Golson proving to be the right fit for surging Notre Dame

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Golson proving to be the right fit for surging Notre Dame

Everett Golson went into a hostile environment for the first time in his collegiate career, and he came away with a clean sheet.

Fourteen completions on 32 passes may not look impressive. Same goes for Golson's 178 passing yards, and one touchdown to go with them. Nobody's confusing Golson for a Heisman candidate.

But he didn't turn the ball over on Saturday, allowing the Notre Dame defense to lock down on Michigan State's defense. Notre Dame's defense didn't have its back up against the wall at any point, and in turn were able to keep the Spartans out of the end zone.

Golson's only coughed the ball up twice this season. The first came when he missed a route and forced a pass to Tyler Eifert against Navy, which nearly resulted in a Midshipmen score until Stephon Tuitt scooped up a fumble and sprinted 77 yards for a touchdown. The second was a fumble inside Notre Dame's red zone, and it resulted in Purdue tying things up late in the team's win Sept. 8.

That's not to say those have been Golson's only two mistakes. He threw two balls a week ago that Purdue cornerback Josh Johnson easily could've picked off. Maybe he'll throw a costly interception at some point, but if he does, it'll probably be an isolated incident.

Last year, Tommy Rees threw 14 interceptions, and in a lot of cases they weren't isolated. He threw two interceptions in three of Notre Dame's five losses, and combined with Andrew Hendrix to throw a pair of picks in another defeat.

So far, Golson has looked calm under pressure. Sure, he wasn't given the chance to perform under pressure against Purdue, but he didn't look rattled against a fearsome Michigan State defense in East Lansing.

Coach Brian Kelly still sees room for improvement with Golson, which is pretty obvious. Notre Dame's offensive potential is a whole lot higher than one that just needs to avoid turnovers.

"He did some really good things, but we've got a long way to go," Kelly said of Golson. "He needs to continue to stay on task, Everett, and continue to develop each and every week. There are a lot of things. We are so far from where we need to be offensively. I think a lot of it is just in the stuff that we're doing right now. We don't need to extend the playbook any deeper."

While the defense will be without senior safety Jamoris Slaughter, who was lost for the season with an Achilles injury, it's a strong, talented group. And it's shown to be one that's good enough to carry an offense that's still growing with Golson under center, at least in the first quarter of the season.

Kelly says Notre Dame's offense is nowhere where it needs to be. There's a chance the Irish won't reach that point in 2012. There will be bumps along the road between now and the end of November.

But maybe Notre Dame's offense won't need to reach its full potential for the team to have success -- that's if Golson continues what he's done in these three games. Limit turnovers, and the players around him may be good enough to keep racking up the wins.

Cubs expect Ben Zobrist and Addison Russell to be ready for Opening Night

Cubs expect Ben Zobrist and Addison Russell to be ready for Opening Night

MESA, Ariz. – The Cubs expect Ben Zobrist and Addison Russell to be ready for Opening Night, downplaying any health concerns about their All-Star middle infielders. 

One week out from facing the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium, manager Joe Maddon spent part of Sunday's media session saying how he had no concerns with his World Series MVP's stiff neck and his franchise shortstop's stiff back.

"You can tell with 'Zo,'" Maddon said at the Sloan Park complex. "He'll come around and let me know specifically if he feels it's going to be anything longer than that. He's talking either tomorrow night or the next day."

Zobrist, who spent nine seasons with Maddon's Tampa Bay Rays, hasn't appeared in a Cactus League game since March 19. Maddon also signaled Russell is close to returning to action after being a late scratch from Friday's lineup.

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Not like this, but the Cubs already planned to schedule extra rest for Zobrist, given his age (36 in May), the playoff stress on his body from back-to-back World Series titles and emerging options like Javier Baez on a mix-and-match team. 

All along, Maddon hasn't worried about finding enough at-bats for Baez, knowing that injuries are inevitable and the Cubs have insurance policies up and down the roster that should pay off across a 162-game season. But in this case, it doesn't sound like the Cubs are testing that theory with Zobrist and Russell.

"None of this stuff is really threatening," Maddon said. "The trainers have no real strong issues with anything. It's almost like you'll be overly cautious right now. And that's all we're doing."

Glenbard North's Tyrik Henderson goes 1-on-1 with Edgy Tim

Glenbard North's Tyrik Henderson goes 1-on-1 with Edgy Tim

It's been a good winter for Glenbard North junior three-star ranked defensive back Tyrik Henderson (5-foot-10, 165 pounds). Henderson, who added his latest offer on Saturday from Minnesota, has continued to pile up multiple scholarship offers at an impressive rate heading into the all important spring evaluation period. 

Henderson, who also has been playing travel 7-on-7 this winter for Boom Midwest, is a fierce competitor took time from his busy schedule to take part in the annual Dodgeball Madness charity tournament along with some of his Glenbard North teammates. Henderson fills us in on some of his recent offers along with some recent college visit.

I caught up with Tyrik Henderson at the Fifth Annual Franklin Dodgeball Madness Tournament at Franklink Middle School in Wheaton. Proceeds from the tournament benefited the school, the DuPage Hundred Club, Team Red, White and Blue and The Pat Tillman Foundation.

Watch the following video above.