Aug. 18, 2015

Malik Zaire – Sophomore – Quarterback

On the possibility of winning the Heisman Trophyââ’¬¦

“Right now, all of our focus is towards becoming prepared for our first game. I think practice has been going well, but we’re not where we need to be at an offensive standpoint or at the expectations we have for ourselves. We still have a few weeks to clean it up, but by game time, we should have it right and be ready to go.”

On the pressure of being the quarterback at Notre Dameââ’¬¦

“I just think it’s important that as the high profile position that the quarterback is, not only for Notre Dame but also this offense, we have the command and the presence of running the show. I think the command and the presence that I’ve been able to bring to this offense has been effective, but I know I need to improve on that in order to be ready for our first game and the season.”

On how self-confident he isââ’¬¦

“I have 100 percent confidence in myself to be able to handle this job. That’s why I was able to be granted the ability to start and the support from my teammates and coaches to help this program win football games.”

On camp since knowing he would startââ’¬¦

“Camp has been great. It’s been a lot of learning. I think some of the situations we’ve been put in as an offense have been more than we’ve experienced the past couple of camps, which is good, not only for me, but also for the group to be able to become adjusted to some of the situations that will be in real live-game experiences. We set those up pretty well. We’ve done a lot of great things, but there has also been a lot of learning.”

On having the red jersey off during practiceââ’¬¦

“I think being able to have as much real time experience and real game experience is important, not only for me but for my decisiveness and for the decisions I make on the field. At the end of the day, I’m not going to have a red jersey on in the game, so any kind of game like experience I can have is good.

On his attributesââ’¬¦

“I think being able to stay consistent, be effective, and make plays is something that I have to have in this position in football, because nothing is perfect. We can practice different situations, but at the end of the day in a game like situation you have to be able to make plays, and I think that’s something that’s a part of my game. It’s part of the game of the guys around me. We’re playmakers.”

On communicationââ’¬¦

“Communication is the number one thing not only for me but for the quarterback position. You have to be able to communicate in all aspects because when communication breaks down, the offense breaks down. That’s something I really harp on day in and day out. When it comes down to it, you just have to be able to communicate effectively. Sometimes during the heat of the moment, there can be times during the game when there will be more highs than lows, but I’m working on controlling my emotions every day. I want to be the guy who can communicate to the best of my abilities no matter what happens during the game.”

On Everett Golson’s influence on his playââ’¬¦

“My whole mindset was about how I was going to put myself in a position where I was ready for any opportunity. He did a great job while he was here. He had his ups and downs just like everyone. No one is going to have a perfect season like you want. There are going to be rough patches and things that don’t go your way, but the thing I’ve learned is that in the quarterback position in general watching Tommy Rees and Everett Golson is that it’s about the team. You have to focus on your weaknesses and understand that you can grow from the position of the quarterback.

On relationship with first-year offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Mike Sanfordââ’¬¦

“Coach Sanford is a guy that’s been more specific than other coaches. We’ve been more keen on finding out how we are going to get better every day and the steps we’re going to take every day to get better. It’s helpful because the day-to-day work isn’t so broad. It’s much more specific and set out each day. The step-by-step (approach) has helped us grow as a unit.”