"I won't make a decision on the quarterback until game time. I've prepared all three of the quarterbacks," said Kelly. "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. (Golson) picked up his play from yesterday, got better…Tomorrow, we'll have another workout and then we'll make a decision on Saturday."
When asked to clarify, Kelly stressed the impending decision is injury, not performance-based.
"When he missed some time we wanted to bring him in gradually," said Kelly of Golson's missed Tuesday practice due to a partially failed cognitive test mandatory after concussions. "He did a pretty good job Wednesday. It wasn't all the reps because I had two other guys (Tommy Rees and Andrew Hendrix) that I had to get reps, so we're going to use Friday to kind of clean up some red zone stuff and then I'll be in a better position to be in a position to look at who the starter will be.
"We're monitoring his health. This is about health and safety. This isn't about who the (season) starting quarterback is."
Scouting GunnerNotre Dame's fourth-string quarterback could prove to be its most talented over the next four-plus calendar years. At this point, however, true freshman Gunner Kiel remains a scout team regular, one who's apparently receiving plenty of work.
"He's been on our scout team but we bring him (to the varsity) for some of our one-on-one and seven-on-seven," said Kelly of Scout.com's No. 1 ranked quarterback from the 2012 class. "We arranged it with our defense that they're not running team time at the same time. I think it's really worked well. 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 (elbow) tendonitis 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."
(Kelly also misspoke on the situation, adding some levity to the conversation: "He's in all of our staff meetings, excuse me, he's not in our staff meeting. He's in all of our position meetings. That would really elevate his status. He's in all of our position meetings and we travel him to all of our games. I want him to feel the travel and the preparation necessary. We're doing all those things with him.")
Turf TalkIn each of the team's previous Thursdays stateside, Kelly & Co. have moved their "Perfect Practice Thursday" session inside Notre Dame Stadium. Last week's inclement weather that coincided with the extended Stanford contest made that 2012 tweak unavailable for practice week for the first time this season.
"I thought our grounds crew did a very nice job, for the Stanford game they got out there really making sure the field was playable, and it was," said Kelly. "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."
Naturally, the conversation gravitated toward the possibility of FieldTurf finding its way to South Bend.
"I think that's on the list but it wouldn't be the primary reason for FieldTurf," said Kelly of weather conditions. "I just like using the stadium as a practice opportunity as well. When you have grass, regardless of where you are geographically, it makes it harder to go in that stadium.
"I like to be in the venue that we play. That's one reason for it. It allows you to do some things in spring when the weather isn't quite as good to get in that stadium as well. So I think it's more about getting more use out of the stadium than simply about the weather.
Kelly added that three injured players from last week: Tyler Eifert (gash on his arm), Louis Nix (who came out for one play of the goal line stand after a shot to the shoulder), and John Goodman (who missed last week's game due to back pain) would be available this week.
"It's an injury that he had earlier in the season where he had a similar bang," said Kelly of Nix. "It's not anything we feel structurally. He practiced well. If Louis practiced well, we don't get into much more detail. He did a nice job."
Ice Baths RequiredMost hands are on deck for Kelly's Irish, an accomplishment six games into the season and following the most physical contest -- possibly in all of college football -- in 2012.
"I think a couple of the guys were sore on Monday and Tuesday," said Kelly of a defense that noted a few extra bruises following their matchup with the Cardinal. "As I mentioned, I think it's more an accumulating effect. That's why it was good to have this week where our guys could get into the training room.
"I talked to (head trainer) Rob Hunt, he feels really good about the health of the team. We had some guys doing some things in there that normally would not go into the training room because they're in class (when not on semester break). We feel really good. We were able to play fast, play physical, we went with a 10-minute two-minute drill, which we usually only go five minutes. We're in good health."