SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Coach Brian Kelly is heading into preseason workouts without knowing who will start at quarterback for Notre Dame, insisting it's not the foregone conclusion many believe.
"I'm not playing a game where we're trying to create artificial competition within the ranks," he said at a news conference Friday. "I think we have competition for that particular role to show itself. I think it can show itself. When it does, we'll be ready to make that declaration. It just hasn't shown itself yet."
Everett Golson, who helped the Irish get to the national championship game in 2012 before being suspended last season for academic impropriety, failed to regain the starting spot in the spring. In fact, Malik Zaire, who didn't play last season as a freshman, outplayed Golson in the spring game. Zaire completed 18 of 27 passes for 292 yards and two touchdowns, while Golson completed 13 of 23 passes for 154 yards.
Kelly said he's looking for a quarterback who is consistent, shows great leadership and has "the ability to take you to a championship."
"If that guy shows himself, I'm ready to name him that quarterback on that day," Kelly said.
Kelly was asked whether that would make Golson the obvious choice, since he led the Irish to the title game against Alabama two years ago.
"I would argue that Everett rode the bus to the championship," he said.
An outstanding defense, led by linebacker Manti Te'o, drove that Irish team to an undefeated regular season. The Irish are inexperienced on defense this season, though, and Kelly concedes they may need to score more.
"We're going to have to be more productive offensively than we have been," he said.
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