Welcome to Hot and Cold Takes: Spring Football Edition. As a reminder to all of the readers, this is HEAVILY driven by you. To recap: the format allows for readers and fans to leave their own takes for the game, both HOT and COLD. As a recap, a HOT take is one that may cause some controversy, but will allow you to say “CALLED IT!”. A COLD take is still impressive, but is generally more reasonable/expected. I will highlight the most accurate, most interesting, and most wildly incorrect “fan takes” the following week, which will be great if we get a lot of participation! Enjoy and remember to leave your Takes (any temperature) for the matchup between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
This week is a bit unique, since the Spring game is generally wrought with anticipation, yet leaves much to be desired. HOWEVAAAAA. Never forget that this is the only small bit of college football that can get us through the end of the year. Once summer hits we will start getting more reports and updates, but for the next few months...nothing. I will leave you with....
Chase Claypool, Chris Finke, and Michael Young clearly establish themselves as the starting receivers.
There has been a lot of talk about the younger receivers (for good reason) including Braden Lenzy, Kevin Austin, Lawrence Keys, and Joe Wilkins. I am VERY high on that group and think all of them will contribute this year, and could even elevate themselves to key contributors by years end. However, I do not think they will jump the starting 3. All reports have been overwhelmingly positive for the starting 3, and I expect their skillsets to be on display early. The great thing about the Freshman is that 3 out of the 4 redshirted (not Austin) and have 4 years of eligibility remaining. This is also a call for fans to take a breath and be very happy with the receivers we have. Yes, the younger guys may have higher ceilings, but their current performance is below the current starters. Their time will absolutely come, but just not yet.
Houston Griffith will ease everyone’s doubts about the boundary corner position.
The reports out of Spring Ball have been a mixed bag for Griffith, but I am high on him heading into the year. First off, he has a year of experience at an INCREDIBLY difficult position. The Nickel forces you to consistently play man coverage in space where the WR (normally a shifty slot) has a 2 way go. To be thrown in there as a freshman after the Shaun Crawford injury was less than ideal, but he was still the best for the job. Next, he has both the frame and the footwork to play at the next level. One thing I always watch with corners is their ability to quickly transition from their back pedal (both forward and backwards). This is what made Julian Love incredible, he could react faster than the quarterback could anticipate, allowing him to play at the level he did. Griffith has the footwork to do that, and has made strides after switching positions from safety this Spring.
I am not saying he will WOW everyone and dominate, but I am excited to see him come up in the run fits and make a couple of plays on the ball. With an entire summer to keep reviewing the playbook/film and have 7 on 7 drills, I think he can blossom into a star.
Bonus LukeWarm Take
The Linebacker position will not have any true conclusion.
This battle will need to go through the summer to be resolved. A guy I am very high on is Paul Moala, who switched over to Rover. It may not be this year, but I can see him developing into a great college player with another year in the weight room.