Notre Dame to use two quarterbacks in season opener vs. Texas

Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports /

Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly said he will use two quarterbacks in the season opener, but the move has met with some resistance.

The old saying goes that if you have two quarterbacks, then you don’t have one. That doesn’t appear to phase Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly though, as he said he’ll use DeShone Kizer and Malik Zaire in the Fighting Irish’s Sept. 4 season-opener against Texas.

"“If I list my top five playmakers, (Zaire and Kizer) are both in it,” Kelly told reporters. “My ultimate decision is that I can’t put one of those guys on the sideline against Texas.”"

Kelly also acknowledged that his two signal callers won’t love the move.

"“I think down deep they’re not happy about sharing the position,”"

Kelly was spot on in that assessment. Zaire has already said he aims to “turn chicken crap into chicken salad” and prove Kelly right about a two-quarterback system. Kizer, meanwhile, told ESPN’s Matt Fortuna there’s supposed to be “one quarterback on the field at one time” and stated his desire to be the one guy.

Zaire opened the 2015 season as Notre Dame’s starting quarterback, but a broke his ankle in the second game of the season against Virginia, opening the door for Kizer. Kizer went 8-3 as the starter for the Fighting Irish last season, with 2,884 passing yards and 21 touchdowns. He added 520 rushing yards and 10 more scores on the ground.

Kelly has employed a two-quarterback system before during his time in South Bend. Everett Golson and Tommy Rees shared the position in 2012, and Zaire started the 2014 Music City Bowl against LSU despite the fact Golson had been the primary quarterback that season.

Kelly has some time to settle on one quarterback, with two non-conference games against Texas and Nevada before a much tougher game against Michigan State on Sept. 17. There are worse problems to have than two worthy options under center, but ideally Kizer or Zaire will emerge as the clear-cut starter. Injuries aside (see Ohio State 2014), a legitimate national title contender can’t have a revolving door at quarterback.