Great to get an early victory on the year. No major injuries=major win. 1-0 Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Overall there should never be huge surprises in Spring games, and this was no different. The offense confirmed the suspicions that it can be explosive under Wimbush, and we learned they can succeed with Book barring injuries. The Defense looks much more aggressive (we got sacks-plural!) and the LBs/Secondary were able to make plays without solving quantum physics (RIP uncle Rico). Further, the team has clearly been drinking their milk as new strength coach Matt Balis’s results are very evident. Shout out to Drue Tranquill with the massive arms/stomach out look. Overall, solid Spring Game.....At the very least it gives us the next 4-5 months to watch highlights as the opening day itches get worse by the week.
Spring “Heroes” quick hitters:
Brandon Wimbush- He showed the ability to make all of the throws and escape pocket pressure. He looked poised in the pocket, but did force a few throws leading to interceptions. One throw in particular stood out was the third down roll out throw to Claypool in the 4th quarter. The arm strength and accuracy was on full display, followed by a read option walk into the endzone.
Chase Claypool- After a very slow first half, he picked it up and looked solid. He still looks a bit awkward coming out of breaks/running in open space, but all the tools are there for him to be the impact player everyone is hyping him up to be. Great toe drag catch to set up the Wimbush td in the 4th.
Tony Jones Jr.- Not a breakout performance by any means, but we will see him on third down for his pass blocking and ability to catch out of the backfield.
Alize Jones (Mack)- Showed that he can make the big catches. Biggest takeaway was his use on third down. He is an absolute weapon on a stop/out route because of his size and ability to outmatch linebackers/safeties.
LB (Nyles Morgan/Greer Martini/Te’Von Coney/Drue Tranquill)- All of these guys looked good-especially pressuring the quarterback and in coverage. Tranquill looked very solid in the Rover spot and made multiple run through tackles.
Daelin Hayes- Helped lead the way in a D line unit that will double the sack output from last year.
Miles Boykin- The leading receiver on the day. Would have liked to see a jumpball on the goal line, but still very productive.
Offense in 2 sentences:
Wimbush has all the tools and players around him to be very successful in his first year as the starter. There will be a learning curve over the first couple weeks of the season, but expect his O-line, RB committee, and playmakers like EQ to bail him out as he becomes more comfortable.
Defense in 2 sentences:
We saw two things in this game that were lacking throughout all of last season. The DBs/Linebackers looked like they could make plays and react without having to think, and the D line significantly increased pressure (which is nice).
Not too much here without live returns and with Justin Yoon out. Sam Kohler made everything he kicked, which is great in case Yoon’s legs can’t stay fresh. Obviously ST’s are a huuuuge area of focus for the year....Wanted to point out Brian Polian and Brian Kelly were parent trapped at birth.
Spring Game “heroes”
Ian Book- Squashed any doubts about his ability to backup Wimbush.
Dexter Williams- Everyone says he has to get more carries, and I will second, third, and fourth that. Get him the ball.
Chris Finke- In his biggest play of the game, he managed to rack up an impressive amount of adjectives (see previous article) “Change of direction, former walk on, little guy, catches the ball well, been productive, change up, quick route runner”- Thanks Flutie.
Tommy “Tom” Rees- Touchdown Tommy trying to reinvent himself as Tom....I have mixed feelings.
Defensive Pressure- Thank you Elko, thank you.
If you are like me, you have already watched every variation of Notre Dame football 2017 (insert hype, pump up) video. At the very least, today will give some additional highlights to help you make it to Sept 2nd.