Malik Zaire

Jimbo Fisher: Sean Maguire will start for Noles

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Sean Maguire will be Florida State’s starting quarterback moving forward for the remainder of the 2015 college football season, Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher reportedly said Monday morning. Maguire will replace Everett Golson after coming off the bench Saturday in a victory over N.C. State. Warchant first reported the news Monday morning following a weekly interview.

Maguire completed 18 of his 28 pass attempts for 231 yards and two touchdowns in Florida State’s 34-17 victory over the Wolfpack. He stepped in for a struggling Golson, who completed five of his nine passes, but two others were picked off and he lost a fumble. Golson did not play the two games prior to the N.C. State game due to injury. To date, Golson has completed 66.7 percent of his passes for 1,711 yards and 11 touchdowns with three interceptions. Consistency has been a problem for Golson, just as it was last season at Notre Dame, which led to Malik Zaire building momentum to get playing time down the stretch of the 2014 season in South Bend.

Maguire, a junior, has completed 64 percent of his passes this season for 816 yards and six touchdowns when given the opportunity to play. After serving as the backup to Jameis Winston last season, Maguire was thought to be the likely starter for the Seminoles this season until the news of Golson’s transfer to Tallahassee popped up. It was assumed by many Golson would be Florida State’s starter, although Fisher held a competition for the job over the summer, which eventually awarded the job to the newcomer from Notre Dame.

Notre Dame WR Will Fuller says he’s returning for senior season

Associated Press
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Notre Dame wide receiver Will Fuller announced after practice Tuesday he plans to return for his senior season in 2016.

“That’s what I came here for. Just I knew all along that I wanted to get that degree and it’s not something that I want to think about. I’m just focusing on winning one game at a time,” Fuller told Irish247. “And that’s it.”

A Philadelphia native, Fuller was named Notre Dame’s Offensive Player of the Year after a season in which he snagged 76 balls for 1,094 yards and 15 touchdowns, good for third nationally.

This season, Fuller has kept the fourth-ranked Fighting Irish’s College Football Playoff hopes alive in the abrupt transition from Malik Zaire to DeShone Kizer at quarterback. He again ranks among the top five in college football with 12 touchdown grabs to go with 44 receptions for 900 yards.

Notre Dame QB Malik Zaire to have boot removed soon; should Irish roll with Kizer?

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Notre Dame has managed to get by a number of injury concerns this season, including one to quarterback Malik Zaire. The play of freshman quarterback DeShone Kizer has helped the Irish continue to win games and rise in the polls and be recognized as a legitimate playoff contender. On Sunday, Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly told reporters the walking boot Zaire has been wearing is scheduled to come off in two weeks, and that opens the door to an interesting question that must be answered after a possible playoff run.

Should Zaire return to role the starting quarterback without question in 2016 or should Kizer continue to lead the offense moving forward?

This is a question that will surely be asked and debated in the coming months, and the play of Kizer between now and when Zaire is ready to play again can still change and affect the situation. Kizer stepped in to replace the injured Zaire in mid-September after Zaire was hurt in a road win at Virginia. Since then Kizer has thrown for 1,931 yards, 16 touchdowns and just six interceptions and rushed for 308 yards and six touchdowns. The only setback under Kizer has come on the road at Clemson, the new No. 1 team in the AP poll and the top team in last week’s College Football Playoff ranking, and he nearly delivered a win in that game as well.

What if Notre Dame reaches the playoff? Would Kelly contemplate putting Zaire back into the starting mix next fall without hesitation, or will he have to earn the job back from Kizer in the spring? And what happens if Kelly does stick with Kizer? Would Zaire enter the offseason feeling like he needs to find a new place to see some playing time, as Everett Golson did once it became clear Zaire would be Notre Dame’s quarterback?

What would you do if you were Brian Kelly?

Notre Dame loses OL Alex Bars for the season to leg injury

AP
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As if claiming its starting quarterback, running back and tight end wasn’t enough, the Injury Gods claimed another member of Notre Dame’s offense during the Irish’s 41-31 win over USC on Saturday night. Left guard Alex Bars will miss the remainder of the season with a fractured ankle.

“Very similar to Malik Zaire‘s,” head coach Brian Kelly said Sunday.

Bars is the seventh Notre Dame player lost to injury this season.

Bars started at left guard against Navy and USC. But, in a positive note, the player he replaced returned to the lineup and replaced his own replacement. Kelly said fellow redshirt freshman Quenton Nelson, who suffered a sprained ankle in a loss to Clemson on Oct. 3, performed admirably in relief of Bars on Saturday.

“He’s not 100 percent, but he went in there and didn’t miss a beat,” Kelly told our own JJ Stankevitz. “That’s the expectation here. You’re going to have to play banged up. We’re never going to put you in there if it’s a compromising situation — he was not 100 percent, but he knew his team needed him, he went in there and came up big for us.”

Irish lose another key player (Drue Tranquill) to season-ending injury

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Another week, another key Notre Dame player lost for the year. Sophomore safety Drue Tranquill, who was injured in Saturday’s victory over Georgia Tech while celebrating with his teammate son the field, has a torn ACL. His season is now cooked, as announced by Notre Dame today.

Tranquill underwent surgery for a torn ACL last November, but that surgery was on his left knee. This latest ACL injury is in his right knee.

At some point conventional wisdom would suggest the mounting injuries will catch up to Notre Dame somewhere along the way. If the Irish continue to pull out wins despite the injuries piling up, then Brian Kelly needs to be recognized for some tremendous coaching efforts this season.

Tranquill’s injury means Notre Dame has lost six players for the season to various injuries. Last week the Irish lost quarterback Malik Zaire and tight end Durham Smythe and running back Tarean Folston was lost following the season opener. Notre Dame also saw defensive back Shaun Crawford and defensive tackle Jarron Jones go down for the year in preseason camp.