Notre Dame Will Play Both Quarterbacks at Texas

Deshone Kizer and Malik Zaire were both named to the Maxwell Award Watch List on Tuesday. (Photo: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)
Deshone Kizer and Malik Zaire will both for Notre Dame against Texas. (Photo: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)

Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly has made a decision on the quarterback position – sort of.  Kelly announced on Wednesday that Notre Dame will in fact play both Malik Zaire and Deshone Kizer at quarterback in the season opener against Texas.

Kelly would not commit to what Notre Dame will do at quarterback anything past the Texas game, but reiterated several times that both QBs will play.  Kelly stated that it was abundantly clear that both will keep making plays in camp and wouldn’t really be able to separate themselves.

Kelly also reiterated once again that the offense is the same regardless of who is quarterback although the play calling would be altered.

We’ll have more thoughts on this later.

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18 Comments

  1. I’ve never criticized BK much before but this decision is basically a weak one in my opinion. He talks about being worried about young receivers yet he compounds the problem by platooning QBs and adds more difficulty on inexperienced receivers.

  2. New year same story, QB controversy. After hearing his interviews and reasons for needed both the play, I am worried about this offense. If you have no confidence in your wide receivers, this team is in trouble. If you can stretch a defense they will put 8 in the box and you won’t be able to run.

    Let’s look at where ND is at:

    Young unproven defense
    Young unproven wide receivers
    Two disgruntled QB’s

    They are strong at O-line which is great and strong at RB.

    We will know how good they are after the first game in Texas. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

  3. As long as Kelly doesn’t make it obvious as to what is coming offensively with each of them in. For example, defenses will know that Zaire is the more natural running QB so they might defend more for that when he is in. If Kelly is smart, he will let Zaire destroy them with his arm when they might be expecting it. Just like when Kizer is in they might not be expecting as much running from the QB so Kelly should let Kizer run.

    I think it will be fine as long as both are 100% on board with it and do not show negative emotion because they get pulled in a certain situation.

    And I like the comment that MTA made about giving them both in-game experience early, especially against a formidable opponent like Texas. If one does go down, we will literally lose nothing.

  4. So everyone knows that a 2 QB system doesn’t work but…

    Every rule has an exception, lets hope that MZ and DK are the exception and not the rule.

    Triple option and the pitch man is Zaire, could give the defenses fits

  5. MikeT

    I do agree it can affect the rest of their team. Psychologically probably shouldn’t be a problem. I think they all respect and work well with both QB’s from that standpoint.

    But technique wise. I think that’s probably what BK was referring to regarding the challenges. It will be up to the offensive coaches to make sure the players can make the adjustments accordingly. I think that can be coached to some extent.

    The psychological can’t but again, that I don’t see as an issue. The players will respond to whoever the QB is.

  6. Also I wonder how the receivers feel about switching back and forth. The ball spins differently from a left handed quarterback than a right hander. Might not matter in practice but in a game pressure situation it may cause some issues. Off course it also could confuse some offenses.

  7. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Zaire transfers after this season after listening to some of the interviews he’s given lately. He clearly gives ND their best chance to win games in my opinion. He should graduate in the spring and can play right away someplace else. Might even be able to get an extra year of eligibility because of his injury. Kizer is a good quarterback and has some impressive wins under his belt but he also failed to help the Irish win some of the biggest games they played. And yes I know it’s a team sport. If he transfers, come to Florida Malik, the Gators need you.

  8. Even BK acknowledge a 1 QB system is easier to run, but both are playing so well, he couldn’t really elevate one over the other.

    As others noted, I imagine one will eventually take over more snaps. Perhaps that will depend on the teams defenses weak to weak. I can imagine a scenario where Zaire’s skill set would work best against certain teams, therefore he takes more snaps in those games, and others where Kizer’s would work better and so forth. If the result is a win, that’s all I care about.

    I don’t object to the strategy. I think both are extremely talented and have great potential. I’d rather see him use all the tools at his disposal rather than sit a resource on the bench just because it appears easier.

    Both have contributions they can make. What a waste it would be not to use them.

  9. If BK wants to let MZ run in a few TD’s from the 5 yard line, there’s no harm. During the summer, coaches habitually condition their backup players to believe they’re all going to play vital roles in the upcoming season. In this case, BK did it publicly due to the high profile, high pressure situation and the fear that MZ will transfer.

  10. Ridiculous. Goodbye season!

    Lacks the fortitude to make a tough decision and the team will pay for it. Hard to win games when you can’t establish an identity. To say that the transition is meaningless is silly

  11. I am not in favor of playing 2 QB. I understand the decision considering neither has really elevated himself in practices. I still believe Kizer is the best choice and the better player overall.

    I don’t see Kelly using a 2 QB system for the entire season. The one who plays the best versus Texas could easily become the starter the rest of the way!

  12. And every player on the team is in the best shape of their life, there are no starters but merely 1A and 1B, and so on and so forth.

  13. Not a fan of the two Quarterback system, but we’ll see what happens. It’s a good strategy to try and keep two QB’s on your roster and not transferring.

  14. I’m glad to read that. A wise decision. When you have two elite QBs, either of which can be injured on any given play, having them both gaining in-game real time experience seems obvious for their growth and for the betterment of the team’s most important position. Let them earn playing time based on what they do during the game rather than at practice, as both apparently have shown star quality during practice.

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