SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Coach Brian Kelly surprised many when he revealed two weeks ago he planned to use both DeShone Kizer and Malik Zaire at quarterback when No. 10 Notre Dame opens the season at Texas.
He hasn’t revealed much more than that since then about how he plans to split the playing time. Asked Tuesday if he had decided yet who would take the first snap on Sunday, Kelly said he hadn’t “figured that out yet” saying it “may be something that we discuss in the locker room.”
“It’s not really an issue for us right now. It’s not something that we’ve contemplated,” he said.
For his part, Texas coach Charlie Strong hasn’t said yet whether he will start freshman Shane Buechele or senior Tyrone Swoopes at quarterback against Notre Dame.
Kelly said he doesn’t have a definitive plan of how he will decide which quarterback will be used when, saying he will do it by “feel.”
“The comfort level of the quarterback and his rhythm is something that is always an issue with them. I can’t help them with that. What we’re mostly focusing on is what Texas wants to do and then how we counter with our two quarterbacks and how we think effectively they can run our offense,” Kelly said.
“So there will probably be times where, man, that probably doesn’t feel good for his flow or tempo. That probably doesn’t work best for him. But what we’re trying to counter is the game within the game, and that is how Texas is trying to defend what we’re doing offensively.”
Kizer and Zaire each think they should be the starter and have expressed displeasure at having to share time.
Zaire thinks he’s the best quarterback and doesn’t think a broken right ankle in the second game last season should have cost him the starting position, especially after completing 19 of 22 passes for 313 yards and three touchdowns in a 38-3 win over the Longhorns last season.
Kizer thinks he should start after leading the Irish to nine wins last season, including three come-from-behind victories in the fourth quarter. He completed 63 percent of his passes, which ranks fourth in school history for a single season, and his 10 rushing touchdowns set a school record for quarterbacks
While Kelly said last week the pair had “embraced knowing that both of them will play” he acknowledged Tuesday that they still don’t like the idea of sharing the position. But he said they will make the most of their chances when the game starts.
“They would like to be the guy, but they want to win, and they’ll do whatever is necessary to win and find a way to win the game,” he said.
Kelly wouldn’t say whether he hopes to come out of the game with a No. 1 quarterback.
“If they both play dynamically and feed off each other, my ideal situation would be I’m playing them both because they’re both playmakers,” he said. “And if we can find a way that they both can feed off each other, help our offense to be the productive offense that we want it to be, I’d love to see them both play. You know, nobody seems to think that this can happen. But we’re going to give it a shot.”