Kelly: Returning Golson better understands offense

Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly looks on against Air Force in the fourth quarter of Notre Dame's 45-20 victory in an NCAA football game at the Air Force Academy, Colo., on Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly looks on against Air Force in the fourth quarter of Notre Dame's 45-20 victory in an NCAA football game at the Air Force Academy, Colo., on Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly says quarterback Everett Golson returns to the Fighting Irish as a stronger player with a better understanding of the offense even after missing last season.

Kelly said Friday that he can talk to Golson about pass protection, receiver routes and other nuances of the game that he couldn’t have before Golson missed last season while serving a semester-long suspension for academic impropriety. But Kelly says he hasn’t seen Golson throw a pass yet.

Although Golson led the Irish to the national championship game in 2012, Kelly says he expects sophomore Malik Zaire to compete with him for the starting job. Kelly says Zaire needs to step up and show he’s ready to lead and practice as though he’s the starter.

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