Golson learning to look Eifert's way


Golson learning to look Eifert's way

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. -- Tyler Eifert led all FBS tight ends in receptions and yards last year, cementing himself as one of the nation's best at his position. But the senior captain has largely been lost in Notre Dame's offensive shuffle for most of 2012 -- that is, until the last two weeks.

Eifert caught a season-high six passes for 62 yards in Notre Dame's 29-26 win over Pitt, and Saturday had six receptions for 67 yards as Notre Dame beat Boston College 21-6. Of those six grabs, five went for first downs, and Eifert averaged 11.2 yards per catch in the game.

"What I was trying to do was let Eifert be 6-5," Golson explained. "It wasn't always the perfect pass, but wherever he's at in a few-foot radius, I know he's going to go get it."

That recent increase can partly be pegged on Everett Golson's continued development, with the redshirt freshman playing at his best for plenty of Notre Dame's last three games. While Tommy Rees seemingly looks for Eifert nearly every time he enters a game, Golson hasn't found Eifert as much in his first year at the helm despite the tight end being one of the best pass-catchers in the nation.

But as Golson has come on strong in recent weeks, so has his connection with Eifert.

"They're feeling more comfortable," coach Brian Kelly said. "Getting the ball to Eifert is obviously very important, and putting the ball in a good position where he can go up and use his size. And that's what I liked tonight, the little nuances of his play tonight is he put the ball in areas where Tyler can play 6-5. Because if he can play at that size, he's hard to defend."

It's took about three-fourths of the season, but Golson has finally started to get on the same wavelength as Eifert. With DaVaris Daniels out through the regular season, that could be an important key for Notre Dame's offense against Wake Forest and USC.

"We're growing, he's a young quarterback, and he's getting better every day along with the rest of the guys," Eifert said. "More time together has definitely helped."

What's clicked for Golson is that he's learned he doesn't have to be perfect to get the ball to Eifert. For a developing quarterback, that's a fantastic safety net.

"Throwing the ball to Eif, he's such a great player, and me throwing the ball anywhere near him I'm know he's going to go get it," Golson said. "So I think it gives me a little more leeway."

Matt Nagy calls Kevin White a 'great weapon' with a new future

Matt Nagy calls Kevin White a 'great weapon' with a new future

Former first-round pick Kevin White hasn't caught a break -- or a touchdown -- through the first three years of his career. He has more season-ending injuries than 100-yard games and after an offseason focused on upgrades at wide receiver, White's future in Chicago beyond 2018 is very much in doubt.

Ryan Pace declined the fifth-year option in White's rookie contract, making this a prove-it year for the pass-catcher who once resembled a blend of Larry Fitzgerald and Dez Bryant during his time at West Virginia.

He's getting a fresh start by new coach Matt Nagy.

"He is healthy and he's really doing well," Nagy told Danny Kanell and Steve Torre Friday on SiriusXM's Dog Days Sports. "We're trying to keep him at one position right now so he can focus in on that."

White can't take all the blame for his 21 catches, 193 yards and zero scores through 48 possible games. He's only suited up for five. Whether it's bad luck or bad bone density, White hasn't had a legitimate chance to prove, on the field, that he belongs.

Nagy's looking forward, not backward, when it comes to 2015's seventh pick overall.

"That's gone, that's in the past," Nagy said of White's first three years. "This kid has a new future with us."

White won't be handed a job, however.

"He's gotta work for it, he's gotta put in the time and effort to do it," Nagy said. "But he will do that, he's been doing it. He's a great weapon, he's worked really hard. He has great size, good speed. We just want him to play football and not worry about anything else."

Nagy on Trubisky: 'He wants to be the best'

Nagy on Trubisky: 'He wants to be the best'

The Bears concluded their second round of OTAs on Thursday with the third and final set of voluntary sessions scheduled for May 29-June 1. Coach Matt Nagy is bringing a new and complicated system to Chicago, so the time spent on the practice field with the offense and quarterback Mitch Trubisky has been invaluable.

"We’ve thrown a lot at Mitch in the last 2 ½ months,” Nagy told Dog Days Sports’ Danny Kanell and Steve Torre on Friday. “He’s digested it really well.”

Nagy’s implementing the same system he operated with the Chiefs, an offense that brought the best out of Redskins quarterback Alex Smith. The former first-overall pick went from potential draft bust to MVP candidate under Andy Reid and Nagy’s watch.

Nagy admitted he and his staff may have been a little too aggressive with the amount of information thrust upon Trubisky so far.  It took five years to master the offense in Kansas City, he said, but the first-year head coach sees a lot of similarities between his current and past quarterbacks.

"These guys are just wired differently,” Nagy said when comparing Trubisky to Smith. “With Mitch, the one thing that you notice each and every day is this kid is so hungry. He wants to be the best. And he’s going to do whatever he needs to do. He’s so focused.”

Smith had the best year of his career in 2017 and much of the credit belongs to Nagy, who served as Smith’s position coach in each season of his tenure in Kansas City. He threw for eight touchdowns and only two interceptions during the five regular season games that Nagy took over play-calling duties last year.

Nagy said Trubisky has a similar attention to detail that Smith brought to the Chiefs’ quarterback room.

"Each and every detail that we give him means something. It’s not just something he writes down in a book. He wants to know the why,” Nagy said of Trubisky. “He’s a good person that is in this for the right reason. His teammates absolutely love him. It was the same thing with Alex [Smith] in Kansas City.”

A locker room that believes in its quarterback is a critically important variable for success, one that Nagy already sees exists in Chicago.

"When you have that as a coach and when you have that as being a quarterback, not everybody has that, and when you have that you’re in a good spot.”