IRISH STEW

Notre Dame QB Malik Zaire addresses quarterback competition

IRISH STEW

Mike Vorel
South Bend Tribune

Notre Dame's quarterback competition is a family affair.

At least, that's the way senior Everett Golson and junior Malik Zaire approached the duel this spring, according to the latter.

“It’s definitely a family thing. I think that it’s good family competition," Zaire said in an interview with und.com's Jack Nolan. "All we do is try to make sure that we’re doing our best and being the best person we can be for the football team. That’s the mindset we have going into each practice.

"We don’t control what happens in the decision-making process. The coaches do that. That’s why they get paid the big bucks. I think the focus that we should have as the quarterback group is what we’re doing now, and that’s to stay a family and try to be the best for the team.”

Zaire's best was certainly good enough in the Irish's 2014 season finale, as the junior from Kettering, Ohio, earned MVP honors in his team's Music City Bowl victory over LSU.

But this spring, Zaire said his focus was maintaining that level of play throughout all 15 practices.

“I think I’m just being better and being consistent on a daily basis," Zaire said. "Getting in the habit of doing the right things all the time is something that I’ve installed in myself and worked on a lot in the spring and continued to get better heading into the next season.”

But when Notre Dame hosts Texas under the lights on Sept. 5, will Zaire be the starting quarterback?

That question, of course, still lacks a concrete answer, as the rising junior attempts to hold off Golson, who has made 23 starts and passed for 5,580 yards in his Irish career.

For now, though, Zaire can be satisfied in the strides made this spring.

“I think we did a good job of just communicating throughout the group, and with our new coach, coach (Mike) Sanford, getting him acclimated," Zaire said. "We definitely got the ball rolling well in spring, so it’s a good start.”

Notre Dame’s Malik Zaire (8) gets pushed out of bounds by John Turner (31) during Notre Dame's Blue-Gold spring football game on Saturday, April 18, 2015, at the LaBar Practice Complex on the campus of the University of Notre Dame in South Bend. SBT Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN