How could we start anywhere else?
While it seems that most are expecting senior Everett Golson to be Notre Dame’s starting quarterback this season, Irish head coach Brian Kelly hasn’t announced a decision, and last we heard, he doesn’t have a timetable for doing so.
Still, it's hard to see sophomore Malik Zaire starting over Golson. That being said, I think Zaire has shown enough to make the two-quarterback discussion legitimate, even if that just means a few packages or situations per game will be designed for him.
Kelly recently said that neither Golson nor Zaire has graded out with 2.0 grade-point averages in their spring evaluations, but Kelly did say that was, at least in part, because they’re taking some “500-level classes” in the form of defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder’s exotic and multiple looks.
The last time we saw Golson and Zaire in a game setting was this time last year—357 days ago, to be exact. Golson looked primed to roll into his second season as the Irish signal-caller, and Zaire, then an early enrollee, turned heads with his dual-threat performance.
We’ll see how they look this year, although it’s important to note there’s still a long way to go until the season opener against Rice.
Who knows how long we’ll see some of the first-teamers; some of the established veterans could only log a few series.
But at wide receiver, where the list of possible contributors is deep and undetermined, the competition should be persistent for much of the game. We’ll get to see how each of these receivers looks individually—who shows explosiveness, hands, breakaway ability, etc.
The sophomores—Will Fuller, Corey Robinson and Torii Hunter Jr.—bring plenty of raw ability: Fuller with his top-end speed, Robinson with his hands and catch radius, and Hunter Jr. with his overall athleticism.
Junior Chris Brown has drawn praise for improved route running, so we’ll see how that translates with his solid speed and athleticism. Then there are the slot guys—senior Amir Carlisle and junior C.J. Prosise. Irish offensive coordinator Mike Denbrock mentioned this week how those two are lodged in a competitive position battle.
We’ll also get to see who looks in sync with the quarterbacks. Now, with such a small sample size, it’s tough to read too much into the chemistry between Golson, Zaire and their receivers, but those connections have been an important topic this spring, and Saturday is our first look at how they'll play out.