Notre Dame Football: Will Malik Zaire Be The Starter?


Aug 9, 2013; South Bend, IN, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback Malik Zaire (8) throws during practice at the LaBar Practice Complex. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Notre Dame Football

In November of 2012, Malik Zaire said, “I’m ready to dive in and compete,” in an interview with Slap the Sign. A week ago, Zaire told reporters, “There will only be one guy on the field and I believe that will be me.”

The 6’0″ Quarterback from Archbishop Alter High School does not lack confidence. He only lacks experience. Can his talent, confidence and leadership qualities make up for his lack of playing time?

Before spring football began, it almost seemed impossible that anyone other than Everett Golson would take the field against Rice on August 30th. But, based on Kelly’s comments and the few glimpses of Zaire this spring, it may not be such an impossible dream.

Based on what Zaire has done in practice, he appears to be an extremely elusive and adept runner. If he was Notre Dame’s starting Quarterback, he would add a dimension to Notre Dame’s offense both through the designed run and running when the play breaks down.

The drawback to Zaire is his accuracy throwing the football. In one clip, he completed 3 out of 10 passes against the defense. These throws were not against a pass rush as well. This simply would not get it done for Brian Kelly.

Quarterback’s coach Matt Lafleur did tell reporters that Zaire was receiving less reps than Golson in practice. This would lead people to believe that Golson is currently #1 on the depth chart. But, Zaire still has time to change that.

This competition is a lot closer than people believe.

Regardless of whether or not he makes it on the field as a starter or not, odds say that Zaire will play at some point during the season whether by design or injury.

In 2010, the Irish played Crist, Montana and Rees. In 2011, the Irish again had three QBs play in Crist, Rees and Hendrix. During their national title run, Golson, Rees and Hendrix all played. Last year was the first year that Notre Dame had the same starter for each game. Even though that was true, Andrew Hendrix still found his way onto the field in significant junctures of the game.

This competition is only making each player better. Down the line, Zaire will only be more prepared to lead Notre Dame as a starter because of his experiences. The only question is when will that be?