Notre Dame Spring Game Observations/Summary

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The South Bend, Indiana weather didn’t exactly cooperate with Notre Dame today. Wind, rain and cold greeted the 82nd-Annual Blue-Gold Game, won by the Gold 17-14. The spring college football intra-squad game was broadcast live nationally on Versus.

It drew 27,863 to Notre Dame Stadium. Not bad for the abysmal weather conditions. ND typically draws at least 20,000 and this wasn’t too far off from cracking the top five crowds in blue-game history.

Here are some of the on-the-field highlights:

By Paul M. Banks

-Sophomore QB Andrew “Gold Haze” Hendrix was likely the MVP (can I copyright that nickname?) as his numbers were by far the most impressive of the game. He went 10-16 passing for 113 yards, no interceptions. He also made plays with his feet; running five times for 37 yards and two touchdowns in leading the gold to victory. The play of Hendrix asked the blue defense “are you experienced?”

Junior tailback Cierre Wood probably locked up the starting tailback job, if he hadn’t already; with 7 carries for 39 yards. He looked especially impressive on one second quarter drive.

“I like the way Cierre looked,” Coach Kelly said.

“Confident in running the football is the way I would describe him.  He was confident and decisive in his decisions.”

-Hendrix and freshman QB Everett Golson both “went live” in this game; meaning they wore regular open contact jerseys; while the two QBs with experience: senior Dayne Crist and sophomore Tommy Rees, wore the red “no contact” jerseys. The more experienced QBs played the first quarter while the two fresh guys played the final three. Here’s the final quarterback box

Golson 9-18-0, 91 yards, 1 TD, 11 carries 62 yards (game’s leading rusher)

Crist 5-11-0, 34 yards

Rees 7-14-1, 61 yards

Brian Kelly talked about how important it was for Golson and Hendrix to get experience; especially live contact.

“I thought they really calmed down in the second half.  Early on everything was a 99 mile?an?hour fastball instead of feathering balls in here and there,” Kelly said.

“I thought it was a great, great opportunity for them in a game?like atmosphere.  And I think they got that sense of playing in a big?time atmosphere.  So I thought you can’t replace that kind of experience that they got.”

-Blue-chip recruit and early enrollee Aaron Lynch was the standout star on defense, tying Danny Spond and Dan Fox for the game lead in tackles.The stud freshman defensive end led the game in tackles for loss with 1.5.

“I’d also like to give him credit for what he did.  But it’s going to be a process with him.  We’ve got to keep doing little things right with him in terms of where he’s playing,” Coach Brian Kelly said.

But you saw, we moved him around.  He played inside; he played outside.  He’s going to be a great addition.

It is a spring game after all, so you can’t discern all that much from the numbers you read today.

“We got an ankle here or a bang here, but that’s your first concern is that you get out of the spring game without any major injuries, so we certainly accomplished that.”

“We got some young guys some quality reps in a very competitive environment.  So the next time they come out of that tunnel against South Florida when it counts, they know what it feels like.  They know what it’s like to play in that stadium,” Kelly told the media at postgame.

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net , a Midwest webzine. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports

He does a regular guest spot each week for Chicagoland Sports Radio.com You can follow him on Twitter @thesportsbank and Facebook

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