It was a crisp, albeit sunny day inside Notre Dame Stadium as the Notre Dame Fighting Irish wrapped the spring practice season up with the annual Blue-Gold Game.
It was a boring affair, but to be fair, virtually all spring games are for every school across the country. The “boredom” refers more to the style of play that Notre Dame chose to play today.
We had hoped that the Irish would use this game to push the ball more vertically up and down the field. There is no quarterback competition, so neither Ian Book or Phil Jurkovec would have anything to lose. It would also be a chance to see where guys like Houston Griffith, Avery Davis, and even D.J. Brown are in terms of their coverage skills against a more vertical passing team.
That just wasn’t the case as it was the familiar crossing route / quick out/ checkdown offense that we came to know last season.
Of course, Brian Kelly may not have wanted to produce such a public display of work — and I get that. Still, it did nothing to make me think that we should expect much more of it during the season.
There was one solid long throw down the field, and Chase Claypool was the recepient of that pass from Ian Book. Claypool shined with 4 catches for 92 yards and really seems to have owned that #1 receiver persona as he takes over the boundary position from Miles Boykin.
Jafar Armstrong had a huge day with 85 yards on the ground and 71 yards catching the ball out of the backfield. Armstrong was everything we hope he can be in 2019 as he is the most versatile offensive weapon the Irish have on the roster.
There wasn’t a lot of big picture answers for the defense today despite the 15 sacks and 21 TFL’s. The rules obviously worked in their favor here, and the refs may have been a bit “whistle happy.” I really would have liked to have seen a little more leeway on how the quarterback was “tackled.”
At any rate, we saw plenty of good things today from Paul Moala who led all defenders in tackles with 9 (8 solo). It was also a chance for Derrik Allen to get more reps, and he played quite well despite reports from spring saying things to the contrary. Walk-on Temitope Agoro also had a good showing and looked quite capable if needed during the season.
It was what it was. A scrimmage practice that the public got to see, but it should not (nor will it ever) really reflect what we will see once the Irish travel to Louisville.
We will have more on OFD over the course of the next few days, but the biggest thing to take away... no injuries. That’s a bonus.
A lot of wind and I had problems with “buttons” today. Yes... it was my phone that went off during Kelly’s presser. The Notre Dame Football offseason begins.Posted by One Foot Down - For Notre Dame Fighting Irish fans on Saturday, April 13, 2019