Kelly: Golson should be 100 percent for OU game

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Kelly: Golson should be 100 percent for OU game

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Brian Kelly decided Friday he didn't want Everett Golson to play against BYU, citing health concerns following a concussion the redshirt freshman suffered against Stanford.

So Tommy Rees started Saturday, leaving many to wonder if it would finally spur the quarterback controversy that logic says should've materialized a few weeks ago.

But, as has been the case since Week 2, Kelly reiterated that Golson is Notre Dame's starting quarterback. He'll regain that role next week for Notre Dame's biggest game of the year to date, a showdown with No. 9 Oklahoma in Norman that carries plenty of BCS implications.

"He wanted to play," Kelly said, adding there was no chance Golson was going to play against BYU. "He made his case. I just felt like where we were (during the week) and my evaluation of him cumulatively, I felt like this was the best thing to do. He was supportive, he was great on the sideline. But he clearly, he really wanted to get in there as well.

"We feel like we've got a kid now that's 100 percent ready to go for Oklahoma."

Rees didn't blow the hinges off Notre Dame's depth chart on Saturday, though, completing seven of 16 attempts for 117 yards. He threw for a touchdown and was picked off, although the latter was hardly his fault -- wide receiver DaVaris Daniels whiffed on a pass, which bounced off his face mask and into the waiting hands of BYU linebacker Kyle Van Noy.

One thing Rees did show that Golson hasn't this year was a connection with tight end Tyler Eifert, although it was fleeting. All of Eifert's stats were compiled in the first quarter, with Rees finding him four times for 73 yards and a touchdown. Those four receptions were as many as Eifert had Oct. 13 against Stanford, and were one more than he had against Michigan State, Michigan and Miami combined.

"There's no magic there," Kelly said. "They clearly are very close friends, we all know that. They have been together for a while. But the routes were called to get him the football and we connected on those opportunities."

But the opportunities dried up in the second quarter, as Rees didn't attempt a pass in the final 15 minutes before the half. Rees didn't complete a pass from the start of the second quarter until the final seconds of the third, and then only threw once in the fourth. As the game progressed, it became clear if Notre Dame was going to win it, it was going to be on the ground.

So while Golson's development has become a series-by-series process, perhaps he wouldn't have gained much by playing Saturday.

"He could have reversed, pivoted and handed the ball off like Tommy did 30, 40 times in a row," Kelly said. "I think when we cut through all of this, my gut feeling was I wanted to err on the side of caution relative to playing him."

McDonald's All-American Games return to United Center

McDonald's All-American Games return to United Center

The McDonald's All-American Games return to the United Center for the seventh consecutive year on Wednesday night as the nation's elite boys and girls high school basketball players take the floor.

The 40th annual games begin with the girls game at 4 p.m. while the boys game will follow at 6 p.m.

The 2017 McDonald's game won't have a lot of local talent to keep an eye on, besides Chicago native and center Brandon McCoy, but the national Class of 2017 is still a fun group to check out for local basketball fans.

Headlined by top prospects like small forward Michael Porter Jr. (Missouri), center DeAndre Ayton (Arizona),  center Wendell Carter (Duke) and point guard Trevon Duval (uncommitted), this year's McDonald's game features a lot of flashy guards, high-flying wings and talented big men.

Over the years, fans at the United Center have been able to see some of the NBA's best young players before they went to college as alums of recent McDonald's games include Anthony Davis, Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker and Karl-Anthony Towns.

You can view the full rosters for the 2017 McDonald's All-American Games here

Why the Bears finally feel like they're in striking distance of a winning team

Why the Bears finally feel like they're in striking distance of a winning team

PHOENIX – Where the relationship between Bears GM Ryan Pace and coach John Fox goes beyond 2017 remains to play out with their third season together. At this point, however, despite a combined total of nine wins over their first two, the critical bond between coach and general manager appears both clear and solid.
 
Which is no small state of affairs with the growing pressure on both and the organization, pressure that will only intensify if the on-field fortunes of their team does not begin to dramatically reverse. And both know it. Losing doesn't build character, it reveals it, and the same applies to a relationship; if there are cracks, adversity of the kind the Bears have endured the past 32 games will widen and expose them.
 
That relationship has been the subject of speculation virtually since its inception, when Pace hired Fox following the end of his tenure with the Denver Broncos. Much of it centered around who was in fact making the final decisions on personnel and who was the advisor, with some positing that Fox was in fact the final authority if only because age, seniority and experience. The primacy of Pace, however, has become clearer with each decision and traces or shadings of any fractiousness are conspicuously absent.
 
"His people skills are tremendous," Fox said Tuesday during the NFL owners meetings. "His evaluation skills are very good. I think humility is always a great quality in this business. And I've seen that. He's the same guy. He hasn't changed. Sometimes people get [elevated] positions, whatever position that may be and they change. It's just how some people react. And I haven't seen that."
 
Pace, who recently turned 40, is by his own description wanting buy-in on decisions. In the cases of free agency, which have involved the high-dollar commitments designed to have immediate payoff, he has identified pro targets and involved Fox in the decisions.
 
Looking for an immediate hit at linebacker to upgrade the entire defense about this time last year, Pace targeted Denver leading-tackler Danny Trevathan. Fox was his first consult.
 
"Just having drafted [Trevathan] and seeing him develop and get better and his work ethic and his preparation and study habits and how he is as a teammate in the locker room," Pace said of what insight Fox provided. "Those were all things that were taken into consideration."
 
This year, with the max need of improvement, the franchise-grade decision was to make a change at quarterback. Jay Cutler effectively made the decision on himself and he was out. Whether Mike Glennon is or is not an upgrade will play out this year, but Fox was involved in and endorsed the decision to go in a decidedly less-experienced direction.

[RELATED - No signs Bears are locked into drafting a QB in 2017]
 
Pace had attempted in the past to trade for Glennon, which Fox agreed with. Fox had familiarity with Glennon from his time coaching in Carolina.
 
"I was in North Carolina when [Glennon] was playing [at N.C. State], actually," Fox recalled. "I was exposed to two guys there. A good friend of mine was the head coach at NC State. Both Russell Wilson and Mike Glennon were coming through at that period in time, so I got exposed to them, watching games and kinda following them.
 
"And obviously evaluating both of them coming out, they were in different schools then. So I had a high opinion of them then. And then really [Glennon] was talked about a little bit before this year as a potential guy to get, and then this year, being free and without any kind of compensation, we dove in pretty good and feel good about it."
 
Most expectations are that the Bears will not repeat a three-win season, and that an improvement from the first two years keeps both Pace and Fox in their jobs. Key players (Trevathan, Eddie Goldman, Kyle Long, Kevin White) returning from injuries, free-agency upgrades on both sides of the ball and a draft class currently with two picks in the first 36 point to perhaps the kind of turnaround Fox has produced (in years two) at Carolina and Denver.
 
Fox did not dwell on what the roster was or wasn't when he arrived, or on how much of an overhaul Pace needed to do when he took over from Phil Emery and brought in Fox to replace Marc Trestman. But the reality was there.
 
"Going back to a lot of the changes, we've had a lot of change," Fox said. "I think we're better for it. Unfortunately, you can't walk around with your chest out about that because of our record the last two years. But I have total confidence and [Pace] has done an outstanding job and will continue to.
 
"I understand you have to win. And I finally feel like we're in striking distance."