SOUTH BEND – Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly named Everett Golson the starting quarterback Wednesday morning after his team completed its 11th practice of training camp.
Golson had little reaction when informed he had beaten out Malik Zaire.
“Just matter-of-fact,” Kelly said. “Just an acceptance in his own mind of, ‘OK, coach.’ Let’s go play."
Zaire, who got the news first, was predictably down.
“I got the right answer from Malik,” Kelly said. “He wasn't happy. He gave me a hug.”
Golson said he felt a sense of accomplishment because he had to regain the job after missing all last season because of an academic impropriety.
“I don’t know if I would call it relief,” Golson said. “It’s a heightened responsibility on my part now that everything’s set for Week 1. It’s my job to get these guys right on offense and try to lead this team.”
INJURY UPDATES: Wide receiver Torii Hunter Jr. (Grade 3 groin strain) is doubtful for the Aug. 30 season opener against Rice, according to Kelly. Hunter will continue to be monitored by the trainers. He is scheduled for a second therapy session on Thursday. … Linebacker Jarrett Grace (lower leg) remains at least two weeks from being able to practice. Grace did some running drills on Wednesday. “You can see a limp,” Kelly said. Nonetheless, his recovery from surgery is rapidly progressing in its final stages, the coach said. … Aside from day-to-day ailments, Kelly said the team is otherwise healthy in terms of the Rice game, though that obviously could change with more practices.
ENDS SET: While not nearly as high profile as his quarterback announcement, Kelly also named his starting defensive ends Wednesday. Ishaq Williams, the 6-foot-5 senior, was not a surprise, but freshman Andrew Trumbetti getting the call certainly qualifies.
“He’s really separated himself,” Kelly said. “He’s almost separated himself from this (whole) freshman class. He’s just that kind of player. We think he’s got huge upside for us in so many areas that sometimes I don’t talk about him enough. Great motor. Physical. Smart. Does all the things we ask him to do.”
ODDS AND ENDS: The Irish practiced at Notre Dame Stadium for the first time, with Kelly noting the importance of breaking in the newly installed FieldTurf. He planned to practice there on Monday but fear of bad weather prevented it. “It’s a little soft right now,” Kelly said. “New carpeting, it’s really fluffy. Foot imprints are pretty noticeable. Our kids love it. We want to get comfortable in the stadium, too, and our surroundings.” … Kelly said freshman linebacker Nyles Morgan is "totally overwhelmed" but is still fun to watch – and will help this year – because he's "so athletic and so instinctive." … Freshman Drue Tranquill, a former Carroll star, will get a chance to contribute on all four of Scott Booker’s special teams units. Kelly said Tranquill (6-1, 225) is still suited for a safety role, but this is the best approach to get Tranquill on the field immediately.