Blue and Gold Illustrated

May 2014 Edition

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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BY LOU SOMOGYI D uring the 2013 football season, legions of Notre Dame faithful were counting the days until academically exiled quarter- back Everett Golson would return on his proverbial white horse in 2014. Although Golson is back now, there's a new horse in the quarterback derby. Sophomore dual threat Malik Zaire, who redshirted as a freshman last season, made it clear the is not studying his clichés about being "just happy to be here." "There will only be one guy start- ing on August 30th against Rice at Notre Dame Stadium," Zaire said on March 28. "There will only be one guy out on the field — and I believe that will be me." Quite a bold statement coming from an individual who didn't take a collegiate snap his freshman year last season, whereas Golson was a 12- game starter as a sophomore on the 2012 team that advanced to the BCS National Championship Game. He passed for 2,405 yards, ran for 298 and began coming into his own in the sec- ond half of the season. Head coach Brian Kelly refused to publicly name a starter at quarterback this spring while referring to it as an open competition. "I don't have a timetable on it," Kelly said halfway through spring drills, a posture he maintained through the April 12 Blue-Gold Game. "I'll know when it's running the right way and it's smooth. It's not there yet." The final spring scrimmage di- vulged some insight into why Kelly has been reluctant to name a clear No. 1. Zaire's accuracy while mak- ing myriad throws has improved, and there was impressive zip on his passes, which often came out with the quick- ness Kelly wants. Golson appeared a little rusty while sometimes holding on to the ball too long. There wasn't anything that Gol- son did or Zaire didn't do that made one say, "This is no contest." The huge difference is actual big-time game expe- rience and success by Golson. "It's always going to be an uphill battle dealing with a guy who's been there and done that with the game experience," Zaire admitted. New Horse IN QB DerBy Malik Zaire wants more than just pushing for game action

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