Kelly: Golson will have to compete for ND’s starting QB job
By LaMond Pope firstname.lastname@example.org or 713-2691 January 31, 2014 6:02PM
New Notre Dame offensive coordinator Mike Denbrock, left, speaks as new quarterbacks coach Matt LaFleur looks during an NCAA college football news conference, Friday, Jan. 31, 2014, in South Bend, Ind., after head coach Brian Kelly announced the coaching staff appointments. (AP Photo/South Bend Tribune/Greg Swiercz)
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Updated: March 3, 2014 5:44PM
SOUTH BEND — Everett Golson helped Notre Dame reach the BCS national title game after the 2012 season with his arm and his legs.
But anyone assuming Golson would automatically regain the starting quarterback position 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 every 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 was officially promoted to offensive coordinator Thursday. Notre Dame added LaFleur as its quarterbacks coach last week.
Kelly will call plays for 2014.
“We’re transitioning back to an offense that I feel is best suited for the personnel that we have, and I think it’s important to really get that philosophy and influence back into the offense, and I know it the best,” Kelly said.
“Once we’re able to lay that in there, I think it will give everybody a great visual look at what we want this offense to look like, and I think it starts with me. I think it’s important that if I want that offense to have the look, it’s important that I have the influence in some fashion and this is the best way to do it.”
That “look” starts with the quarterback.
“At times we really haven’t been able to craft it to fit a player behind the center, and I think what I’m looking for in particular is somebody that can make some things happen outside the pocket,” Kelly said.
“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.”
LaFleur, who has experience working with Robert Griffin III while at Washington, is anxious to work with the quarterbacks.
“These guys are coming in with a blank slate as far as I’m concerned,” LaFleur said. “I don’t have history with either one of these guys so I’m just excited to see what these guys are all about and watch them work and see how they compete.”