Wednesday’s announcement by Brian Kelly that both DeShone Kizer and Malik Zaire would play against Texas led me to think of the lyrics to the Lovin’ Spoonful classic. I further fell into a mental black hole and flashback’d to the early seasons of “Beverly Hills 90210” when Dylan McKay had to choose between one Brenda Walsh or Kelly Taylor. Agree or disagree with Brian Kelly’s decision, it was a tough one to make and one that certainly could not satisfy everyone regardless of the choice. In many ways, Brian Kelly is like a young Dylan McKay – in love with both options, but inclined to choose. Unlike McKay however, Kelly took an option not afforded to the Beverly Hills heartthrob – he went with both choices. McKay would end up in relations with both Brenda and Kelly at separate times, but that’s for another post… this is about Brian’s choice.
There are quotes, recaps, and message board posts that have documented the reactions from fans, writers, and the QBs themselves. I’ve been a Brian Kelly apologist of sorts, so I choose to trust in his decision but I can’t help but think about what factors drove him to the decision, the timing of the announcement, and the potential outcomes. So let’s go about some healthy speculation, shall we?
Keep Texas Guessing – This seems to be the most logical reason for playing two QBs, or at least announcing that you are going to. Keep Strong and Co. guessing and game plan for both. So what if it’s two weeks in advance of game week? It was likely that Texas was already preparing for two QBs in any case…
Comfort via the run game – Perhaps Kelly thinks that regardless of whoever is under center, ND will be able to run the ball effectively – including via the legs of BOTH QBs. Since the Alize Jones news, ND beat writers have been hot/cold on our relatively young receiving corps. Perhaps BK is thinking that we can run the ball and the run will set up easy passes that both Kizer and Zaire can complete.
Test the QBs and gauge their response – This is another plausible reason. I’m surprised at how candid both Kizer and Zaire were when asked about the decision, but I did see both try and keep in line with the “team first” mentality. Brian Kelly is no fool, he wants to see how the two QBs react. If they aren’t separated based on their performance on the field, they will now be tested in the areas of self-drive and leadership. If I am Kizer or Zaire, I’m definitely paying mind to how I am rallying my other teammates post Texas QB decision.
It’s easy to agree that this situation may/can/will evolve over time. I think BK has been dealt with a hand of cards that is both good and bad with the optimist in me leaning towards “good” – but a challenge nonetheless. BK won’t have a Peach Pit to retreat to if it turns out he’s bumbled the QB situation this season, so despite whatever reasons he had let’s hope for favorable results.