Weekend recap: Moving day as Irish scrimmage

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While Saturday saw Phil Mickelson make a heroic jump on “Moving Day,” the Irish had a big moving day of their own this Saturday, with head coach Brian Kelly putting the Irish through an extended 50-60 play scrimmage.

“That’s a long scrimmage, but we needed to evaluate a lot of players,” Kelly said afterward. “Today was a movement day, if you will, no pun intended with the Masters. Today was movement day for a number of guys, relative to positions, where we say, we can’t move him
again, he stays here, or we move him back to that other position. With
this scrimmage, we’ll be able to make some final decisions on some

The emphasis for the scrimmage was evaluation for the Irish staff, likely taking stock of what the team has installed in the first block of spring drills. With Kelly cross-training multiple offensive linemen at both guard and tackle, watching the improvement along the offensive line was a point of emphasis, with Trevor Robinson and Zack Martin bouncing to new spots.

“On the offensive line, we’ve moved a lot of guys around to different positions,” Kelly said. “We’ve got Robinson out at tackle, Martin in at guard. We’re moving a lot of guys around. Today was a big day for us to find out more about our offensive line. So we’ve got a lot of film to evaluate.”

With the playbook far from installed, Kelly pared things down to work on specific items and get a general appraisal of his football team.

“We have upwards of 35 different formation groups,” Kelly said. “Today we had three because we wanted to be specific about what we were doing. We’re trying to evaluate. Experimenting, I guess is one way to look at it. We’re not really sure what’s going to best fit our football team. I think we’re still in that period, I think this scrimmage allows us to get away from the evaluation and say, ‘Okay, here’s where we believe his strengths to be.”

This first round of “game tape” will be crucial for the battle along the offensive line, and I wonder if the move of Robinson outside will give us a clue about the position battle between Dan Wenger and Braxston Cave at center. If Robinson can handle a tackle position, that could open up the guard spot opposite of Chris Stewart, and potentially give the Irish another combination that’d allow both Cave and Wenger on the field if they’re two of the top five offensive linemen.