Notre Dame Football
Only one practice remains on the slate for the Fighting Irish, the 85th annual Blue-Gold Game. This “game” is no more than a glorified scrimmage where the team plays in Notre Dame Stadium and wears real jerseys. No wide-sweeping assumptions should be based on this. Undoubtedly, we, as fans and analysts, will over-analyze this scrimmage because it is the only sliver of Notre Dame football we will receive until August 30th.
But, the real work was completed already. The Irish football team has finished 14 practices this spring. The substance of what Notre Dame will take into the summer was figured out during the bulk of these practices. So, what is there to take away from spring football? Here is a recap:
Many expected and still expect Everett Golson to be the starter. He has received the majority of the reps this spring, according to various reports. Golson appears to be an improved version of the player he was two years ago. However, Zaire has showed himself to be an extremely dangerous runner. Golson almost certainly starts for the Irish on August 30th but Zaire may play on a regular basis as a wildcat Quarterback.
Whoever the Quarterback is, they will have a series of weapons. The Running Backs and Wide Receivers may be the strongest position groups of the team. At Running Back, the Irish have three legitimate options: McDaniel, Folston and Bryant. Folston and Bryant may the best tandem the Irish have had in a long time. This spring, Bryant has looked extremely healthy and explosive following his injury last fall.
Wide Receiver is another excellent position group. Corey Robinson, Will Fuller and others are emerging at the position. Can these players be consistent enough to take it to the next level?
Although the Offensive Line has not been set, there are enough bodies to create a solid starting five. The progress has been slowed by the injuries of Nick Martin and Christian Lombard. McGlinchey has emerged as a viable option at Tackle.
The most important thing that occurred this spring was installation of Brian VanGorder’s new defense. Based on Kelly’s comments that the Quarterbacks have been confused in scrimmages makes it appear that the defense is performing well so far.
It is clear that this defense is extremely aggressive. Will this be Jon Tenuta’s defense again?
Many expected Joe Schmidt to be supplanted during spring ball. However, Schmidt has only solidified his spot as one of the Inside Linebackers. According to VanGorder, what Schmidt lacks in size and speed he makes up for in instinct. Schmidt may be one of the captains when Notre Dame takes the field against Rice.
A person who is definitely a captain is KeiVarae Russell. His play and leadership this spring proves that he is the best player on Notre Dame’s defense. Notre Dame fans better enjoy him this year because he may not be back in 2015.