Notre Dame Football: Fighting Irish need to take a closer look at Malik Zaire

Tommy Rees may not be the best option for Notre Dame

5/27/13 in NCAAF   |   Tyler_Waddell   |   410 respect

Tommy Rees was called upon as a freshman when Charlie Weis gave up on Dayne Crist. He was Notre Dame's full-time starter in 2011 under Brian Kelly's first season. He played spot duty last year when Everett Golson struggled, showing poise as a veteran.Blog Photo - Notre Dame Football: Fighting Irish need to take a closer look at Malik Zaire

Now a senior, it looks as if Rees will get one more opportunity to be the man in South Bend and hold onto it. With Golson's one-year ban due to "poor academic judgement," the starting position is unsettled with many questions.

Rees has the chance to answer that question. But it won't be easy.

Many are expecting Rees to be the automatic starter following Golson's surprising departure. To assume this is, is well, you know what they say about assuming.

Junior Andrew Hendrix has a strong arm, but lacks the decision-making skills and downfield accuracy to beat out Rees for a shot to lead an Irish team that is coming off a 12-win season. He's a solid college backup, but isn't the answer here.

Rees will battle with former four-star prospect Malik Zaire, who was a highly-touted recruit from the 2013 class. He is a dual-threat quarterback that shares a lot of the same qualities as Golson as a runner that can spread the field and give you a lot of options on offense.

Zaire currently has a redshirt, but it would be wise for Kelly to burn it. It would be favorable for both parties to allow him to sit the year out, learn the playbook and develop—but the situation obviously calls for a change of plans.Blog Photo - Notre Dame Football: Fighting Irish need to take a closer look at Malik Zaire

Rees has shown that he can come in and get Notre Dame through some difficult situations. However, he has also proved that he's not a reliable option to get the Irish to the next level.

Like Golson, Zaire has big-play potential. He has a lot of risk to his name, but so did Golson as a freshman—and he took his team from the depths of the unranked to the biggest stage of them all. Rees was there to lead from the sidelines and provide Kelly and Co. a solid backup plan for when things got dicey.

They should do the same thing with him this fall.

It would only make sense. The system revolves around Golson's skill set as a dual-threat quarterback. If the coaching staff decided to roll with Rees as the full-time starter, they would have to adjust the offense to fit his abilities, which lean toward the pro style.

This could set Notre Dame back a year, especially if Golson returns from his ban in 2014 as expected. So why not just stick with what they know works? It seems like the only viable option.

And who knows: If Zaire can be as effective as Golson was during his freshman campaign, maybe the Irish can stay on their path as a BCS contendor.


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