Notre Dame spring storylines: Golson gets acquainted with WRs

Notre Dame spring storylines: Golson gets acquainted with WRs
February 22, 2014, 5:15 pm
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(USA Today Sports Images)

Here's a stark statistic: In live-game action, Everett Golson has completed exactly two passes to the group of pass catchers he'll throw to this spring. 

One of those was perhaps the defining play of Golson's 2012 season, a 50-yard bomb to Chris Brown that set up Notre Dame's fourth-quarter surge at Oklahoma. The other was a mundane five-yard completion to tight end Ben Koyack the second week of the season against Purdue.

Golson, suspended from Notre Dame for 2013's fall semester, didn't get a chance to work with most of the pass-catchers now at his disposal. DaVaris Daniels is his most trusted returning target, only he's exiled from campus for the spring semester. T.J. Jones and Troy Niklas have moved on, as have a host of Golson's go-to guys from 2012. 

A year ago, Golson had a chance to work a bit with running backs Amir Carlisle and Cam McDaniel and early-enrolling wide receiver Corey Robinson in spring practice, so there isn't complete inexperience outside Brown and Koyack. But for the most part, this year's spring practice will be the first chance Golson has to get on the same page with Notre Dame's receiving corps. 

It's a unit that possesses plenty of talent, but has limited in-game experience. 

Robinson, along with fellow freshmen Will Fuller and James Onwualu, flashed tantalizing potential in sporadic playing time last fall. Coaches and teammates have raved about the playmaking ability of Torii Hunter Jr., who redshirted 2013 as he recovered from a broken leg. Early-enrolling freshman Justin Brent, a four-star recruit rated by Rivals as the top prep player in Indiana, "looks like a senior," according to coach Brian Kelly.

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Freshman tight end Durham Smythe was pointed out by players and coaches, too, as someone who impressed during December bowl practices. If all goes well for Notre Dame, he'll develop into a good enough blocker to allow the Irish offense to continue to heavily deploy two tight end sets. 

While Daniels certainly could use the month or so of time with Notre Dame's coaches, perhaps his absence this spring is a blessing for Notre Dame. He and Golson have a good rapport dating back to their early-enrollee days in the spring of 2011, and it's one that'll likely pick up where it left off when the pair reconvene for fall camp in August. 

But that rapport doesn't exist for the majority of Notre Dame's pass catchers -- though that'll change over the next few weeks.