One of the most interesting stories of the preseason was Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson's decision to use his graduate transfer ability to take his talents to Florida State. Thanks to some outstanding play through the midway mark of the season, Golson remains a hot topic of conversation.
With the move, Jimbo Fisher and the Seminoles inherited a very talented quarterback, who led the Fighting Irish to the national title game as a freshman, but had also had a difficult time overcoming turnovers in his final season in South Bend, committing 22 turnovers last season (14 interceptions, 8 fumbles lost), and that number includes four pick-sixes.
Now, firmly entrenched as the starter in Tallahassee, Golson is leading an offensive unit that has taken care of the ball better than anyone else in the country. The Seminoles are currently the only team nationally to have NOT commit an offensive turnover.
Asked what has been the key to that turnaround by Fox Sports recently, Fisher revealed that Golson is, first and foremost, allowing himself to be coached, and coached hard. Fisher also noted that he never tells him to "take care of the ball".
"I don't ever say, 'Take care of the ball.' I say, 'Be smart with the ball.' I want him to be smart, and to be aggressive."
"If you say, 'Take care of it,' then he won't make any plays. We want to be aggressive and we want to be smart. Make good decisions. Understand the situations of games, of down-and-distance, how to play field positions, understand what you're trying to accomplish with each call."
"People say, 'Don't fumble,' then you fumble. You can't play that way. You can't play trying NOT to make mistakes. You've got to be aggressive, but you've got to be intelligent."
The logic makes sense. As one coach once told me earlier in my coaching career, you don't tell a basketball player tasked with taking the game winning shot, "don't miss", so why would you tell do the equivalent and shout at your guys "don't jump!" on a crucial fourth-and-one?