Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly has described his team's quarterback dynamic in baseball terms, with Everett Golson as the starter and Tommy Rees as the reliever. But on Saturday, Rees was moved out of the bullpen, starting for the Irish against Miami at Soldier Field.
Golson was benched for a violation of team rules and was not suspended. He took over for Rees after Miami committed a roughing the kicker penalty on a punt following what would've been a three-and-out.
"It's work in progress," Kelly said of Golson on Tuesday. "An analogy that I like to use is he's still cooking. We've taken him out of the oven. He's still learning all of the things that are not necessarily visible from game film. He's still learning how to effectively communicate, and how he's able to lead, and all of those things. So every practice day is a day of his development, and that's how I take it when I go to the field is that we're going to be coaching and teaching every single day with Everett."
With Notre Dame vaulting into the AP top 10, many wondered how long the Irish could stick with a true freshman at quarterback, especially in light of Rees' experience and success filling in for Golson this year. But Kelly has remained steadfast in his assertions that Golson is the team's starter, even after he was pulled midway through the second quarter in Notre Dame's 13-6 win over Michigan Sept. 22.
"I think we're fairly comfortable if we need Tommy to come in and handle some of the offense for us, if we feel like it's necessary, we will," Kelly said after the Michigan game. "But he's just a great asset to have if you need him. To close out a game, we'll continue to go that route. We'd like to continue to develop Everett so we don't have to do that, but we're still going to try to win football games anyway possible."
Entering Saturday, Golson has thrown for 641 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions in 89 attempts. Rees was 0-2 in the snaps he took to start the game.