|2011 Blue & Gold Game|
When: Saturday, April 21, 1:30 p.m. ET
Watch: NBC Sports Network
Live Stream: UND.com
Brian Kelly's Fighting Irish of Notre Dame take to the field on Saturday 21st April to contest in the annual spring ball contest, more commonly know to the Irish faithful as the annual Blue & Gold game.
This will be the very first action that most Notre Dame fans would have witnessed the team in action since the heart breaking loss in the Champs Sports Bowl in early January. In that game the Florida State Seminoles rallied in the fourth quarter to defeat the Fighting Irish 18-14.
In an off season packed with as much drama as you'd witness in an action packed series of Desperate Housewives, the Fighting Irish football team are back in action this weekend.
Notre Dame has made headlines a few times this off-season which most football fans could relate to that old adage and classic Clint Eastwood movie;
The Good—RB Amir Carlisle transfer from USC and eligible to participate this year, along with Gunner Kiel's commitment who was ranked the number one QB in the nation, and an overall top-10 recruiting class.
The Bad-Deontay Greenberry recruiting miss, Tee Shepard quitting the school.
The Ugly-Freshman All-American, Aaron Lynch transfer and the whole social media fiasco that ensued thereafter.
The spring game is a chance for them to give fans some hope entering the 2012 season. The Irish always enter the season with heightened expectations and this year there is no room for error—on the players' part and the coaches' part.
There will be some hotly contested jockeying for position, as there are some key positional battles up for grabs. No more perhaps more closely contested as that of the QB position. Returning starter Tommy Rees will have a huge advantage in this category. Ress is leading the pack in spring ball but is the victim of Irish fans for his one-dimensional game and tendencies for untimely turnovers.
Rees is under pressure though; Returning Sophomore and Med student Andrew Hendrix showed some brilliant flashes in limited game time last year, but is know for allowing mental errors get the better of him on a consistent basis.
Everett Golson's projected brilliance has led to a strange camp. Widely regarded as the next Tony Rice and perhaps beyond, Golson found himself in trouble with the coaching staff which resulted in him having to sit out practice due to arriving late. He has also showed a tendency to be uncomfortable in taking the snap from under center.
Gunner Kiel, the nations top QB recruit for the Irish, will probably hold a clip board for the season and is expected to be redshirted.
Other notable positions to watch out of interest include the WR, refilling the void left by All-American Michael Floyd, DL and in particularly replacing the pass rushing skills that were left when Aaron Lynch quit on the team to be with his girlfriend.
Perhaps the position that is of most concern for the Irish is the defensive secondary. Bennet Jackson, Lo Wood, Cam McDaniel, Jamoris Slaughter, Jalen Brown and and Austin Collingsworth will really have to step up their game this season.
About the Author:
Jason O'Mahony is Ireland's biggest fan of Notre Dame Football and writer for Irishcentral.com