It’s tough to evaluate a backup quarterback based on small sample sizes, but over the course of his three years at Notre Dame, Malik Zaire racked up nearly 100 pass attempts.
Now with the Florida Gators, Zaire will compete for the starting job and is considered the favorite to win the battle with redshirt freshman Feleipe Franks and returning starter Luke Del Rio. Franks is likely the quarterback of the future in Florida, and Del Rio has more experience in the Gators current system. But Zaire’s experience at Notre Dame gives him a leg up on the competition.
Here’s a breakdown of Malik Zaire’s passing chart from his days with the Irish, followed by a few notes on his performance and his future with the Gators:
- Zaire clearly struggled a bit with the deep ball in his limited reps, completing less than one-third of his attempts. And if not for Will Fuller, it could have been worse. On throws 20+ yards downfield, Zaire was 4-7 when targeting Fuller, but just 1-9 when throwing to everyone else.
- It’s tough to gauge how Florida’s receivers will help or hurt Zaire. Antonio Callaway was Florida’s go-to deep threat a season ago with 18 targets at 20+ yards. But he caught just five of those targets. Hopefully for the Gators, improved quarterback play allows Callaway to convert more of those deep balls into big gains.
- The obvious positive note here is Zaire’s zero interceptions. He seems to fare well under pressure as well, completing nearly 50 percent of his attempts.