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Malik Zaire believes he will beat out Everett Golson for the Notre Dame starting quarterback job

Sam Cooper
Dr. Saturday
NCAA Football: Notre Dame-Practice
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Aug 9, 2013; South Bend, IN, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback Malik Zaire (8) throws during practice at the LaBar Practice Complex. (Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports)

When it was announced that quarterback Everett Golson had been readmitted to Notre Dame, it seemed like a logical conclusion that he would reclaim his starting position for the Fighting Irish in 2014. After all, 2013 starter Tommy Rees had graduated and Golson led the Fighting Irish to the 2012 National Championship Game, so the depth chart at quarterback looked favorable for Golson.

Someone forgot to tell that to sophomore Malik Zaire.

According to the Associated Press, Zaire is extremely confident that he will beat out Golson for the starting job.

“Without a doubt. There will only be one guy starting on Aug. 30th against Rice at Notre Dame Stadium, there will only be one guy out on the field, and I believe that will be me,” Zaire said.

Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly has long said that the quarterback spot is an open competition between Golson and Zaire, both of whom bring another dimension to the offense with their running ability that Rees lacked in 2013.

“It’s always about finding that consistency at that position. It’s just going to take some time. I don’t have a timetable on it. I’ll know when it’s running the right way and it’s smooth. It’s not there yet,” Kelly said.

Kelly lauded Zaire’s ability in January while saying that the job would not be handed over to Golson, who threw for 2,405 yards and 12 touchdowns and won 12 games in 2012 before being suspended from school for an academic violation. Zaire’s relationship with Golson is “very competitive,” he said.

“It’s always going to be an uphill battle dealing with a guy who’s been there and done that with the game experience. It’s always going to be an uphill battle,” Zaire. “We have our up and down days as competitors. You’re not going to have the most peachy days, or whatever. But I respect him as a player. I respect him as a person. We don’t have any issues on that standpoint.”

Kelly, who will take over the reins as play caller this year, said in January that the Irish’s offense will be more “dynamic outside the pocket” in 2014. With that said, Kelly is not ruling out using a two-quarterback system.

“I’d do anything to win. If I felt like if we got to August and that is where we were, I’m all in. I could handle that,” Kelly said. “I think the ideal situation is one.”

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