"Everett Golson will be our starter against Rice. You look at making that decision, I'm using from January through right now as the basis of that decision," Kelly said. "How he handled himself with the team. His winter conditioning. His spring practice and his leadership in the summer, and then camp here, has put himself in position to get that opportunity to be our starter against Rice."
Golson spoke with the media shortly after the announcement.
"I don't know if I would call it relief," Golson said. "I think it's a heightened responsibility on my part now that everything is set for Week One. It's my job to keep everybody right and lead the team."
Kelly reiterated the competition was real -- and ongoing.
"There was competition up until I made the decision and there will continue to be competition,"said Kelly. "Everett is just the starter for Rice and we hope he's the starter for the entire year, but we're all in this in a basic situation -- we have to win. Everett knows that."
Kelly offered that he first informed his staff first, then backup Malik Zaire before telling Golson the news.
"I told Malik first and let him know what his situation was and I got the right answer from Malik: he wasn't happy. If he gave me a hug, I'd be very disappointed. He went out (Wednesday), practiced well. He wants to be the starter here and he's going to keep working to be the starter.
Asked where Golson has improved the most to earn the job, Kelly responded, "Overall understanding of the entire offense. Not singular plays, but the entire offense and how it operates. I think it was more the bigger picture and his leadership, his ability to lead. Those two things."