Well if the performance of the QB's at Notre Dames 83rd annual spring game was to be used as a yardstick....pack it up and hand it to Everett Golson.
The redshirt freshman out of Mertyle Beach SC, led a very impressive campaign which saw Gold triumph over Blue 42-31 in a fine fresh day in South Bend, Indiana.
Golson was 11-15-0-120 and a brace of scores in front of 31,582 spectators. Coming out of spring camp, the insiders of the South Bend outfit had returning starter Tommy Rees ahead in the QB battle, with Andrew Hendrix at the backup position. With Golson's performance in this game, the Irish fans are chomping at the bit for Kelly to install the best dual threat QB on the roster in time of the Fighting Irish's season opener against Navy on September 1, in Dublin Ireland.
Entering the game, Fighting Irish head coach Brian Kelly's focus was on improving the QB position which had accounted for 23 of the 29 Irish Turnovers last season and lead to an appalling turnover ratio of minus 15.
There was little or no improvement in this department as the Irish turned turned the ball over a total of SIX times. Of course the, this was not the only repeat offender on this day. Game management, a constant hiccup of Brian Kelly and his staff last season, reared it's ugly head again as the Irish were called for delay of game after gaining possession from back to back turnovers.
It most certainly was not all doom and gloom. The Fighting Irish showed flashes of brilliance from the skill set positions on offense. Aside from the exciting play exhibited by Golson, George Atkinson III carried 15-124 but let two option pitches get away from him. GA3 finished the game with 18 touches for 178 total yards. However, there are some glaring issues with his carrying style in that it he has what I like to refer to as Barberitits
Tiki Barber (RB ex-NYG) was a great back, but had sever issues in fumbling the ball early in his career because he did not cover it up correctly. After some coaching in the mechanics involved in carrying, he rarely fumbled. GA3 carries the ball very similar to Barber in his fumbling days. GA3 needs to tuck in his carrying elbow and secure the ball proper to his chest while running. Otherwise it WILL be stripped if he continues to carry it away from his body.
Both Theo Riddick and Cierre Wood showed some cuts and dukes that would break the ankles of an elephant. All-American tight end Tyler Eiffert was used primarily from the wideout position and looked very impressive against undersized CB's.
Andrew Hendrix and Tommy Rees had below par days for experienced QB's. Rees still stares down the primary target after the snap and bad things happen when he attempts to extend the play beyond it's design, something he should have learned about from the coaching staff this season.
Some impressive defensive play was on display also, with Manti T'eo in for only one possesion, LB Ishaq Williams showed some flashes of brilliance at the drop LB position and came up with a pick. DT Sheldon Day showed some very good awareness for a freshman also by batting down several balls at the line of scrimmage.
Kelly handed the keys over to true freshman Gunner Keil late in the game and the homegrown Indiana native was like a kid possessed in cleats by way of taking on defenders helmet to helmet. I can only pray he grows out of that habit for his own well being.
Questions still surround the defensive secondary in my opinion. They did not look overly impressive to me in the spring game.....lots of room to improve before the season opener.