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Video round-up: Blue-Gold game

Apr 21, 2013, 6:14 AM EST

Everett Golson

We’ll dig a little bit deeper into the game later this afternoon, but first let’s roll through some video highlights from the 84th annual Blue-Gold game.

Here’s a quick look at a highlight package, for those of you that missed the game yesterday.

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Here’s Brian Kelly after the game with NBC’s Alex Flanagan. It’s interesting to hear his comments on the safety position and at wide receiver. It’s an open challenge to everybody not named Matthias Farley and TJ Jones.

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And — of course — this happened. Louis Nix, as a shotgun quarterback. After the game, Kelly explained how Nix talked his way into a chance at scoring a touchdown: Big Lou won a bet, achieving something academically that made Kelly happy enough that he let his All-American defensive tackle convert a two-point play himself.

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Here’s Nix and Everett Golson after the game. Louis, as you’d expect, happy and funny. Golson was a little bit introspective, especially when talking about his so-so performance.

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Lastly, here’s an extended highlight package from our friends at UND.com:

  1. nudeman - Apr 21, 2013 at 11:33 AM

    My feeling is that as it stands now ND is in trouble offensively at the skill positions.

    Golson showed us he’s not a lock to take that one giant leap for mankind this year. To hear so much about the strides he made and how great of a Spring he’s had, then see him play like THAT was highly disturbing. And to anyone who says “it was just a practice”, I say bullsh**. You play how you practice.

    Atkinson: Fantastic physical tools but I am not sold here. Hope I’m dead wrong.

    Mahone isn’t ready; Cam is a fan favorite but too small/slow to be anything more than a role player. I’d be shocked if Bryant or Folston make a contribution.

    WRs … can only be described as “unimpressive”. Daniels lacks intensity and concentration, TJ has great instincts and skills but lacks size. Daniel Smith? C’mon.

    TEs: Niklas might be OK, but a HUGE drop off from Eifert. Welch and Koyack never seem to do a damn thing in the way of making plays with the ball in their hands. In fact, the ball never gets in their hands. Heurmann is a long way from being ready

    Backup QBs: Frightening. I don’t want to invoke all the Tommy stuff again, but he is incapable of beating anyone other than the service academies and maybe Temple. Puts enormous pressure on the defense. And as I wrote on the other thread, Hendrix is still the deer in the headlights guy from 2 years ago.

    So with so many questions or outright weaknesses at the skill positions, it comes down to this:
    1) Can ND’s D become studly again?
    2) Same question for OL. They can’t be just “pretty good”.

    If the answers are “yes” to both, they have a shot at a very nice year.
    If even one of those is “no”, then ND will struggle to win 10 games
    And if Golson gets hurt for an extended period, look out.

    • bernhtp - Apr 22, 2013 at 9:35 AM

      Golson will be better than last year, but we need him to be way better to take the next step and not depend on as much luck to win some of the games.

      Atkinson will be better than last year, but not necessarily better enough given the competition from Carlisle and the frosh I expect him to get.

      I agree that Mahone did not show himself to be ready. I expect him to remain pretty far down the RB depth chart.

      No one will replace Eifert’s athleticism, receiving, and capability to attract double teams away from other receivers. Niklas has the size, strength, and hands to be a very capable receiver and better blocker, assuming he maintains his progression. Koyak and Welsh will help, but I don’t expect any frosh to materially help.

      I disagree about the backup QBs. Rees looked as usual, if not a hair better. Hendrix actually had some very nice passes. He was the victim of several bad drops, broken routes and rules that prevented him from using his feet as a weapon, but still did OK. Zaire showed some ability, albeit within the context of needing a lot of development before he’s ready to see the field. He might close much of the gap by mid fall.

      The defense looked pretty good in general except the 2-3 deep in the secondary. The d-line will be studly. Nix and Tuitt are amazing, and the replacements for KLM will be up to the task. There will be more depth.

      The oline suffered from not having Watt. As of this point, there is a big dropoff in the depth chart. They can be studly if no one gets hurt. I hope they continue to develop a lot in the summer or an injury can really put this team behind.

  2. bernhtp - Apr 21, 2013 at 12:45 PM

    Disappointments:

    1. WRs. Other than TJ Jones, I saw lots of poor routes and poor hands.
    2. Mahone: I was hoping to see some of that downhill strength, but he was terrible both as runner and receiver.
    3. Chris Brown: crappy hands (e.g., the drop on the Hendrix screen) and bad routes. Most thought that Hendrix overthrew him on the deep post route, but I saw Brown stop and look once he got past the secondary. Hendrix clearly was expecting him to keep going; hence, the overthrow. 97-yard TD if he keeps his route.
    4. J Atkinson: Got caught multiple times for interference. He’s always there due to his speed, but he never turns around. He could have been flagged a couple of more times.
    5. Leprechaun. How did a fat guy win that job? I suggest that he goes paleo this summer.

    With that said, it was a tough day, especially for the offense. The weather was windy and cold and they were missing a number of key guys such as Watt and Carlisle.

    There will be opportunity for frosh entering this summer to make a difference. Stockton had a good day, but I can’t imagine him getting snaps in a real game.

    • nudeman - Apr 21, 2013 at 2:25 PM

      Regarding your last point, there are some terrific frosh coming in, especially Onwalu (sp?) as a WR. But frosh skill position guys rarely make an impact and usually don’t play much, if at all.
      So ND is stuck with what we’ve seen. TJ, Smith, Daniels, Prosise and Brown
      Wow. Excuse me if I’m underwhelmed

      Prosise might help, but Brown looks to be able to run only fly patterns and has questionable hands

      • Goldy McGee - Apr 21, 2013 at 3:26 PM

        I would say the exact opposite. Offensive skill players are the MOST ready physically to compete. I believe bama’s stud WR that burned us multiple times was a true freshman. Floyd and Tate were both standouts as true freshmen.

      • nudeman - Apr 21, 2013 at 6:52 PM

        Well we can agree to disagree then.
        And I don’t think anyone but the most ardent members of ND Optimist Club would agree that the offensive skill positions are a strength of this team.

        They all will improve as the year goes on, but really, they were freaking miserable yesterday.

      • bernhtp - Apr 21, 2013 at 7:36 PM

        Nude: Goldy’s point is that great/elite running backs and receivers tend to get onto the field before many other positions. On the other end of the spectrum you have offensive lineman, that almost always redshirt (Elmer may be an exception due to his superior physical development and lack of depth).

        I bet Bryant and/or Folston see the field. Fuller and/or Torii Hunter (depending on his recovery) have a good chance.

        With that said, despite the injuries, I am still betting on Carlisle. I was really impressed by the kid in the Strong and True pre-game show. He’s a great kid, amazing attitude, and has made huge physical progress since I saw him a year ago. He is blazingly fast; has GA3’s elite speed and Theo’s cut ability. He has very good hands, and I love the way he catches punts already on the run. The clavicle break is certainly a setback, but I expect him to be near or on top of the heap by the fall.

  3. yaketyyacc - Apr 21, 2013 at 12:47 PM

    yes nude, you are right. how you practice is exactly how you will play. a vanilla game is one thing, but turning it into a touch football game is quite another. somehow, I don’t think the teams that will play us are coming to play a touch football game. maybe that’s why we lost to Alabama, we were playing touch and they were playing contact football.

  4. jerseyshorendfan1 - Apr 21, 2013 at 1:58 PM

    Relax Chicken Little, the sky’s not exactly falling. Lots of practice left before we tune up against Temple. Things will be different with Carlisle in and if Robinson’s as good as advertised, sky’s the limit. Cam McDaniel had a nice one handed grab with yards after the catch. Zaire even had a nice strike to Prosise for a TD. These guys are gonna be good, just wait.

  5. onward2victory - Apr 22, 2013 at 1:23 AM

    Does anyone know where I can see the Strong and True pregame show?

    Also, the offense did look really disappointing, but lets just hope that’s due to the D being really good.

  6. ndgrad62 - Apr 22, 2013 at 12:04 PM

    Remind me not to watch the spring game next year. I have a queasy feeling after this one.

  7. yllibnosredna - Apr 22, 2013 at 6:16 PM

    Tried to stream the game online from Ireland. Couldn’t do it. Watched the highlights afterwards. I really believe that I learned just about as much about this team from not watching the game than if I had watched it….very little if anything at all. Sorry but trying to make any real projections for the upcoming season based on the spring game is a dubious task.

    The supposedly unimpressive performance from the skill position players does not surprise me in the least. With Carlisle out and Neal having transferred, it’s no surprise that the slot receiver position lacks some real dynamic firepower at the moment. Prosise could eventually become a real play-maker in the slot, but I’d have to believe his learning curve might be steep seeing as how he just began learning the position this spring. Reportedly, TJ was solid as expected. It is disconcerting that he appears to be our only reliable receiver. It would be nice to see the light go off very soon for Daniels as he is our most talented receiver. As far as running backs are concerned, I would’ve been surprised, at this stage, if their performance was anything other than pedestrian. GAIII never has looked consistently comfortable at running back–I doubt he’ll ever be extraordinary in any area on the field other than as a kickoff returner, and even there, he’s going to need someone to block for him…Will believe it when I see it. It’s unfortunate as he has loads of athleticism and physical talent, but I don’t see him being a player that can put it all together. Cam McDaniel–Classic overachiever and fan favorite, but I’m not sure he is the guy you want toting the pigskin against the real heavyweights on the schedule. As mentioned above, Cam does not possess the size, speed, or athleticism needed to excel as a skill player at the highest level of college football. Mahone sounds like he has a LONG WAY to go before he reaches the Jonas Gray level of 2011. Nothing I’ve heard about him leading up to the spring game made me believe he was destined to have a real impact on this season. So that leaves us with Carlisle and the two incoming blue-chip freshmen. And I believe that it is from these three young players that ND will need to get (and will receive) the bulk of its production out of the backfield with Carlisle rotating to the slot from time to time. I don’t see any good argument as to why G. Bryant (and maybe Folston) can’t play immediately and possibly start by mid-season. Bryant, in particular, is supposed to be THAT GOOD.

    As far as the TE’s go, the inevitable drop-off (from Fasano to Carlson to Rudolph to Eifert) was bound to happen at some point. Seeing as how Koyack (the offense’s version of Ishaq Williams) has yet to put it together, and Niklas is still learning the position, it’s no surprise that RIGHT NOW no one seems to look altogether special. That being said, I still think someone will step up in the next couple seasons, and ND will be right back on track as Tight End U. Until then, it’s all the more important for our wide-outs and slot receivers to be proficient at moving the chains aerially.

    And that leaves us with Golson, who apparently played at a mediocre level if not downright poorly. It sounds like his spring game last year was far more impressive. That being said, I’ve seen enough from him to believe that by the time the season starts, he will be the catalyst this offense needs him to be. And by the sounds of it, at this stage, he doesn’t appear to be getting the kind of help he needs to make this offense run on full steam. But keep in mind, one bad spring game does not make or break a quarterback. Tommy’s pitiful spring game last year underscored what we already knew about his limitations as a big-time college football quarterback. His half-way decent performance (from the few highlights I saw) from this year does nothing to eradicate those same short-comings. Hendrix appears stuck in neutral–another ND player with tremendous athleticism that can’t seem to put it all together. The only mystery guy appears to be Zaire–as expected. We won’t know enough to assess him as a quarterback for another year plus. Until then, it’s rather safe to feel optimistic about the kid’s upside.

    In summation, I think it’s FAR TOO EARLY to jump to any real conclusions about this offense. With so much youth currently on the roster–not to mention the infusion of talent slated to arrive this summer–the jury is still very much out on how efficient and explosive ND will be on the offensive side of the ball this Fall. Until then AND IF Kelly can settle on the pace at which he wants to run the offense (I highly doubt it will be very up-tempo), I am cautiously optimistic this team–as opposed to last year’s squad–will feature a more prolific and efficient offense.

    Will wait until I’ve actually watched a full replay of the Blue/Gold game before I give any real assessment of the defense.

    • bernhtp - Apr 22, 2013 at 11:06 PM

      I mostly agree.

      GA3 will get better by the fall, but may still play second fiddle to Carlisle and Bryant.

      There will be a dropoff from Eifert, but the progression of Niklas and Koyak along with the return of Welsh will make up for some of the difference.

      I agree that Golson will improve and will be good this fall. I hope he’s consistent enough not to have bad performances that cost us games. I disagree about Hendrix. He actually looked pretty good despite being the victim of a number of dropped passes and broken routes, and the BG game rules prevented him from using his feet that much. His perfect pass downfield even made Mahone look good. Brown’s broken route wrecked the play of the game.

      TJ was the only WR that looked very good. Daniels was OK, but missed a couple of (difficult but makeable) catches that I hope he makes in the fall. We need Carlisle, the frosh, and some summer development.

      • 4horsemenrideagain - Apr 23, 2013 at 10:16 AM

        Niklas is not Eifert. We all agree on that, but Eifert is no Niklas either. Eifert was a solid blocker with nice technique, but what Niklas lacks in technique (at this point, having played the position for two just over a year) he makes up for with being able to runblock so effectively that he buries his assignment. Niklas still runs the seam just fine, and will be able to win the handfighting war with pesky linebackers trying to jam him.

        While the overall feeling of the game was pretty much “blah,” I’m reminding myself of the old saying “the worse the rehearsal, the better the performance.”

      • bernhtp - Apr 23, 2013 at 11:40 AM

        Niklas is a beast, but he needs to further develop his blocking. He was totally exposed by Stanford and almost cost us the game.

      • 4horsemenrideagain - Apr 24, 2013 at 11:39 AM

        no doubt about that. on the worst ones, i thought maybe niklas was coming out of his stance to runblock because of how bad he whiffed. keep in mind though that pass blocking isn’t something that comes natural, but is a skill that requires time and repetition to develop. i’m anxious to see how much better niklas’ technique is come Temple.

  8. padomer - Apr 23, 2013 at 12:12 AM

    It sounds like I’m in the minority, but I expect HUGE things from GAIII. I truly believe he has Heisman caliber talent. His whole pad-level thing, which seems to be his main problem, can be corrected. I blame the “vanilla” atmosphere as the main reason for EG’s struggles, and the context of the game itself (as in, knowing his snaps are limited, flux of personnel, etc). I think the truth is is that we have no idea what his ceiling is, or if it will be realized this season. The one thing I know about him is that he is a gamer (Pitt), which is the main given that leaves me with optimism for this season.

    That said the WR position is a question mark at best. I don’t expect any of the IRISHMOB to make a significant impact at the WR position this fall, and am not in love with the idea that our passing game hinges upon slot production via prosise and a combination of RB’s. I can’t recall a situation in which that attack was potent.

    As for the IRISHMOB RB’s….who knows? But I do expect 3-5 freshman to have an immediate impact this season. One last point that may be neglected in the fact that our offense struggled mightily is that maybe our D hasn’t lost a step? If that’s the case then I’m more than happy. But i would be disappointed if the O has to play the same style as last year, that is, conservative as to not put our D in tough spots. Finally, as mentioned, it’s just the spring game…no reason to read tooo far into it.

  9. padomer - Apr 23, 2013 at 12:13 AM

    I am glad we open with Temple too. That seems to be the route most elite teams go in opening the year with a lay-up. A sort of glorified pre-season game if you will. Also glad that it’s not Navy so we don’t have waste formative practice sessions prepping for an offense we only see once.

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