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Notre Dame's Everett Golson needs to cut down on interceptions

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Michael Conroy/Associated Press
Notre Dame QB Everett Golson will be tested by Louisville safety Gerod Holliman this weekend.

Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson suffered a sprained shoulder in last week's upset loss to Northwestern, but he is expected to start this Saturday against Louisville.

What might pain him more than his shoulder Saturday is Louisville free safety Gerod Holliman, who has 13 interceptions and is one pick away from tying the NCAA single-season record.

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Golson has thrown 12 interceptions, which is tied for fourth-most nationally, and Irish coach Brian Kelly said in his weekly Tuesday news conference that Golson "needs to know where (Holliman) is." He also said that if Golson "stares down anybody in (Holliman's) zip code, he's going to take the ball away."

Kelly said Louisville's defensive scheme allows Holliman some freedom, "so he's always in a position to be that extra player roving. It's not like he's man-to-man on the perimeter and just picking the ball every single time it's thrown at him. He's usually a drop-down player in a position where he can read the eyes and react. He's usually doubling somebody."

Golson has thrown at least two TD passes in every game this season and has thrown at least three six times. But he also has thrown at least one pick in seven consecutive games, including eight in the past four games.

"If you put the ball on the ground as much as we have, you start to have to reevaluate the way you go in the game because you can't keep saying, 'We're going to outscore you,' " Kelly said, noting that the Irish have committed nine turnovers in the past two games.

NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks has called Holliman "a young Ed Reed," and in the same story, he said Golson's "propensity to turn the ball over will drive NFL offensive coordinators crazy when they study the tape of Golson's play down the stretch."

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Golson is listed as a senior by Notre Dame, but he has one more season of eligibility and he might be best-served by returning for one more season; that's certainly the opinion of NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah who wrote earlier this month that Golson "has plenty of developing to do" and is "still a raw project."

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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