Getting a look at the Notre Dame players only seven rows behind the sideline was an easy way to really learn a little more about where these players stand. Here are some notes about things that stood out during the 84th Annual Blue-Gold Game:
- Malik Zaire is a physically built Quarterback. When he stands next to Everett Golson, he looks like the player who has been through three springs instead of one. If a person was approaching the two without any prior knowledge they would probably believe that Zaire was the person who is slated to start in the fall and not Golson. What does this mean? Not too much because it is of course more than just physical traits that make up a great Quarterback. However, it could mean that Golson will be extremely injury prone like we saw last season. Notre Dame will always need a solid #2 Quarterback who is ready to come in at a moment’s notice.
- Notre Dame utilized a four man front frequently throughout yesterday’s game. This had been discussed at length during the spring and it appears to be here to stay. The game has not been reviewed yet to see exactly how much time Notre Dame spent in 3 down and 4 down but it felt as if Notre Dame was in 4 down more than 50% of the time. They could be moving in this direction for two reasons. One, this season they will not have Kapron Lewis-Moore who helped them anchor the line along with Louis Nix and Stephon Tuitt. Second, Notre Dame was gouged in the Championship game when Alabama’s Offensive Line got to the second level and blocked Notre Dame’s Linebackers, most notably Manti Te’o. So, this could be a move schematically to prevent these types of runs from happening.
- C.J. Prosise received most of the work yesterday in the slot. When he was not in the game, he was rotating with a Tight End like Ben Koyack. Prosise showed many flashes of his ability to be a dynamic player despite only hauling in two passes. One long pass that he failed to snag should have been pass interference on Notre Dame Safety Matthias Farley. Obviously, he needs to come down with the ball regardless. But, overall he is getting open enough to be dangerous against most defenses.
- A Freshman Running Back either Greg Bryant or Tarean Folston will have an excellent opportunity to play this season because of the influx at the position. Even though it appears like George Atkinson III has nailed down the spot, he still posesses many of the same issues he had a year ago. He runs too high and fails to get down hill fast enough. The reason he runs to high could be because of his time as a sprinter. Cam McDaniel showed some nice things on Saturday but does he have anything that is other than “nice”? This seemed like a question that would be resolved going into the spring but now it seems like one of the biggest coming out of spring.