To no surprise junior DeShone Kizer was named the starting quarterback on Wednesday. Kizer told the media after practice that Brian Kelly informed him that he would be the starter over Malik Zaire on Saturday against Nevada. Kizer also told the media that he doesn’t expect there to be a rotation in quarterbacks either.
Before the Texas game we all knew that both quarterbacks would play, we just didn’t know how much. Kizer outperformed Zaire by a mile on Sunday night. He was 15/24 for 215 yards and five touchdowns. He also chipped in with 77 rushing yards and a touchdown. Zaire on the other hand was only 2/5 for 23 yards and rushed for zero yards on three attempts.
On top of all the stats Kizer just seemed much more calm and poised while he was in the game. He led the Notre Dame comeback that ultimately fell short, but in the process showed why he should be the Notre Dame quarterback.
DeShone Kizer: "There’s one quarterback now, but there’s still two leaders. We’re still going to lead the exact same way."— Matt Jones (@BGI_MattJones) September 7, 2016
We’ll see if Kizer’s words ring true for the rest of the season. There’s no question both are great leaders, but it’s unlikely Zaire took this news well. Judging by body language alone, he did not seem too pleased when Kizer took control last Sunday night. It should be imperative for Kelly and the staff to keep Zaire engaged while he is the backup. This decision should not create friction in the locker room.
Could this mean the end for Zaire at Notre Dame? Maybe, maybe not. He is scheduled to graduate at the end of the fall semester which would make him eligible to be a graduate transfer.
It’s good to see Kelly make a decision on his quarterback position. Most experts thought that this competition would last until at least the Michigan State game. Now that the Irish finally have their man they can focus on improving and winning football games.