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Notre Dame Football: What did we learn about the Irish from the Blue-Gold game?

What can we look at in this mostly nothing-burger of a scrimmage?

Fred Assaf

I think we all know and understand by now just how little we all know about what goes on inside the Notre Dame football team — especially this time of year. I also believe that we are all on the same page with the amount of weight we should put into this glorified scrimmage. I don’t mean that to demean it either. The Blue-Gold Game is the perfect opportunity for people who aren’t normally able to make it up for a game for one reason or another to go. I personally loved going the few times I’ve gone. I just mean that it’s a scrimmage against your own team, with mixed up and unfinished units - four and a half months before your first real game. There’s only so much we can and should take away from it. That’s not to say there’s nothing to take away, I think there are a few things we can point to.

Notre Dame Spring Football Game Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images

I won’t bury the lead yes, Sam Hartman. Following the hype surrounding his transfer he did about as much as you can do to justify that hype in a spring game. The touchdowns will stand out to you, and so will the deep ball to Thomas early, that was all great. What really struck me is just how different it feels with him “under center” as compared to what we’ve had over recent years. I had obviously seen him play plenty of times before and was prepared to see that difference, but it was even more than I anticipated. *Incoming cliche/obvious statement - He just looks like a quarterback back there. All jokes aside though, with the quarterbacks we’ve had (huge Book fan here) it really feels that way. He’s a combination of physical and mental traits that we’ve been missing. I know he had a red jersey on but his pocket prescience and progressions were very, very nice to watch. Heading into yesterday my worries about this season were that too much hype may be put on Hartman and that he may have done well just not as well as some people think. After yesterday I no longer have that worry, especially with the support he seems to have around him.

Notre Dame Spring Football Game Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images

I think that Jayden and Jaden are going to be a problem for opponents next season (insert double spider-man meme) After last season I really thought Jayden Thomas could take big steps and become a dude this season. From the looks of it, he is starting down that path. I think Hartman is going to help lift him greatly as it looks to me like they’re connecting very well. With the departure of Kaleb Smith and Lorenzo Styles, you hoped to have one of the early enrollees making a statement. Jaden Greathouse took that torch and ran with it, literally with 11 catches for 118 yds. With the improvements we’ve seen in wideout recruiting wise and with Hartman starting the build to the QB room we want, I think this offense has the talent for a great season and seasons going forward.

Defense is even harder to try to gain insight from in a scrimmage like this for obvious reasons. The one thing that did stand out to me was Jaylen Sneed. This may be because I was living in South Carolina when he was in high school and I really want him to do great, but I thought he was flying around. He was second in tackles with 7 behind Nolan Ziegler who had 10, but he really looked as if he has been making strides and that’s great to see. Other than that I didn’t take much from the defensive side of the ball.

I still have plenty of questions heading into the season. What’s a Gerad Parker offense look like? What’s the D-line going to look like? Will we be able to defend in the red zone? How awesome is this running-back room going to be? (Couldn’t go without mentioning) All jokes aside some of these questions and others you or I may have may not be answered even after the season has started. Patience is the name of the game, don’t overreact one way or another. I think we can all take solace in that our transfer QB looks to have deserved the hype, the wide-out room is improving (even if it’s just in numbers) and the strength of our offense last season (OL, RB) is still in great form. That will have to do for now.