The 125th season of Notre Dame football will commence this fall. Get ready for it with the annual Blue-Gold spring game on Saturday. It’s been an eventful spring, let’s look at some of the biggest stories of the spring, and also point out some things to watch for in the spring exhibition.
-The story of the spring was the defection of defensive end Aaron Lynch, who left the Fighting Irish football team and will transfer to another school at the end of the spring semester. This is a huge loss as Lynch was the jewel of Brian Kelly‘s first ND recruiting class and figured to be the team’s most powerful and best d lineman this fall.
Lynch was a top rated recruit who committed to Notre Dame, de-committed in the wake of the Declan Sullivan tragedy, and then committed again to the Irish. He also dominated last year’s spring game.
-For the second year in a row, there’s a quarterback controversy. The tone of uncertainty began at the start of spring practice when Brian Kelly gave this soundbite:
“It starts and ends with the quarterback position. It’s important they are all going to get an equal opportunity to compete for the position, so they all have to start with a very similar knowledge base. So we’ve kind of taken a step back. If we started on page 50 of the playbook Tommy (Rees) would be ahead of everybody. We want the ball to come out of the quarterback’s hands in a timely fashion and for good decisions to be made. We threw way too many interceptions last year and it certainly affected our win-loss record,” Kelly said.
In other words, even though we know Kelly loves him some Tommy Rees, and usually gives him every possible opportunity, the starting gig is far from his. Even with Dayne Crist gone to Kansas, his position is still wide open. Kelly admits that Rees threw too many picks last year to stave off competition from #1 QB recruit Gunner Kiel and Andrew Hendrix. The latter will certainly get his shot, but don’t be surprised if they put the ball into the hands of the freshman phenom. From day one? Possibly.
-From Golden Tate to Kyle Rudolph to Michael Floyd to…Tyler Eifert. Notre Dame has seen a primary pass-catcher emerge each year and then end up a high pick in the NFL Draft. Floyd will get the call this Saturday. Eifert should be a top 20 pick in 2013. That means he’ll become a household name this fall. Watch as Eifert becomes the go-to guy for the offense.
-Alumni flag football game scheduled to start at 11 a.m. at Notre Dame Stadium, weather permitting. Fans may use their Blue-Gold game ticket to watch the game. Former Notre Dame football player Sergio Brown and Golden Tate are honorary coaches for the alumni flag football game.
Former Notre Dame defensive end Justin Tuck returns to campus this weekend. Tuck, who has won two Super Bowls as a starting defensive end for the N.Y. Giants, will speak to the Fighting Irish football team Friday evening and be an honorary captain in charge of the coin toss prior to Saturday’s Blue-Gold Game.
-Tuck also will be doing a book-signing from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday at the Notre Dame Hammes Bookstore
-Halftime is 15 minutes and will feature a rugby match between the Notre Dame rugby team and a national team that includes former Fighting Irish football player James Aldridge. Not as cool as the halftime of the Pittsburgh game in 2010, when the rock band OK GO followed the marching band covering the theme from the old Nintendo game “The Legend of Zelda” but we’ll take it.
Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site generating millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, MSN and Fox Sports
A Fulbright scholar and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio all over the world; and he’s a member of the Football Writers Association of America, U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and Society of Professional Journalists. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too.Follow paulmbanks