Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

Brian Kelly doesn’t want to juggle two quarterbacks

Brian Kelly, Malik Zaire

Brian Kelly, Malik Zaire


Brian Kelly has two starting quarterbacks. And while the depth chart of DeShone Kizer, Malik Zaire and Brandon Wimbush is the envy of most programs in college football, it’s a headache for a head coach who understands more than anyone the balancing act that comes with keeping the most important position in the game happy.

But keeping people happy won’t be possible this fall. And from the sounds of Kelly’s recent comments to Irish Illustrated’s Tim O’Malley, that means not entertaining a two-quarterback system to keep both Kizer and Zaire involved in the offense.

From Irish Illustrated:

Kelly pointed to the struggles Ohio State and Urban Meyer had last season as they bounced between Cardale Jones and JT Barrett:

“I worry about that, quite frankly. I saw what happened at Ohio State as the measuring stick. There was no real identity in that offense until they went with (JT) Barrett.

“Once they said ‘He’s our guy, we’re going with him,’ they were able to say, ‘Okay, here’s what we’re going to do in this offense.’

“And then they played us,” Kelly chuckled.

“So I worry about that. I think I’m more convinced that there’ll be a No. 1 and a No. 2 and the No. 2 will have to play when the No. 2 is called upon.”

This isn’t necessarily a new line of thinking for Kelly. It’s on par with what he said nearing the end of spring ball, especially when he was candid about rebooting the competition to allow Zaire to get back up to speed after missing the season’s final 11 games after breaking his ankle against Virginia.

But it’s interesting to note that this is where Kelly’s head is at nearing mid-June. And it’s also another data point to suggest that even though Kelly has had wonderful touch and success juggling at the quarterback position (his work at Cincinnati especially), it isn’t what he wants to do.