Quarterbacks the focus of Notre Dame spring game

Written By BY LAMOND POPE Posted: 04/13/2014, 02:34am
Array Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson sprints out of the pocket during their spring NCAA college football game Saturday April 12, 2014, in South Bend, Ind. The Blue Gold game marks the end of spring football practice. (AP Photo/Joe Raymond)

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Notre Dame finished spring camp the same way it started it: without a definitive starter at quarterback.

In their final opportunity to showcase their progress, Everett Golson and Malik Zaire put up big numbers Saturday at Notre Dame Stadium. Zaire completed 18 of 25 passes for 292 yards and two touchdowns, and Golson threw for 154 yards and ran for a touchdown to lead the offense to a 63-58 victory against the defense in the Blue-Gold Game.

The Irish didn’t have enough healthy offensive linemen to split the roster into two teams, so the game featured a format that awarded points for big plays by the offense and defense, which wasn’t allowed to tackle the quarterbacks.

Afterward, Golson and Zaire avoided stirring the pot with regard to their competition.

‘‘I’m just trying to worry about taking care of what I have to take care of — footwork, pocket presence,’’ Golson said. ‘‘That’s a big thing for me. I’m just trying to worry about myself, and everything will just take care of itself.’’

Coach Brian Kelly reiterated that the plan is to avoid a two-quarterback system this fall.

‘‘I would like to have one quarterback because they both can run the offense,’’ Kelly said. ‘‘This is not about having one offense for one quarterback and another offense for the other. . . . I should be able to figure this thing out.

‘‘We should be able to get our players in a position where we can have a starting quarterback. I’ve been doing it long enough that I would hope I could figure it out come time to play Rice.’’

Most assumed Golson would regain the starting spot after missing last season because of a suspension. He started 11 games in 2012, helping Notre Dame reach the Bowl Championship Series title game.

‘‘Nothing is ever given to you,’’ Golson said. ‘‘At any time, you are going to have to work for it. What we have right now is a quarterback battle, so you are definitely going to work. That competition is going to push both of us. We’ll see what will happen.’’

Zaire didn’t play in a game as a freshman last season. He was under center for the first possession Saturday and threw a 29-yard pass to William Fuller to set up a one-yard touchdown run by Cam McDaniel. Zaire completed a 39-yard touchdown pass to C.J. Prosise on his second series and threw a six-yard touchdown pass to Amir Carlisle on his third.

‘‘Everybody is out there trying to fight for a position, but, for a spring game, it’s about having fun and beating the defense,’’ Zaire said. ‘‘As an offensive unit, I was glad to get out there and score a lot of points for the offense.’’

Email: lpope@post-trib.com

Twitter: @lamondpope

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