Notre Dame probably saw its Playoff dreams wilt in the Tempe desert Saturday as QB Everett Golson turned the ball over six times in a 55-31 defeat. Golson, who has alternated between Heisman candidate one week, and Geno Smith-like the next, had a 10-play span in the first half where he went fumble, run, interception, six plays, pick-six.
Notre Dame was down 24-3 and despite a furious rally to draw within 34-31, fell apart in the last five minutes and lost. Body count: Golson did throw for 446 yards, but he was picked off four times (one came in the end zone), two were run back for touchdowns. Golson has 17 turnovers in six games.
Oh, and he was sacked seven times.
Afterward, Notre Dame Brian Kelly was asked about the turnovers, and in a pleasant surprise, he didn’t coddle his QB:
"[Reporter]: I know [all the turnovers] are not on Golson … Brian Kelly: Why aren’t they all on Golson? [Reporter] … the pick-six went off Robinson’s hands … not all six turnovers are on golson … but the fumbles were a little sloppy … how do you work with him? Kelly [exasperated]: We’ve been working with him … sooner or later, he’s got to take it on himself to take care of the football. I don’t know what else to do. We’re at the point where it hurt us in the game, obviously. He knows it."
In a sport where you rarely get brutal honesty from coaches, especially, those leading college kids, I think Kelly’s candor would be well-received by NFL general managers and owners. No coddling. Another thing to keep in mind: Kelly’s funny, occasionally-profane sideline outbursts have been muted this season.
Perhaps most of all, there’s the look on Kelly’s face when talking about the turnovers. Head propped up, deep breaths, hand motions … this is a man who looks like he’s had enough of coaching at the college level.
After Jim Harbaugh, I’m not sure there’s a more interesting coach’s name we’ll hear in December than Brian Kelly.
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