CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. -- Tyler Eifert led all FBS tight ends in receptions and yards last year, cementing himself as one of the nation's best at his position. But the senior captain has largely been lost in Notre Dame's offensive shuffle for most of 2012 -- that is, until the last two weeks.
Eifert caught a season-high six passes for 62 yards in Notre Dame's 29-26 win over Pitt, and Saturday had six receptions for 67 yards as Notre Dame beat Boston College 21-6. Of those six grabs, five went for first downs, and Eifert averaged 11.2 yards per catch in the game.
"What I was trying to do was let Eifert be 6-5," Golson explained. "It wasn't always the perfect pass, but wherever he's at in a few-foot radius, I know he's going to go get it."
That recent increase can partly be pegged on Everett Golson's continued development, with the redshirt freshman playing at his best for plenty of Notre Dame's last three games. While Tommy Rees seemingly looks for Eifert nearly every time he enters a game, Golson hasn't found Eifert as much in his first year at the helm despite the tight end being one of the best pass-catchers in the nation.
But as Golson has come on strong in recent weeks, so has his connection with Eifert.
"They're feeling more comfortable," coach Brian Kelly said. "Getting the ball to Eifert is obviously very important, and putting the ball in a good position where he can go up and use his size. And that's what I liked tonight, the little nuances of his play tonight is he put the ball in areas where Tyler can play 6-5. Because if he can play at that size, he's hard to defend."
It's took about three-fourths of the season, but Golson has finally started to get on the same wavelength as Eifert. With DaVaris Daniels out through the regular season, that could be an important key for Notre Dame's offense against Wake Forest and USC.
"We're growing, he's a young quarterback, and he's getting better every day along with the rest of the guys," Eifert said. "More time together has definitely helped."
What's clicked for Golson is that he's learned he doesn't have to be perfect to get the ball to Eifert. For a developing quarterback, that's a fantastic safety net.
"Throwing the ball to Eif, he's such a great player, and me throwing the ball anywhere near him I'm know he's going to go get it," Golson said. "So I think it gives me a little more leeway."