Brian Kelly will wait to name Notre Dame's starting quarterback

Brian Kelly will wait to name Notre Dame's starting quarterback
August 1, 2014, 5:00 pm
Share This Post

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Everett Golson hasn't been crowned Notre Dame's starting quarterback just yet.

With preseason camp opening Monday in Culver, Ind., coach Brian Kelly said Friday he's not at the point where he's ready to tab Golson or sophomore Malik Zaire as his starting quarterback. 

"In an ideal world, I think every coach would want one quarterback that has clearly demonstrated a consistency, great leadership and the ability to take you to a championship," Kelly said. "And so if that guy shows himself, I'm ready to name him the quarterback on that day. 

[MORE: Good news, bad news on Notre Dame injury front]

"So I'm not playing a game where, you know, we are trying to create artificial competition within the ranks. I think we still have competition for that particular role to show itself." 

As opposed to a year ago, when Tommy Rees was the clear-cut No. 1 option following Golson's expulsion for the fall semester, Kelly doesn't feel the need to have a starter in place when camp opens. While Golson has experience on his side, it's worth noting both he and Zaire didn't play last year and bring similar traits to the offensive table.

Both are athletic, strong-armed quarterbacks who can make plays with their legs. And with that in mind, transitioning practice reps between the two quarterbacks doesn't change much for Notre Dame's offense as a whole outside of Golson throwing right-handed and Zaire throwing left-handed.

"This is the first time that we don't have to have two scripts for two quarterbacks," Kelly said. "They are running the same plays and that is a huge advantage in terms of building that consistency throughout the ranks for everybody, from the offensive line, for the receivers, to the quarterback."

[RELATED: Notre Dame: Five burning questions for fall camp]

Kelly was noncommittal as to when he would name a starter, but said it'll likely be by Aug. 20 -- 10 days before Notre Dame's season opener against Rice. It'd be a surprise if Golson isn't the guy on Aug. 30 given the 11 starts he made in 2012, though Kelly said he'd argue Golson "rode the bus to the championship" that year.

Still, Golson has made some big plays in big stages, like his 50-yard bomb to Chris Brown against Oklahoma two years ago. But Kelly wants Zaire to push Golson, and expects the result of the quasi-competition this month to be positive.

"I think it can show itself and when it does, we'll be ready to make that declaration," Kelly said. "It just has not shown itself yet, but I'm confident that it will and when it does, we'll be ready to make that call."