Heading into this edition of the Notre Dame football Blue-Gold game, we analyzed several KEY storylines and dissected a few pressing questions. Today, we saw if not some answers, at least some relevant information and evidence that could bring us towards some answers; eventually.
The Blue (offense) beat the Gold (defense) 47-44, but it’s a spring game, so don’t read too much into the final score (the same goes, actually it goes double for the individual statistical numbers. The offense scored points in the same traditional way they do in a real game, the defense, by making important and key plays (stops, turnovers, sacks etc.) The most important thing, as Notre Dame football Coach Brian Kelly said: “we got out of it injury free.”
That trumps all when it comes to spring ball. So, Notre Dame football fans what did we learn today?
Who will be the new playmakers at Wide Receiver? Chase Claypool and Miles Boykin
Quarterback 1B Ian Book hit British Columbian Chase Claypool (6 receptions-151 yards-2 TDs) for an 85 yard touchdown strike to open the scoring. It was the biggest play of the day, by some margin. In postgame, Kelly described a lot of the players on his team as “cool, calm and collected,” but wouldn’t describe Claypool in such a manner, “like so many other guys.”
However, Kelly also added that Claypool is more focused and developed and “if he continues to trend this way, you’ve got another physical, rangy receiver you can put on the field.”
QB1A Brandon Wimbush developed an excellent rapport with Miles Boykin, hooking up on a 64 yard, extremely acrobatic, and overall, quite impressive touchdown catch. He then topped it off with a fun, kind of goofy end zone celebration. Boykin, continuing off his breakout performance in the Citrus Bowl, had a great afternoon, grabbing three balls for 132 yards and a touchdown.
“He’s a big play receiver for us, who changes the complexion, He’s a big piece of this moving forward,” said Kelly on Boykin. Michael Young, and his blue hair, caught four for 82, while Chris Finke had five for 81.
How did the Running game Look?
Just like the QBs are 1A and 1B, the same holds for the running backs. Dexter Williams is essentially RB1 and Tony Jones 1a, or vice versa. Remember, it’s just a spring depth chart.
Williams rushed 11 times for 117 yards and a touchdown. “For Dexter, it’s about can he pick up the nuances of our offense, relative to pass protection, and he’s improved on that, and also how long can you stay on the field?” Kelly said, as he pointed out the question marks in one of his feature backs. He also added that Williams had a really good spring.
Jafar Armstrong had five rushes for 48 yards and a touchdown.
Who will Key Defenders Under a New D Coordinator
Greer Martini, Nyles Morgan and Andrew Trumbetti are just some of the key defenders who will need to be replaced this fall, and, as always, true leaders need to be established. Drue Tranquill should be one of the main alpha dogs on this side of the ball, and he made a really nice impact in the Blue-Gold game, registering a sack, a tackle for a loss and nine tackles.
Adetokunbo Ogundeji was another star with two sacks, two tackles for a loss and six total tackles.
Kelly described his defense as a confident group, with a lot of depth at the safety and corner positions. “If there’s one concern, it’s finding depth ant the linebacker position, and it would be my only concern,” said Kelly.
How did the QB’s Look?
Maybe we should have led this piece with the signal callers, like almost every other outlet will do, but hey, there’s plenty of time to overanalyze the quarterbacking depth chart between now at the start of the season against Michigan. Also, we’re sure, you’ve read a lot on this already. Wimbush had a really ugly interception, by Jalen Elliott, but he certainly responded very well to that setback.
He finished 19 of 33 passing for 341 yards, just the one pick and two TD passes, good for a rating of 158.3, while the box score on Book read 17-30-292-0 INT 1 TD, 149.4. Of course, one must remember that QB box scores in these kinds of scrimmages are additionally “take it with a grain of salt” level, because they do not get hit.
Kelly summarized the 89th edition of the Blue-Gold thusly:
“When it’s just spring ball, and you’re practicing against each other, the intensity, the adrenaline is not there like in an actual game. “It’s not Michigan.” (Which we would like to note now is only 133 days away)
“We had a competitive spring game, with a lot going on, we ran a lot of plays at our defense, 85 in the first half, and that’s a lot of football.”
All that experience, for so many newcomers, is definitely key for 2018 Notre Dame football because, as Kelly would go on to say
“There’s some new faces that need to be counted on.”
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, currently contributes regularly to WGN CLTV and the Tribune company’s blogging community Chicago Now.
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