As the calendar moves over to August, Brian Kelly remains no closer to figuring out Notre Dame's best option at starting quarterback.
The Fighting Irish head coach admitted that neither Everett Golson nor Malik Zaire has done enough yet to earn the job, per JJ Stankevitz of CSNChicago.com:
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. And so if that guy shows himself, I'm ready to name him the quarterback on that day.
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.
Golson was suspended from the team last year for academic reasons and returned in March. He obviously has the experience edge on Zaire. The senior signal-caller played 12 games in 2012, throwing for 2,405 yards and 12 touchdowns to six interceptions.
Those who think Golson should be the starter will likely point to how much he helped Notre Dame reach the BCS National Championship two seasons ago.
However, Kelly appeared to downplay Golson's contributions to that success, per ESPN.com's Matt Fortuna:
Asked how Zaire could unseat Golson after 12-1 2012, Kelly smiles: "I would argue that Everett rode the bus to the championship." #NotreDame— Matt Fortuna (@Matt_Fortuna) August 1, 2014
Blue & Gold Illustrated's Dan Murphy saw that statement as less a critique on Golson and more an opinion that whoever is QB won't have the kind of defensive support the '12 Irish provided:
@murphy324 The point was Golson didn't carry the team to the 2012 title game. QB will need to play a much bigger role this season.— Dan Murphy (@BGI_DanMurphy) August 1, 2014
Zaire entered South Bend with a fair amount of hype. He ranked 168th overall and was the fifth-best dual-option quarterback in the country, according to 247Sports' composite rankings. Since his style is similar to Golson's, Kelly's decision becomes even trickier.
ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit thinks Golson should get the nod because of his time under center:
The Fighting Irish look to be in for a bounce-back campaign in 2014, and much of their success will hinge on how well Golson or Zaire performs.
Kelly has to make the right decision here. Notre Dame's season depends on it.