Q & A With Hook ’em Headlines: Our Answers About Malik Zaire And Irish Defense

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Apr 18, 2015; Notre Dame, IN, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish wide receiver William Fuller (7) runs in the second quarter of the Blue-Gold Game at the LaBar Practice Complex. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Editor’s note: Slap the Sign swapped questions with Hook ’em Headlines. The answers to our questions for the Texas site will be posted later this week but here are the questions we answered for them, re-posted here for your enjoyment!

1. How does Malik Zaire make the Notre Dame offense different than when Everett Golson was under center?

Malik Zaire is an extremely adept runner, which Everett Golson was not. With Golson under center, Notre Dame’s offense was pass oriented. The Fighting Irish offense will look completely different in 2015. Ultimately, it will appear closer to Notre Dame’s 2012 offense that followed the defenses lead. The zone-read will be featured much more in this year’s playbook. Zaire has more arm strength than Golson but is extremely inconsistent and inaccurate. He has improved on these weaknesses during fall camp. However, the 2015 Notre Dame football team will sink or swim based on how Zaire improves on these weakness.

2. Do you think Zaire’s limited body of work in the passing department makes Irish fans nervous?

I do not know about all Irish fans. But, for me, I am extremely nervous about Malik Zaire’s lack of experience in the passing game. If Notre Dame is leading and running the ball well, it will not be a problem. However, there will be a time when Notre Dame will need to throw the ball to win the game. During the 2012 undefeated season, the Irish needed to throw the ball late in the game to beat Purdue, Stanford and Pittsburgh. Even if the Irish are a great team in 2015, Zaire will need to win at least one game with his arm. He probably can do it. But, he has never shown his ability yet.

3. What other offensive weapons should Longhorn fans keep an eye on?

Notre Dame’s biggest offensive weapon is Junior Wide Receiver Will Fuller. Last year, Fuller caught 76 passes for 1094 yards and 15 touchdowns. Fuller will do great things in 2015 despite drawing the attention of every defensive coordinator. Notre Dame will need other players to step or the coordinators can constantly double team Fuller. Chris Brown and Corey Robinson tag team the other Wide Receiver spot. The X-factor for the Irish is slot receiver Torii Hunter Jr. Hunter, the son of MLB player Torii Hunter Sr., had an excellent fall camp. He needs to prove it on the field.

Next: Questions #4-7