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Brian Kelly says Everett Golson will have to compete for the starting quarterback job

Sam Cooper
Dr. Saturday

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Everett Golson and Brian Kelly (USA Today Sports)

Everett Golson hasn’t suited up for Notre Dame since the Fighting Irish lost the 2012 BCS Championship to Alabama. After withdrawing from the school for academic reasons, Golson has re-enrolled for the 2014 season, but Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly gave no guarantee that it would be Golson under center when the Irish host Rice on Aug. 30 in the season opener.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Kelly said that redshirt freshman Malik Zaire, a four-star recruit from the class of 2013, will compete with Golson for the starting job.

“I just want to caution everybody that we have I think a very good quarterback in Malik Zaire,” Kelly said. “I’m not ready to hand everything over to Everett. I love Everett, he played in the national championship game, but I’m also somebody that wants to make sure the quarterback position is such that we give everybody an opportunity to compete for that position.”

With statements like this, there’s no doubt that Kelly wants to fire up both signal callers. He said that Golson is in good shape physically and that Zaire, who did not play last season, is ready to give Golson a tough competition.

“We lost him a little bit, quite honestly,” Kelly said of Zaire. “When he sees himself as No. 3-and-a-half (on the depth chart) and not getting in and not getting a lot of reps, you lose a kid’s concentration a little bit and we lost him there for about four or five games. Once we got his attention back, it was clear he had a pretty good knowledge base of what we wanted to do.”

Kelly, who will call plays next season, added that he wants the Irish’s offense to be more “dynamic outside the pocket,” and that both quarterbacks would help with that.

“We’re transitioning back to an offense I feel is best-suited for the personnel we have. I think it’s important to really get that to be an influence back in the offense,” Kelly said. “Once we’re able to lay that in there, I think it will give everybody a great visual look of what we want that offense to look like and I think it starts with me.”

With the team’s success with Golson under center in 2012, it would really be a big upset if Zaire were to win the job and overtake Golson. It remains to be seen how the year away from the game impacted Golson’s game, but with Tommy Rees out of the picture, the depth chart certainly looks promising for Golson.

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