach Brian Kelly announced the sophomore as the starter for Notre Dame's season opener against Navy Sept.1  in Dublin, Irleand.
"It was a tough decision, but Everett clearly won the starting job," Kelly said Thursday.
Golson beat out junior Andrew Hendrix, who saw game action in a limited role last season. That's more than Golson can say, as he has yet to play a down at the collegiate level. But Kelly isn't concerned about his quarterback being an NCAA greenhorn.
"Some of the things I really like from Everett -- his poise was really outstanding, great vision down the field," Kelly said. "Those things are really positive, even if you don't have a lot of experience."
Golson admitted he'll have some butterflies, but doesn't expect them to hinder Notre Dame's chances of winning on Sept. 1.
"There's always going to be anxiety there, being that it's my first college game," Golson said. "I'm always going to be anxious. But my teammates and coaches are going to stay level headed and focused on Navy, and get this victory."
Four months ago, Golson impressed in Notre Dame's Blue & Gold game, throwing two touchdowns while, more importantly, not throwing an interception. After the spring game, Kelly said Golson had the art of quarterbacking down, but not the science, and pointed to his displeasure with Golson's playcalling and ball-handling.
"Everett's mechanics of ball-handling were atrocious in the spring," offensive coordinator Chuck Martin said earlier in fall camp. "Anyone who was at the spring game -- if he could just get the play off, usually he could make something pretty good happen. Unfortunately, too many plays didn't get off.
"The ball-handling aspect is a vast improvement, but where we were starting, we still have a lot more improvement to go to. It'd be hard not to improve what you saw in the spring."
But Golson has improved in those areas enough to earn the starting gig. Golson said Thursday, though, that it hasn't necessarily been practice reps that have helped him get better.
"In the film room," Golson said of where he made his greatest improvement over the last few months. "Like coach Kelly said in the spring game, I have the art of it, but I really didn't have the science. I keep going back to that. That's really what I devoted most of my time to, getting in the film room and getting comfortable reading defenses. I still got a long way to go, but I can see my progression." 
While Golson and Hendrix were competing for the same position, it never was really a battle in the sense of two guys fighting over one spot. Instead, Notre Dame's quarterbacks were competing with a singular goal in mind.
"If all four are better, then the one's going to be better at the end of the day as well," Hendrix said on the outset of camp. "So that's how we view it and that's how we're going to get better."
And on Thursday, Golson said he couldn't have secured the starting job without the help of Notre Dame's other quarterbacks -- including Hendrix.
"Obviously, I'm happy about it, but I just want to thank my teammates, and also the other quarterbacks for us being there and pushing each other," Golson said. "I felt that I wouldn't have reached that potential or reached where I've come if it wasn't for Andrew, Gunner Kiel and Tommy Rees helping me out."
While Kiel probably won't see the field in his freshman year, there certainly exists the possibility that Hendrix or Rees could take over for Golson at some point. Both Kelly and Martin have hardly ruled out considering Rees after his Week 1 suspension is up, noting that the more experienced quarterback on the roster could find his way back into the discussion if their starter against Navy struggles. 
"They made the announcement that i'm the starter for Navy, that doesn't solidify that I'm the starter for the whole season," Golson said. "I'm going to keep my foot on the gas."
Last year, Kelly named Dayne Christ as the team's starter leading up to their season opener against South Florida. Christ only lasted two quarters in that role before he was pulled in favor of Rees, who he had beat out in fall camp. Naturally, Kelly is hoping that same scenario won't play out again in 2012. 
"I don't think you go in any year and think boy, I want to make a change at halftime," Kelly said. "You want to be able to stick with a guy and build continuity. Especially with a guy that's got four seasons of competition remaining. You want to build on that."
Notre Dame will take the field in just over a week at Aviva Stadium in Dublin, home of Ireland's national soccer and rugby teams. It'll be Golson leading the charge, and while the significance of his accomplishment isn't lost on him, he isn't exactly putting much thought into it.
"It definitely means a lot, but I know with this comes a lot of responsibility," Golson said. "So I'm not going to rejoice in it. Like I said, I'm happy about it, but I also understand that it's time to go to work now. So my main focus is on Navy."

Cubs' Carl Edwards Jr. looks to follow in Mariano Rivera's footsteps

Cubs' Carl Edwards Jr. looks to follow in Mariano Rivera's footsteps

Carl Edwards Jr. couldn't dream up a better pitcher to try to emulate than Mariano Rivera.

Not for a young right-hander who is still getting used to being a reliever with a cutter as his bread and butter pitch.

After picking up his first career save late in 2016, Edwards mentioned how he has been watching video of Rivera. At the Cubs Convention earlier this month, Edwards name-dropped Rivera again in response to a fan question and went into more detail with exactly what he's aiming to accomplish by watching Rivera tape.

Let's be clear: Mariano Rivera is inimitable. He's a once-in-a-lifetime talent and there almost assuredly will never be a better closer in Major League Baseball.

But Edwards knows that. 

"He's great. He's a Hall of Famer," Edwards said. "He goes out there like he has the world in the palm of his hand. He's very competitive; I've never seen him back down. That's one [takeaway] for myself — I'm gonna go out and never back down.

"I don't really get into trying to be like him. I just look more into how he goes about his business. That's something that I can control — how I go about my business."

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Cubs coach Mike Borzello was there with Rivera in 1997 when the now-legendary cutter was born.

It's not fair to compare Edwards' cutter to one of the greatest pitches ever, but his version is pretty nasty in its own right:

The Cubs are still searching for long-term answers in the rotation, but don't have any intentions of moving Edwards back to a role as a starter.

Like Edwards, Rivera began his career as a starting pitcher coming up through the Yankees system. But Edwards actually has a leg up on baseball's all time saves leader: Edwards' first save came in his age 24 season while Rivera didn't tally his first save until age 26 in New York.

Edwards also struck out 13 batters per nine innings in 2016 while Rivera never posted eye-popping whiff totals (a career 8.2 K/9 rate).

As Edwards gets set for what he and the Cubs hope will be his first full season in the big leagues in 2017, his maturation will be important in an age of baseball where relief pitchers have never been more valued.

Rivera pitched in the playoffs nearly every year, routinely working more than one inning and posting ridiculous postseason numbers: 0.70 ERA, 0.759 WHIP and 42 saves while taking home the World Series MVP in 1999 and ALCS MVP in 2003.

The Cubs hope Edwards will be pitching in the postseason on a regular basis, too.

For now, the 25-year-old is still reveling in the glory following the 2016 Cubs championship.

He served as honorary drummer at the Carolina Panthers game in November.

"That was pretty amazing. That's a highlight of my offseason," Edwards said.

He grew up as a Pittsburgh Steelers fan despite being a South Carolina native, but Edwards said he did get a pair of Cam Newton cleats to wear for 2017 when he and Cubs teammates like Addison Russell or Matt Szczur throw the football around in the outfield to get loose.

Edwards was also blown away by the reception from Cubs fans at the Convention — "This is my third year and every year as been better" — but still hasn't fully wrapped his mind around the ending of the 108-year drought.

"Everything happened so quick," he said. "Hopefully in the next couple weeks when I have a break, I can sit down and soak it all in."

Vote for this week's High School Lites Viewers' Choice Game of the Week

Vote for this week's High School Lites Viewers' Choice Game of the Week

Who wants it more?

We are putting High School Lites, Chicagoland’s top prep sports show, in the hands of area basketball fans in our “Viewers’ Choice Game of the Week.” Fans will get the chance to pick one game that the @CSNPreps crew will cover on Friday night. We will send our cameras to the game that gets the most votes; highlights of that game will appear on that night’s “High School Lites” broadcast at 11:00pm. The show also live streams at csnchicago.com. High School Lites will also have broadcast replays at 7:30am and 8:30am the following Saturday. This week, for the first time ever in our “Viewers’ Choice” poll, we will have girls basketball as our focus:

Warren at Lake Forest, 7:00pm

Glenbrook South at Maine South, 7:00pm

Vernon Hills at Maine West, 7:30pm

Poll opens Monday at 12:00pm and closes Thursday at 4:00pm. Here is what fans need to do to vote:

**Follow @CSNPreps on Twitter.

**Note the “pinned Tweet” atop the @CSNPreps feed. Vote for the game you want us to cover.

**Spread the word! 

We will make an announcement on @CSNPreps just after 4pm Thursday with the official results of which game will be covered. And as a reminder, be sure to follow @CSNPreps for updates on the “Viewers’ Choice Game of the Week,” along with other basketball news, scores and highlights this season.