Notre Dame’s Blue-Gold Game may be more an exercise in fan service than it is actual football, but the fact remains: The Irish will not be seen on the field again until Sept. 3, so this broadcast practice is the last chance to scratch that gridiron itch for 133 days.
That fan service is the entire purpose to it, really. It could be easily argued a traditional practice would be more constructive for player development, but holding the spring finale brings alums to campus for likely the only time in the spring semester. In this instance, those not in South Bend — where it will be a balmy 77 degrees at kickoff — will get to enjoy further insights into new head coach Marcus Freeman via his active mic on the broadcast, available exclusively on Peacock.
Again, fan service.
Of course, the game-like atmosphere has served as a carrot for the players through winter workouts and 14 spring practices. The reward of the spotlight has been earned.
Sticking to Freeman’s edict that all things be competitive, some reward Will Likely go to the winning team, be it defensive line coach Al Washington’s Blue Team or running backs coach Deland McCullough’s Gold Team.
TIME: 1:00 ET, and with this a practice in the NCAA’s eyes, Notre Dame cannot work for more than two hours. Expect the broadcast to end at or shortly after 3:00 ET.
TV: Peacock, NBC’s streaming service. The broadcast will air live exclusively on Peacock and it should be available on-demand afterward. Notre Dame fans should be familiar with Peacock by now, after last year’s Blue-Gold Game aired on the free version of the app and the Toledo game in September was on Peacock, as well, though no longer for free. To directly quote last year’s Blue-Gold Game preview …
“Peacock should be easy to install for anyone who has not done so yet, and signing up is even easier. However you usually add a streaming app to your television, simply search for Peacock via those same mechanisms. Most browsers also support Peacock, if preferring to use your computer. It is a simple url: peacocktv.com.”
More directly, Peacock has a direct landing page for all things Notre Dame football:
Love some spring football 🏈
— Peacock (@peacockTV) April 21, 2022
PREVIEW: Sophomore quarterback Tyler Buchner, the presumed starter, rolled his ankle Tuesday evening and is not going to play today. If the Irish were facing Ohio State this afternoon, Buchner would be on the field, but skipping the exhibition will protect him from further injury.
It will also give junior quarterback Drew Pyne the spotlight, as he leads the way for both the Blue and Gold teams. Could Pyne dazzle enough to throw some doubt on Buchner’s status as the starter? Of course. Should any amazing feats in an intrasquad scrimmage be looked at with some credulity? Absolutely.
A draft Wednesday morning, with NFL Hall of Famer and current Notre Dame undergrad Jerome Bettis serving in the commissioner’s role, split the Irish into two teams.
Or, scroll through the Notre Dame website designed specifically to give you a look at every player on the two rosters. Was designing a full page for the Blue-Gold Game necessary? You know what? Yes, yes it was.
PREVIEW: With the offensive linemen wearing green today because some will dabble between both teams, per Freeman, some confusion will linger in crediting a winner. Frankly, those linemen got the best deal this weekend. They win regardless.
Predicting one team to win is difficult. The draft did its job of splitting the roster into two relatively even squads, and with Pyne playing for both teams, a quarterback’s bad day — a la Phil Jurkovec in 2019 — cannot doom one team.
But there is one position group that could not be well split simply because it is too thin. The Irish have only five scholarship receivers in action at the moment. Sixth-year Avery Davis continues to recover from an ACL torn in November, and he is joined on the sideline by fifth-year Joe Wilkins with a Lisfranc fracture in his foot. That leaves just fifth-year Braden Lenzy and sophomore Jayden Thomas on the Gold Team, along with three walk-ons, and former walk-on Matt Salerno and sophomores Lorenzo Styles and Deion Colzie on the Blue Team, along with two walk-ons.
Now project out a practice designed to get young players and reserves a moment to relish in Notre Dame Stadium. Will Lenzy play the whole day? Probably not, and neither will his teammate junior tight end Michael Mayer.
Who does that leave as Pyne’s clear-cut best receiving option? Styles. A big day from him will create a summer of hype before he faces his homestate team with a brother on the roster. Styles could conceivably double or triple his one touchdown in 2021, and if he does, some of the concern around the Irish receivers will dissipate. And given the Gold Team could turn to only Lenzy to reasonably match Styles, that edge may be enough to justify a prediction.
Blue will beat Gold. Let’s say by between 7 and 10 points.
That should be specific enough for a scrimmage, right?
— Notre Dame Football (@NDFootball) April 22, 2022
INSIDE THE IRISH
— The unpredictable hilarity of college football brought Ed Orgeron to Notre Dame
— Four-star Texas receiver gives Notre Dame needed offensive piece in class of 2023
— Ankle injury knocks QB Tyler Buchner out of Notre Dame’s Blue-Gold Game
— Things To Learn: Notre Dame’s Blue-Gold Game a public display of the atmosphere created by Marcus Freeman
— Irish Insider: Blue and Gold Game 2022
— NBC initiative gives Notre Dame’s NIL efforts a boost
— ‘Legacy Weekend’ on tap for Blue-Gold Game
— The Bus goes to school: ‘It’s abnormally normal how he fits in with us Notre Dame seniors’
— Legacies old and new: Notre Dame admissions documents increasing diversity, access for all types of students
— 2022 NFL Mock Draft
— The NFL draft is great television, but it’s also an anti-free market scheme
— The best non-conference games of the 2022 season
— Kyle Kelly (@ByKyleKelly) April 19, 2022