Golson unleashed as Notre Dame's quarterback

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Golson unleashed as Notre Dame's quarterback

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- The plan all along was to develop a redshirt freshman quarterback, all while trying to fulfill the lofty expectations annually placed on Notre Dame. That created a balance in the early and middle parts of the season, with seasoned junior Tommy Rees acting as a safety net for a greenhorn in Everett Golson.

But in the latter portion of the 2012 season, Golson has come far enough in his development to the point where there may not be a safety net. With back-to-back good games under his belt -- albeit against less-than-stellar defenses -- it appears Golson has traded in his learner's permit for a driver's license.

"I think so," Kelly responded when asked if Golson was at the point where he'd play through any struggles. "The interception he threw -- we were at a point where it was pretty clear Wake Forest was having difficulty stopping us. For us to give the ball up, those are the foolish and careless mistakes that he made early in the year. But he's so much further along, that those are ones that he comes to the sideline and says something before you say something to him, and you know he's on that right trend in terms of understanding."

When Kelly yanked Golson midway through the second quarter of Notre Dame's win over Michigan in September, it was because his first-year starter was lost and "mentally done." Golson was making mistakes, and he couldn't explain why. A month and a half later, he's become able to diagnose his poor decisions.

"I was kind of mad about a couple of throws that I could have made," Golson said after Notre Dame's 38-0 win over Wake Forest. "Talk about that interception. It was a terrible decision, really terrible decision. I kind of came to the line and looked like a rookie a little bit."

That interception referred to by Kelly and Golson, a heave toward a double-covered Robby Toma in the end zone, maybe wasn't a rookie mistake in the sense of misreading the coverage. It was a rookie mistake in the sense of failing to reign in his confidence, as before that Golson sliced apart Wake Forest's defense with incredible ease.

But outside of that interception, what Golson showed on Saturday was his ceiling as an explosive quarterback. Notre Dame has slowly opened up its playbook for Golson, putting more trust in his playmaking ability from week to week. In Notre Dame's Week 2 win over Purdue -- in which Golson was pulled for the final series -- Kelly and offensive coordinator Chuck Martin wouldn't have thought about letting their quarterback buck a pass 40 yards toward the end zone.

"He's got the ability to throw it, he can run the football, he's elusive," Kelly summed up Saturday. "I think we're seeing a guy that's growing each and every week."

The next step, now, for Golson is to win at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to send Notre Dame to the BCS Championship game. That's plenty of pressure to put on a player making only his 10th career start. But Golson has been at his best playing in other hostile environments -- his performance facing a record-setting crowd at Oklahoma Memorial Stadium helped spur Notre Dame's title run. And his experience playing in all the close games at Notre Dame Stadium, too, could come in handy if the Irish get locked in a neck-and-neck battle.

And if he can put all that together and not only avoid turnovers, but play to his potential against USC, it may be time to book your flight to Miami.

"All of it, the nine games that he's started, winning on the road, having to come in and lead our football team to a win against Pittsburgh, all of those things go in to Saturday," Kelly said. "And all those will be positives for him going into the USC game."

Cubs manager Joe Maddon misses his chance to guest-star in ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’

Cubs manager Joe Maddon misses his chance to guest-star in ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’

MESA, Ariz. – This is a big bowl of wrong: Cubs manager Joe Maddon might have missed his only window to make the "Curb Your Enthusiasm" cameo appearance Jeff Garlin promised. 

Garlin – a Second City alumnus and one of several celebrity fans within the team's orbit – had offered Maddon a role whenever Larry David brought the band back together for the loosely scripted HBO comedy.

But last week's Cactus League media event at the Arizona Biltmore conflicted with filming in Southern California, where "Curb Your Enthusiasm" is working on a ninth season after a five-year hiatus.

"There was one matchup, and I couldn't get there," Maddon said before Sunday's World Series rematch against the Cleveland Indians at Sloan Park. "I just couldn't do it. It'll happen."

During an all-over-the-place session with reporters that lasted 20-plus minutes, Maddon declined to make any Oscar predictions, saying he's into Netflix and Hulu now and doesn't really go to the movies anymore.

Maddon also hasn't watched much – or any – of the World Series highlights or documentaries. When it came to the handling Aroldis Chapman part, there were some boos inside Chicago's Civic Opera House during the premiere of Major League Baseball's "The 2016 World Series."

But Maddon said he basically skipped that type of content after being Mike Scioscia's bench coach for the 2002 Anaheim Angels and managing the Tampa Bay Rays to the 2008 World Series.

"You get busy and I don't know," Maddon said. "I need to start reading more and watching Netflix less."

Didn't you say that last spring?

"I did," Maddon said.

Maddon had been addicted to cable news during last year's polarizing presidential campaign: "But, damn, it's gotten really annoying, so I stopped watching all that stuff. It's just not good for your brain. It's really not. There's nothing to be gained."

When Maddon starts rolling, it's not hard to picture him in a scene with David and J.B. Smoove. Shaquille O'Neal, John McEnroe and Bill Buckner are among the sports figures with "Curb Your Enthusiasm" credits.

"That was the only day, so I don't know how we're going to figure this out," Maddon said. "First, they had one day set up, and that was going to be good. And then they had to change it to this other day, which was not good. So we'll have to (come up with something else), even if it's maybe a picture on the wall or a phone call."

Preview: Corey Crawford ill, Scott Darling in for Blackhawks vs. Blues

Preview: Corey Crawford ill, Scott Darling in for Blackhawks vs. Blues

The Blackhawks were already without Niklas Hjalmarsson on Sunday night. Now they’re without Corey Crawford as well.

Crawford is ill and Scott Darling will start in his place when the Blackhawks host the St. Louis Blues at the United Center. Crawford was expected to start but did not skate this morning – goaltending coach Jimmy Waite took the other net. Coach Joel Quenneville does not believe Crawford has the mumps – “I haven’t heard the word mumps around here,” he said. The Vancouver Canucks are currently working through an outbreak of the mumps and several teams battled it a few seasons ago.

As for the backup, Quenneville was hoping Lars Johansson could be up in an emergency situation, as long as logistics work out. The Rockford IceHogs are scheduled to play at the Ontario (Calif.) Reign later today.

Marian Hossa did not skate this morning but he is expected to play tonight. As Quenneville said on Saturday, Hjalmarsson is day-to-day with the upper-body injury he sustained on Thursday against the Arizona Coyotes but is out tonight.

The last time the Blackhawks faced the Blues was in their Winter Classic game on Jan. 2. A month later coach Ken Hitchcock was fired and, now under Mike Yeo, the Blues have gone 7-3-0 since then. That includes two losses heading into their bye week, however, which they come out of tonight.

“I think usually teams seem to respond pretty well with coaching changes. Whenever you get something new, something to renew the group, whether it’s systems or different energy in the locker room, teams seem to respond at least in the beginning,” Jonathan Toews said. “We can expect this team to be really hard to play against and obviously pretty eager to, maybe, be better overall than they have been all year, knowing what they’re capable of as a team. We know whether we’re playing St. Louis or Minnesota, teams that are close to us in the points race, the points are always huge.”

BLACKHAWKS VS. ST. LOUIS BLUES

6:30 p.m.

TV: NBCSN

Live stream: NBC Sports app

Radio: WGN 720 AM

Chicago Blackhawks

Forward lines

Nick Schmaltz -Jonathan Toews-Richard Panik

Artemi Panarin-Artem Anisimov-Patrick Kane

Tomas Jurco-Marcus Kruger-Marian Hossa

Ryan Hartman-Tanner Kero-Andrew Desjardins

 

Defensive pairs

Duncan Keith-Trevor van Riemsdyk

Michal Kempny-Brent Seabrook

Brian Campbell-Michal Rozsival

 

Goaltender

Scott Darling

 

INJURIES/ILLNESS: Corey Crawford (ill).

 

St. Louis Blues (via NHL.com)

Forward lines

Alex Steen-Paul Stastny-Vladimir Tarasenko

Jaden Schwartz-Patrik Berglund-David Perron

Dmitrij Jaskin-Jori Lehtera-Magnus Paajarvi

Scottie Upshall-Kyle Brodziak-Ryan Reaves

 

Defensive Pairs

Jay Bouwmeester-Alex Pietrangelo

Carl Gunnarsson-Kevin Shattenkirk

Joel Edmundson-Colton Parayko

 

Goaltender

Jake Allen

 

INJURIES/ILLNESS: None.