CULVER, Ind. — Everett Golson took every first-team rep and looked better than Malik Zaire over the course of Notre Dame's preseason-opening practice Monday at Culver Military Academy.
Golson isn't officially Notre Dame's starting quarterback, but if Monday's practice was any indication he'll hold off Zaire and win the job sometime this month. The senior, though, has no problem with having to earn his starting gig back over the next few weeks.
"I'm not disappointed at all, I'm not disappointed at all," Golson said. "With competition, it's going to enhance your playing. It kind of raises the stakes a little bit. You can't come out and be comfortable, so you gotta push and keep pushing. It's only going to allow for both of us to get better."
Golson looked poised running the first-team offense in preseason camp for the first time since 2012, making a number of quality throws over the course of the two-hour practice.
Talent and offensive knowledge haven't been the concern for coach Brian Kelly, though. He said Friday that Golson has the playbook down and is beginning to understand the "why" of the position — for example, why a certain play was run and knowing what the next play will be.
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What Kelly wants to see from Golson is a sort of fearlessness in his play. In other words, he wants Golson to have the confidence to not only run the offense, but to be a difference-maker within it.
"We want to keep moving him towards not being afraid and being fearless at that position," Kelly said. "If we can get to that level it's going to be fun and exciting to watch him play."
But it's been 19 months since Golson played a game for Notre Dame. And Golson admitted he was a little unsure of things in 2012, often focusing on what Kelly and the coaching staff wanted out of him since he hadn't figured that out yet.
Golson, though, said he's over that doubt and believes he's ready to be unleashed in the Irish offense.
"I feel light-years ahead of where I was in 2012," Golson said. "I'm now able to settle in and really run the offense to what they're asking us to do."