Notre Dame's starting quarterback for the No. 5 Irish's home game against BYU (4-3) on Saturday will be a game-time decision, coach Brian Kelly told reporters after Thursday's practice.
Everett Golson, who has started five of six games for Notre Dame (6-0) this season, was unable to practice Tuesday because of a concussion he suffered in last Saturday's 20-13 overtime victory over Stanford.
The 6-foot, 185-pound sophomore had to sit out Tuesday's practice after failing to pass a cognitive test, but he was able to return to practice Wednesday and Thursday.
"He's getting better," Kelly said of Golson. "I won't make a decision on the quarterback until game time. I've prepared all three of the quarterbacks. He's made progress. We monitor it every single day. These aren't decisions we're making without giving him an opportunity to be evaluated each day. So again, picked up his play from yesterday, got better, we'll see. Tomorrow, we'll have another workout and then we'll make a decision on Saturday."
The only game Golson did not start this season was the Irish's 41-3 win over Miami on Sept. 10 in Chicago. Rees started the game because Golson was late for a meeting that week.
But Golson took over for Rees after the first series against Miami, and he completed 17 of 22 passes for 186 yards and ran for 51 yards against the Hurricanes.
Golson completed 12 of 24 passes for 141 yards with a touchdown and ran for 41 yards against Stanford before he was sidelined after a helmet-to-helmet hit late in the fourth quarter.
Golson has thrown for 968 yards, completing 79 of 135 passes, with four touchdowns. But the first-year starter has struggled with turnovers, throwing three interceptions and losing four fumbles.
Rees, who replaced Golson in wins over Purdue, Michigan and Stanford, has completed 17 of 25 passes for 218 yards with a touchdown. Rees has not thrown an interception this season.
Kelly said if Golson cannot start against the Cougars that didn't automatically make Rees the starter. Kelly said Tuesday that he would prepare Golson, Rees and Andrew Hendrix to play against BYU.
"Andrew had a good week," Kelly said. "They're all at that level where I can consider them. But I want to see Everett for 48 hours. I want to go all the way up there. I don't think there's a cookie-cutter approach to concussions. You want to see how they handle exertion. You want to see how they handle all the things leading up in film study and watching and then get back on the field. I want to take the 48 hours that I have before I make that decision."
Kelly also made it clear that waiting until Saturday to decide on a starting quarterback did not have to do with Golson's performance.
"We're monitoring his health," Kelly said. "This is about health and safety. This isn't about who the starting quarterback is."
Goodman good to go
Receiver John Goodman, a Bishop Dwenger graduate, will be able to play Saturday against BYU.
The fifth-year senior didn't play in last weekend's win over Stanford after he had problems with his back in a win over Miami the week before.
"He was OK on Wednesday," Kelly said. "He couldn't lower his hips until later in the practice when he got loose. Today he looked really good in our two-minute drill, got some first-team reps, looked better. He's a full go."
No stadium time
The Irish didn't practice in Notre Dame Stadium on Thursday.
Kelly had started holding that practice in the stadium this season to give the team more time on their home field, but because of rainy weather, Kelly said the team couldn't work out in the stadium.
Kelly said he was pleased with the field so far as the weather conditions make it harder to keep up.
"I thought our grounds crew did a very nice job," Kelly said. "For the Stanford game they got out there really making sure the field was playable, and it was. We've top dressed it aggressively this week. It will be covered tonight. They did some work on it today and let the wind and some of the sun get to it. We'll cover it and keep it covered until game time. There will be no walk throughs for either team at the stadium, just to preserve the field."
Breaking in Kiel
Freshman quarterback Gunner Kiel is not in the mix to play against BYU, but he is getting plenty of experience in his first season.
Kiel has been on the scout team and does some one-on-one and seven-on-seven work with the other quarterbacks.
"He's in all of our position meetings, and we travel him to all of our games," Kelly said. "I want him to feel the travel and the preparation necessary. We're doing all those things with him.
"I've kind of tweaked the schedule so he can get some one-on-one work as well. He's made some good progress. He's had a little bit of tendinitis this week that he fought through, didn't throw as much this week, because he's been ripping it over on scout team. He's been throwing a lot. We kind of cooled him down a little bit."