Capitals

Offense growing with Golson for No. 4 Notre Dame

201210272117766464750-p2.jpeg

Offense growing with Golson for No. 4 Notre Dame

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) Brian Kelly folded his arms across his chest and shook his head in disgust at a promising Notre Dame drive that stalled out in the red zone.

His young quarterback, Everett Golson, had just planted a third-down throw in the grass a few feet too far away for second-team All-American Tyler Eifert to dive and catch it on the 13th play of a series that had lasted nearly 7 minutes.

All that work would end up with no payoff when Kyle Brindza missed wide left on a 35-yard field goal attempt, but it could pay dividends down the road when it comes to Golson's growth.

As his quarterback came to the sideline, Kelly put one arm on either side of Golson's waist and drove home a point: When you have a talented 6-foot-5 tight end, put the ball up high where he has an advantage on defenders, not down on the ground.

``Every single play, there's something out there that needs to be communicated and it's very important that I got it across to him because later it ended up being a big play for us,'' Kelly said, referring to a pass Golson delivered high for a leaping 22-yard catch on the next drive by 6-foot-2 DaVaris Daniels.

``When you're dealing with a young quarterback, you have to take those moments. I can't control that kick at that point, so it was important that I got my point across at that time and not wait.''

Golson, who because of injury or ineffective play was unable to complete three games in the first half of the season, is starting to show signs of maturing into the type of leader the Fighting Irish (8-0) will need to stay in the national championship picture for the final month of the season.

Following a 30-13 win at then-No. 8 Oklahoma, the Irish moved up to No. 4 in The Associated Press poll on Sunday. They return home to face Pittsburgh (4-4) next Saturday.

Before Saturday night, much of Notre Dame's ascent had been built around a three-headed power running attack and the nation's second-stingiest defense, led by Heisman Trophy hopeful Manti Te'o at linebacker. But against the Sooners, Kelly said it was ``the first time that we showed that we could be on our own a little bit offensively and put some points on the board.''

``If we continue to go that way, it's going to give us an offense that's going to be difficult to defend because we'll have great balance,'' Kelly said Sunday. ``That's what we're trying to get with Everett in there: Not an offense that throws it 50 times nor an offense that runs it 50 times, one that's balanced and difficult to defend.''

That's exactly what the Irish got in their most difficult test of the season so far, while stuffing Oklahoma's run game and turning the Sooners - who were fifth in the nation in scoring - into a one-dimensional attack that could only complete short passes.

The Irish held a 215-15 advantage on the ground, with Golson contributing 64 yards rushing to go with his 177 through the air.

After missing the previous week's win against BYU because of a concussion, Golson said he got a different perspective from the sideline and came back with changes in mind. Chief among them: ``Just the relationship with the other players, the other 10 guys on the offense,'' Golson said. ``I definitely just wanted to improve in that.''

``It had a tremendous effect, just seeing it outside of me actually being out there really helped me,'' Golson added. ``Just kind of seeing it from the sideline perspective. It made me realize a couple things that we needed to work on.''

Kelly said he thinks Golson's week off allowed him to see that he had been a less assertive leader than backup Tommy Rees, who won two games in relief of Golson plus the BYU game. He's also shown more willingness lately to accept coaching to change the fundamentals of his drop-back and in return let the coaches know what plays he's most comfortable running.

``I just think he's beginning to realize those detail things we've been banging him on the head with will actually make him a better quarterback,'' Kelly said. ``I think by getting a chance to step back and see it, and watching it, I think he realized more and more how important it is to be disciplined in those areas.

``Then I think he just flat out made a decision that `I know this coaching is going to help me and I'm going to take it to heart.'''

Golson also showed some toughness when he scrambled on the next-to-last play of the third quarter and got flattened by Oklahoma's Tony Jefferson. He was able to walk off after staying down on the field for a few moments, but he returned as soon as possible to finish the game off.

``He got hit pretty hard on one play and came back in. He sat out the one play because you have to and then came back and led the offense back down the field,'' receiver T.J. Jones said. ``He's starting to mature as a quarterback and a leader as well.''

---

Tom Coyne contributed to this report from South Bend, Ind.

Quick Links

Game 61: Capitals at Panthers Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

capture_oviflorida.png
USA TODAY Sports

Game 61: Capitals at Panthers Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Florida Panthers

Where: BB&T Center, Sunrise, Fla.

When: 7:30 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Panthers will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Panthers game on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page.

WHEN IS THE CAPITALS-PANTHERS GAME?

The Capitals (34-19-7) take on the Panthers (26-25-6) Tuesday, February 22 at 7:30 p.m. ET in Florida.

WHAT CHANNEL IS THE CAPITALS-PANTHERS GAME ON?

The Capitals-Panthers game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off with Capitals FaceOff at 6:30 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 7:00 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington for Caps Extra following the game, Caps Overtime at 10:30 p.m. and Caps in 30 at 11:30 p.m. for all your postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:30 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
7:00 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:30 p.m. — Capitals at Panthers
10:00 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:30 p.m. — Caps Overtime
11:30 p.m. — Caps in 30

WHAT ARE THE PROJECTED LINES FOR THE CAPITALS-PANTHERS GAME?

Here are the projected lines for the Caps-Panthers game:

Forwards
Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Tom Wilson
Jakub Vrana - Evgeny Kuznetsov - T.J. Oshie
Brett Connolly - Lars Eller - Andre Burakovsky
Chandler Stephenson - Jay Beagle - Devante Smith-Pelly

Defensemen
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Christian Djoos - John Carlson
Michal Kempny - Brooks Orpik

Braden Holtby starts with Philipp Grubauer as backup

Scratches: Alex Chiasson, Madison Bowey, Jakub Jerabek

WHERE CAN I STREAM THE CAPITALS-PANTHERS GAME?

The Capitals-Panthers game, as well as Caps GameTime and Caps Extra, is available to stream live here through NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and is available to authenticated NBC Sports Washington subscribers on desktops, tablets, mobile devices and connected TVs anywhere in the United States.

CAPITALS-PANTHERS OPEN THREAD

Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.

Quick Links

Need to Know: The most underrated Redskins events of 2017

nicholsonl_int_vs._oak_usat.png
usa Today Sports Images

Need to Know: The most underrated Redskins events of 2017

Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, February 22, 20 days before NFL free agency starts.

I’m out this week so I’ll be re-posting some of the best and most popular articles of the past few months. Some may have slightly dated information but the major points in the posts still stand. Thanks for reading, as always.

The underrated Redskin moments of 2017

Originally published 12/29/17

Sometimes in the NFL, something happens that grabs headlines and appears to be a momentous event that has ripple effects that will last all season and perhaps beyond. Other times something that is greeted with a yawn by fans and the media turns out to be something with lasting impact. Here, in no particular order, are three underrated events from 2017. Tomorrow we’ll look at three events that were overrated at the time they happened.  

Beating the Rams in Week 2—Nobody got particularly excited when the Redskins went to the LA Memorial Coliseum and beat a Rams team that had gone 4-12 in 2016. Sure, there was a belief that they were in good hands with Sean McVay but nobody saw them as anything better than a middle of the pack team. The win looks much more impressive now as the 11-4 Rams have locked up their division with a playoff game in their future.

Drafting safety Montae Nicholson—He was a fourth-round pick who had a shoulder injury and appeared to be a reach. But once he got on the field, the reasons the Redskins drafted him became apparent. His range and hard hitting had an immediate impact on the game. Nicholson had problems staying on the field and he will finish the year on IR so his impact this year was diminished. Regardless, he has a good chance of being part of the solution to a position with which the Redskins have had issues for years.

Ty Nsekhe’s injury—Against the Raiders in Week 3, Shawn Lauvao’s facemask had an issue and he had to leave the game for a play. In came Nsekhe without an opportunity to warm up. He suffered a core muscle injury and he had to undergo surgery. His absence didn’t seem like a big deal at the time, but Trent Williams suffered a knee injury the next week and other offensive linemen were sidelined with injuries over the next several weeks. Nsekhe was inactive until the Week 10 game against the Vikings and he didn’t start a game until the Thanksgiving game against the Giants. He sure would have been useful to have in the lineup instead of T.J. Clemmings or Tyler Catalina.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 7
—NFL Draft (4/26) 63
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 199