Everett Golson is showing signs of being the quarterback Seminoles fans hoped when he transferred to Florida State over the summer.
After a rough stretch early in the season, Golson is completing 67.2 percent of his passes for 1,449 yards, 11 touchdowns and no interceptions for the ninth-ranked Seminoles. It also marks the third time that a Golson-led team has started a season 6-0.
Coach Jimbo Fisher and Golson’s teammates rave about his progress.
As far as a self-assessment from Golson, no one knows beyond the locker room.
Golson hasn’t talked publicly since August, when he was battling Sean Maguire for the starting spot.
Though the articulate, graduate student should have no problems expressing himself, Fisher said he’s kept him away from the media to “eliminate the clutter” and that it is what is best for Golson and the team.
“It’s not an indictment on him. It’s not an indictment on (the media). It’s not an indictment on anything,” Fisher said. “There may be a time he does, but not right now.”
Over the past two games, Golson has gone 51 of 71 for 663 yards and four touchdowns. His 372 yards last Saturday in a 41-21 win over Louisville marked his eighth 300-yard game (second at Florida State) and was the second-most yards of his career.
His next challenge is Saturday against 2-5 Georgia Tech.
But the biggest number that stands out for Golson is zero turnovers.
Golson had 22 last season (14 interceptions, eight fumbles) which is why he was benched for Notre Dame’s bowl game and eventually transferred.
NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock, who was NBC’s analyst for Notre Dame home games during Golson’s two years with the Fighting Irish, said Golson is more disciplined when it comes to ball security.
“There were a couple times last season when he would spin out and put the ball on the ground to use as a brace,” Mayock said. “He’s also taking what the defense is giving him where last year he was trying to make every play a big one.”
Most times that has been throwing to check down receivers instead of trying to go downfield. However, Golson has been in manageable down-and-distances whereas last season he faced plenty of third-and-longs.
During last Saturday’s 41-21 win over Louisville, Golson checked down on the run and found Kermit Whitfield for a 70-yard touchdown that gave the Seminoles the lead for good.
NFL scouts who have seen Florida State have also noticed that Golson is doing a much better job of putting the ball in positions where only his receivers can get it. In a touchdown pass to Travis Rudolph early in the fourth quarter, either Rudolph was going to get the ball or the pass was going to be out of bounds.
“He is getting a lot of confidence. He’s standing in the pocket longer and trusting the receivers. He’s also trusting his first gut instincts,” offensive tackle Rod Johnson said.
With his quick release, Golson has often not been on the same page as his receivers but the balls have appeared to be more on target the past couple weeks.
Mayock also has seen Golson return to what made him successful in 2012, when as a redshirt freshman Golson led Notre Dame to the BCS title game before losing to Alabama. Just like three years ago, Golson is getting contributions from skill players, taking some of the load off of him.
Dalvin Cook is on pace for Florida State’s single-season rushing mark while Whitfield and Rudolph are growing more into downfield threats. Tight ends Ryan Izzo and Mavin Saunders have also had big catches the past two games.
While Golson has improved each week, his two biggest tests are still to come — Nov. 7 at No. 6 Clemson and three weeks later at 13th-ranked Florida. Georgia Tech is ninth in the ACC in pass defense, allowing 192.6 yards per game.
“He has gotten himself back into the conversation as far as NFL Draft prospects but those two games and a bowl game will be better indicators,” Mayock said. “Can he continue to not make turnovers and also make the big plays?”
With a win, Florida State would tie the ACC record for consecutive conference wins. The Seminoles won their first 29 games when they joined the conference in 1992 before a loss 33-28 at Virginia on Nov. 2, 1995.
Republished with permission of the Associated Press.