SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Quarterback Everett Golson helped Notre Dame reach the BCS title game after the 2012 season. But anyone assuming he automatically will regain the starting job after missing a year because of a suspension is wrong.
“I know we’re always in this rush to move to Everett, but I just want to caution everybody that we have a very good quarterback in Malik Zaire, as well,” coach Brian Kelly said Friday. “And I’m not ready to hand everything over to Everett.
“I love Everett. He played in the national championship game. I’m like everybody here, but I’m also someone that wants to make sure that the quarterback position is such, especially with [quarterbacks coach] Matt [LaFleur] now with us, that we give everyone an opportunity to compete for that position, and Malik is going to get that chance, as well.”
Golson had 2,405 passing yards and 12 touchdowns in 2012. He also rushed for 298 yards and six scores. Zaire didn’t see any action as a freshman in 2013. The staff will make it clear it’s a competition for the starting spot.
“From my standpoint, that’s very simple because it’s a philosophy that coach Kelly has carried with him since he started coaching 25 years ago, and that’s that the best player plays,” offensive coordinator Mike Denbrock said.
Denbrock officially was promoted to offensive coordinator Thursday. Notre Dame added LaFleur as its quarterbacks coach last week. Kelly will call the plays.
“We’re transitioning back to an offense that I feel is best-suited for the personnel that we have,” Kelly said. “It’s important to really get that philosophy and influence back into the offense, and I know it the best.
“At times, we really haven’t been able to craft it to fit a player behind the center, and what I’m looking for in particular is somebody that can make some things happen outside the pocket. We have been driven behind the tackles for the last couple of years. We would like to be a little bit more dynamic outside the pocket.”