Apr. 21, 2012; South Bend, IN, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback Andrew Hendrix (12) prepares to hand off the ball in the first quarter of the Blue-Gold Game at Notre Dame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
Yet again, the Blue-Gold Game will feature a less than exciting Offense versus Defense format. The biggest change that fans will see this year is the reverse in the jerseys. Offense will wear white. Defense will wear blue. Usually, it’s the other way around. Riveting.
To look on the bright side, coaches, fans and pundits will know which is the best unit by the conclusion of the game. Last year, it was obvious that the Defense was significantly ahead of the Offense. Head Coach Brian Kelly has suggested that both units are closer to each other at this point in the season.
Of course, there are a few guys that will not participate as usual. Kelly said in his press conference on Wednesday, “We’ve got a few guys that won’t compete. The shoulders – Dan Fox, Nicky Baratti and Bennett Jackson – and Hounshell as well.”
Perhaps the most disappointing is Redshirt Sophomore Amir Carlisle.
“Amir Carlisle was in pads today, but we will not put him in a contact situation. He tried to talk himself into that, but we’re not going to let him. He’s only four weeks (since the injury) on Tuesday. He’s looked good. He’s gotten a lot of work over the last couple of days, and he’s done a really good job. But he will not compete.”
It is easy to understand why Brian Kelly is being cautious with perhaps the biggest game-breaker on his roster. But, Carlisle has been riding the bench due to injury since he arrived in South Bend in January 2012. He has not played in a football game in almost a year and a half. He needs to get live reps in a game environment.
Another let down of the format is that there will be no live Special Teams. Notre Dame has been abysmal on Kick and Punt Returns in the past two seasons. Not practicing these things in game situations will lead to more fair catches.
Finally, it would not be the Blue-Gold Game without the irrelevant Running Back MVP who will never be a significant player at Notre Dame. Past winners include Junior Jabbie and Clement Stokes. This year’s winner will be none other than Cam McDaniel who will absolutely shred Notre Dame’s second team Defense. He will definitely surpass the century mark.
Ultimately, the Blue-Gold Game is awesome despite its flaws because its the only football game there is until August. Its like the one ray of sunshine in those bleak weather months. Some people will blossom. Some may not. It will be over analyzed. But, take it with a grain of salt and have some fun.