These are supposed to be bright days for Notre Dame football. Almost the entire offensive line is returning from last season. The only real loss at wide receiver is TJ Jones. The secondary will be putting fear into quarterbacks and Everett Golson has been re-enrolled and is back on the field. But if you ask redshirt freshman Malik Zaire, that last beam of sunlight doesn’t exist — because Golson is going to be his backup. According to ESPN, this is what he had to say:
“There will only be one guy starting on Aug. 30 against Rice at Notre Dame Stadium. There will only be one guy out on the field, and I believe that will be me.”
Initially, this sounds absolutely ridiculous. Golson was a pure beast in his sophomore season of 2012, as he led Notre Dame to a 12-1 record with a national championship berth. If someone is honestly capable of trumping that card, I’m all ears.
Coach Brian Kelly is saying all the right things by not declaring either one of his quarterbacks a starter just yet, declaring it an “open competition” for now. That’s what you would expect from a good head coach. Kelly did stir the pot just a bit, though, by saying he wouldn’t rule out the possibility of using a platoon system if he thought it would work. So we’re left to speculate.
The major similarity between these two quarterbacks that keeps from completely dismissing this is mobility, something the Irish starved for a season ago with Tommy Rees at quarterback. And Kelly didn’t rule out using a platoon system, which worked well for the Irish two years ago.
The confidence and competitiveness of Zaire is admirable to say the least. If nothing else, he’s bound to push Golson further along as a quarterback and ultimately help the Notre Dame offense.
The only way I see Zaire getting starts over Golson, though, is if something is clearly not working in Golson’s game or there is another suspension (unlikely). Other than that, there’s no need to take a great play maker completely out of the equation. That’s not in the formula to winning.