Notre Dame’s Blue-Gold game is in the books and we are officially at the beginning of the real college football offseason. While I spend weeks dismissing spring football results for good reason, we can still take a fair number of things away from Saturday’s clash that saw quarterback Steve Angelli hit the pylon with no time remaining to claim a 13-10 victory for Gold over Blue.
Just like we predicted…
The day itself
Because of too many scheduling conflicts, I opted to stay home and watch the game from the comforts of my office (which went mobile and had me on a ladder with a chainsaw in the second half with phone in pocket and earbuds doing their job).
It was a gorgeous day, and by most of the accounts that I saw, the fans had a good time despite the lack of scoring for the day. The 33,000+ attendance mark was the most since 2007 pulled in over 51,000. The vibes were solid, and the large swarms of former players in attendance helped create a real brotherhood theme for the day.
cannot say enough good things about the job @HunterBivin did planning the ND football legacy weekend and @Marcus_Freeman1 for inviting back so many of us former players back to be around the current team this weekend.
— Mike Golic Jr (@mikegolicjr) April 23, 2022
The game itself
I will stay aligned with my spring football philosophy here and will neither praise too much nor criticize too harshly. The structure of the game was put in place for competition purposes — not to be an exhibition for what might be in 2022.
The offensive line, for example, was lined up in a number of different ways that will likely never be close to that come the fall. This alignment had an obvious impact on the running game.
It was as almost every spring game before it… mostly forgettable. Steve Angelli’s pylon heroics aside, there were things to like and things not to like — but it’s really hard to put much on it due to context.
The final closing thoughts
- Jayden Thomas is smoother than I expected and I never expected them to use Thomas in the running game. It was a solid day for the rising sophomore after a spring that had him rising on the depth charts.
- Jadarian Price is probably legit. The freshman had 111 yards receiving out of the backfield — one of which went 51 yards for a touchdown. Because of the line situation, I think those results are much more indicative of his potential than the 9 carries for 12 yards.
- Jordan Botelho doesn’t have a home on the defensive side of the ball — which is now a home. Botelho is both a Vyper and a Rover and that’s perfectly fine. His coverage skills were in doubt and an INT definitely helps to prove those doubts wrong. We will always love his kick ass first attitude.
- Last year we hoped Rylie Mills would take a big step forward, and although he did improve — it wasn’t anything extraordinary. If you want to take a spring storyline and run wild with it, Mills looked really good and seems primed to make that next level jump.
- Deion Colzie disappointed with his performance, but the group as a whole was pretty underwhelming. It’s hard to take much of their performance other than they need more — more bodies and more of everything (like separation and crisper route running).
- Houston Griffith did not register any stat whatsoever — so he’s right where he was at the end of the 2021 season. I don’t see how he has any place on this roster come fall camp.
- Brandon Joseph really looks the part. I keep hearing that he’s “no Kyle Hamilton” like I’m supposed to care because he reminds me more of Alohi Gilman anyways — which is fine with me.
- College kickers man… this is going to be one of those years for the Irish.
- Drew Pyne did nothing to change my mind that he’s QB2 in 2022. Personally, I thought he was in a weird spot as the starter for both teams, but that isn’t something that should let him off the hook entirely. He made some poor throws and made some bad decisions. At least it was a practice.
- Marist Liufau looked very much the part in the spring game. I’m in agreement with II’s Tim O’Malley… if Liufau plays in 2021, the Irish go 12-0 in the regular season (yes that means one man could have changed the Cincy game — I said what I said).
We will just kind of leave it at that. There is an entire offseason to debate these things and more. Also… that entry for the transfer portal closes in less than a week. Keep a close eye on the thing.