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?