SOUTH BEND -- Everett Golson was happy to be back to the grind.
The quarterback was back on the field as Notre Dame kicked off spring practice Monday, and after missing last season because of a semester suspension for an academic issue, Golson admitted there was anxiety.
"I was a little too excited at first, but it felt good just to be out there with those guys," Golson said in his first session with the media since returning to school in January.
Coach Brian Kelly was also happy to have the quarterback, who helped lead the Irish to the BCS championship game in his only year as a starter in 2012, back on the field.
"There was a great amount of carryover offensively," Kelly said. "Everett stepped in there and the tempo of the offense was outstanding. It was for a first day really exciting for me to watch him get back in there and look as though he was with us last year."
Golson declined to go into detail about the events that led to his suspension. He released a statement in May saying he made a "poor academic judgment.".
Golson said he didn't have a meeting with the team upon his return, and he has been surprised with the warm reception he has received since coming back to the university.
"Everybody has been very welcoming of me," Golson said. "I haven't received animosity or anything like that. That's from my classmates, to my professors, to my teammates. I think that speaks to the character of the school."
Golson kept his abilities sharp, which let him throw for 2,405 yards with 12 touchdowns and six interceptions and run for 298 yards with six touchdowns. He worked with renowned quarterback coach George Whitefield Jr. for about two months during his time away for Notre Dame.
Golson said his sessions with Whitefield were about more than the about two hours they were actually on the field throwing. Whitefield worked with the quarterback on footwork, pointing his finger and other fundamentals.
Kelly said Gilson's time in San Diego with Whitefield did more than keep the quarterback's skills sharp.
"There was definitely a conceptual awareness that he had lacked at some times with the passing game, and he clearly has that," Kelly said. "It's an easier conversation for him.
"The best way to explain it would be when he would explain his progression, it might take him 10 seconds. Well, you have 2.6 seconds to throw the ball.
"Now he is precise in his communication as to what his progression is. That tells me a lot. So he definitely has made some strides, and I think there must have been some real good teaching there that has allowed him the opportunity to come in here and have a better sense of everything."
Golson also added weight during his time away. He is listed at 6-foot, 200 pounds, 15 pounds heavier than he played at in 2012.
"I think it makes me more durable," Golson said of the added weight. "I think I've gotten a little faster, to be honest."
Golson also said he never considered finding a new school to play for or going to a junior college during his suspension. He said he never talked to other college programs, but he added that programs did try to reach him through third parties.
"I know I messed up," Golson said. "So for me, I had to come back and complete what I had started."
And even though the senior, who has redshirt junior status, opened practice by running the first-team offense in the first drill after stretching, Golson also said he realizes he has to earn the starting job again and will face competition from sophomore Malik Zaire.
"Nothing is given to you," Golson said. "I've learned that since I was young. I see it as competition. It can only make you better."