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With Golson out, three will vie to be Notre Dame starting QB

MIAMI GARDENS FL - JANUARY 07:  Everett Gols#5 Notre Dame Fighting Irish runs with ball against C.J. Mosley #32

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JANUARY 07: Everett Golson #5 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish runs with the ball against C.J. Mosley #32 of the Alabama Crimson Tide during the 2013 Discover BCS National Championship game at Sun Life Stadium on January 7, 2013 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

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Updated: June 30, 2013 6:39AM

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly doesn’t think his team will be starting from scratch at quarterback, even with the loss of starter Everett Golson for the 2013 season.

“It’s certainly going to be a challenge. He’s our starting quarterback. He started in the national championship game,” Kelly said.

“But we’re very fortunate that we have experienced quarterbacks in Tommy Rees and Andrew Hendrix. They’ve been with us going on our fourth year. We have great relationships, [they have] a great understanding of our offense. It’s going to be a challenge but one we think we can overcome.”

On Saturday, Notre Dame confirmed that Golson was not enrolled at the university. In a statement released by Notre Dame on Sunday, Golson said that he was suspended for the fall term because of “poor academic judgment.”

Kelly took part in a 20-minute teleconference Tuesday and addressed the loss of Golson.

“It’s like being a dad. You are disappointed, but you know these things happen,” Kelly said. “You want your players to be accountable. There’s a big sense of pride in knowing that Everett handled himself in the right way. He took full accountability and responsibility. He’s going to do everything in his power to get himself back here at Notre Dame.”

In his statement, Golson indicated that he plans on returning to Notre Dame for 2014.

“There are defining moments in everybody’s life. Mistakes are made, especially young kids make mistakes. I think Everett is going to take this and it’s really going to be truly his defining moment. He’s going to grow and live and learn from this mistake,” Kelly said.

“I have a great deal of confidence that we are going to see [this] young man back here at Notre Dame. That’s up to him and what the university has in front of him. But I always look in the positive, and I believe this is going to be an opportunity for Everett to really grow.”

Golson’s absence leaves Rees, Hendrix and Malik Zaire as scholarship quarterbacks on the roster. Kelly said each will be in the running for the starter’s role.

“We have three quarterbacks. Tommy and Andrew have a great deal of experience. Malik got an opportunity to come in early. He has a good understanding,” Kelly said. “Those guys will all have an opportunity to compete and be the starter.”

Rees is the most experienced, having appeared in 33 games for the Irish.

“Tommy knows exactly what the expectations are for him,” Kelly said. “He was a huge part of our undefeated season, and he’s going to be a part of this season as well. He knows what we expect of him on a day-to-day basis.”

Kelly himself remains focused on the “day-to-day.”

“I can’t worry about who’s not here. I focus on the guys we have,” Kelly said. “Next week we’ll have the guys coming back on campus, and I’m really excited about that.”

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