Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly has a bit of an interesting decision to make with his starting quarterback in 2016. Does he give the starting nod back to Malik Zaire, back from injury this year, or does he keep the offense in the hands of the slightly younger DeShone Kizer, who became a rising star in his own right once taking over last fall. There is no timetable for making a decision final, but Kelly is not looking to make the call at the end of the spring football practice season.
“I don’t think we’ll make a decision after spring,” Kelly said, according to Inside the Irish. “The two quarterbacks are really good players. Each one of them has different things they need to work on.”
It was last year around this time Kelly was bold enough to suggest he liked his quarterback situation better than the one that was found in Ohio State, where Urban Meyer was faced with having to decide (at the time) between Braxton Miller, J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones. Kelly appears confident in both of his primary options for running the offense once again.
“They’re both No. 1s. They both probably can’t play at the same time,” Kelly said. “One’s going to have to be the starter and somebody’s going to be unhappy, but I can’t keep them all happy. We’re not going to go into the season with a team that does not have an identity. We’re going to have an identity as to who we are and that doesn’t mean we can’t play more than one quarterback. But we’ll have a quarterback and we’ll get that established.”
Expect plenty of discussion about the quarterback play in South Bend this spring and over the summer. Unless one rises to a level that is far and above the other, Kelly will very likely refrain from making a concrete decision for as long as possible. It is likely Kelly will want to have a starting quarterback named for the season opener, when Notre Dame visits Austin to play Texas on September 3. Then again, it would not be a shock to see Kelly suggest both will get playing time in the season opener on the road either.
For more Notre Dame coverage, check out Inside the Irish.