Status of Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson still in question for Saturday

By Eric Hansen

For the Deseret News

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 17 2012 9:00 a.m. MDT

By Eric Hansen

South Bend Tribune

SOUTH BEND — By the end of perhaps the longest press conference of the Brian Kelly Era, the third-year Notre Dame head football coach was being pushed deep into the hypothetical.

If No. 1 quarterback Everett Golson is not able to play Saturday for the fifth-ranked Irish (6-0) against BYU (4-3), Kelly admitted there probably still would be a tag-team approach at the QB position.

“We have to make sure that you have to defend a running quarterback,” Kelly said. “That's going to be part of the game plan.”

That running quarterback, junior Andrew Hendrix, was to receive 40 percent of the practice reps Tuesday, with the other 60 percent going to junior Tommy Rees.

Golson was a spectator at Tuesday’s practice session after not being able to pass a computer-based cognitive test Monday. The sophomore suffered a concussion Saturday with 3:24 left in regulation of ND’s 20-13 overtime victory over Stanford.

“There are a number of different things,” Kelly explained. “First of all, there's a balance test, which he passed. There’s also just an exam that he's passed, and then there are symptoms — whether it's sensitivity, agitation, light sensitivity — all those things he's passed. Once he (passes the computer cognitive test), he'll be allowed to go back to practice.

“But there is a protocol. There are standards. They are independent of the head football coach. This is strictly on our medical staff. ... We are seeing great progress.”

Kelly said Golson had missed two Tuesday practices in recent weeks, one because of an achy throwing shoulder, and last week because of a turf toe injury. The coach said he is comfortable with going all the way to Thursday without Golson practicing before he would be pressed to go with plan B.

That would mean the 18th career start for Rees, with Hendrix playing the reliever. If Golson does draw the start, he’ll be trying to become the third ND quarterback in the past 30 years to win his first six starts. The other two are Matt LoVecchio (2000) and Kevin McDougal (1993).

“He's got to take care of the football,” Kelly said of Golson. “He's got to set his feet. He plays sloppy at times, but boy, he competed his butt off. I couldn't be more proud of the guy and the way he competed.”

BOWLFUL OF SPECULATION: If the season ended today, Notre Dame would be headed to a BCS bowl, and the selection order for at-large teams would go as follows: 1. Sugar, 2. Rose, 3. Fiesta, 4. Sugar, 5. Orange.

The Sugar and Rose jump to the front of the order, because they would each lose a conference tie-in team, No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 Oregon, to the BCS National Championship Game.

In any other year, it would figure a fifth-ranked ND team would be the top choice of at-large teams, but New Orleans is a finalist to host the new Champions Bowl, matching the SEC and Big 12 champs beginning in 2014.

According to one bowl insider, there’s no way the Sugar Bowl would want to rankle anyone within the SEC at this juncture, so another SEC team would come off the board with the first pick.

“There will be the most politics ever involved in bowl selections this year,” the source said.

An SEC-ND matchup would still be possible, but the source said the Fiesta would probably grab ND to match up with the Big 12 champ before the Sugar Bowl could choose again.

The only compromise along those lines is if Oklahoma overtook Kansas State to win the Big 12, setting up an Irish-Sooners rematch, which wouldn’t be a desirable scenario. Then the Sugar would come into play.

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