Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson has learned how to deal with injuries as he learns on the job.
Golson missed Tuesday's practice because he failed a cognitive test after suffering a concussion against Stanford. Coach Brian Kelly hoped to have the sophomore back today if he past a second test, but Kelly also said Golson could contribute Saturday when the No. 5 Irish (6-0) play host to BYU 4-3) even if the QB can only practice on Thursday.
"Last week it was turf toe, and he wasn't able to go. The week before it was his shoulder. So this is business as usual," Kelly said. "Each kid is different. Each case is different. We'll take it day by day."
Golson is learning to play quarterback play by play for the Irish in his first season. He has thrown for 968 yards with four touchdowns in six games.
And Kelly said Golson was at his best before he was knocked out of the Stanford game, connecting with tight end Tyler Eifert for a 24-yard touchdown to start the fourth quarter and finding receiver TJ Jones for a 14-yard reception on the series he suffered his concussion.
"Everetthad his best four plays of the game with the last four plays that he was in there (against Stanford)," Kelly said. "I think probably his best play … He threw a ball out to T.J. that seemed to flutter. He had somebody in his face. He set his feet. He stayed in the pocket. He didn't try to escape, which he did earlier in the game. So that learning curve is taking place, series by series."
As for the touchdown pass Golson threw to Eifert, a Bishop Dwenger graduate, Kelly said that's a play Golson would not have made at the start of the season.
"We've worked hard on green grass throws where your movement key might be sinking," Kelly said. "The ball was put in a position where the defensive back had no chance of what we call raking through the basket. We work very diligently on those throws. We just think that the air that he put on the ball, which is a level two ball, and where he put it, Tyler Eifert was the only one that was going to be able to catch that ball. And so I want to make sure that it's clear that that's something that he has worked hard at developing.
"He would have not made that throw in week one or week two. He would have thrown a line drive level one ball and it would either have been deflected by the corner who was sinking orTylerwould not have gotten his hands on it."
The next step for Golson will be cutting out turnovers. He has thrown three interceptions and lost four fumbles this season.
Kelly said he is not at the point where he would think about replacing Golson because of turnovers, but they are a concern.
"I think he understands that that's what he has to get better at, taking care of the football," Kelly said. "We don't talk in terms of, 'Hey, if you don't do this, we're going to take you out of the game.' He knows how important it is to take care of the football, and we've got to be more vigilant in practice.
"As I was talking to (offensive coordinator Chuck Martin Monday), it's got to be pointed out every single time when that ball is not in a good position because it's clearly something that has to change."