Brian Kelly wants to make the Blue-Gold Game worth something for his quarterbacks.
Notre Dame’s head coach revealed the program’s most high-profile position competition will get another full-contact workout on Saturday during the Blue-Gold Game, with Golson and Zaire hands-on for the Irish defense during the first half. Both were live last weekend during Notre Dame’s scrimmage, with each taking shots on running plays and both throwing interceptions.
“I just think both of them are guys that require that element in their game,” Kelly said. “Look, our guys know that we’re not gonna take shots at them, we’re not going to put them in a compromising situation.
“Both of those guys need to be who they are. That’s who they are. Guys that need to move in the pocket and they make plays with their feet. They both can run the football.”
Kelly has repeatedly said Notre Dame won’t make a quarterback decision until training camp, assuming Golson remains on the roster. He’d be eligible to transfer and play immediately elsewhere should he graduate from Notre Dame next month. Kelly said last week and Golson has given him no indication of any plans to depart the Irish program.
Kelly has praised both quarterbacks’ improvements this spring. For Golson, that’s meant ball security and limiting turnovers. For Zaire, that’s meant better accuracy in the passing game.
Neither quarterback was live during the spring game last year. Zaire threw for 292 yards and two touchdowns while Golson completed 13-of-24 passes for 154 yards while also running for a score.
“If you look at (Golson’s) numbers last spring he didn’t have a very good spring game,” Kelly said. “He’s had a really good spring. I expect him to have a really good spring game as well.”
Kelly praised his quarterbacks so much for their spring work that he voluntarily rated the duo above the three-headed competition at Ohio State of Braxton Miller, J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones. Miller and Barrett were both out injured this spring with Jones healthy after directing Ohio State to the national championship last season.
“I would take our two over Ohio State’s,” Kelly said. “In terms of depth, I don’t know that anybody has a better situation than we do with the two quarterbacks that we have.”