After years where advanced mathematics were needed to decide who won the Blue-Gold game, Brian Kelly and his staff have taken a decidedly more conventional plan for the annual spring game.
Kelly spoke to the media yesterday after practice, giving us the details of Saturday’s game, along with a few more updates on the playing status of Dayne Crist, Kyle Rudolph, Darius, Fleming, and Theo Riddick.
* The Blue and Gold team will be evenly divided, a mix of first and second string players meshed on each team. That said, Kelly’s worked to keep certain tandems together.
“We have balanced up the teams,” Kelly said. “We have kept some positional groups together. For example, on defense we wanted to keep the corners together but maybe the safeties won’t be. So we have tried to balance the teams so that it’s not a ones versus twos. We want it to be very competitive. Normal rules will apply.”
* As mentioned yesterday, Dayne Crist and Kyle Rudolph are both slated to play. Kelly reaffirmed his statement on Crist, but also talked about the protected status of some other players.
“He will play every snap. Every single play,” Kelly said of Crist, before continuing on to talk about the protected players. “The quarterbacks will be in a red jersey. The quarterbacks will not be live. Theo Riddick will play, but he will not be live, he will be protected. And we will be smart with guys like Darius Fleming. You will probably see a cameo from him, a cameo from Kyle Rudolph, some guys like that we want to protect.”
* While the game will have many of the standard conventions, we’ll have to wait to get a feel for Mike Elston’s special teams in the fall. The Irish will kick extra points and punts, but there will be no block attempt by the defense on kicks, and all punt returns will be fair caught. The ball will be spotted at the 30 yard line to start the game as well as after scores, limiting any field position battles that might occur as well.
Kelly also mentioned that while the first half will be played with the traditional game clock, the staff will decide how to run the clock for the third and fourth quarters.