April 19, 2009 // Notre Dame Football

Blue/Gold Game Player Observations – Offense

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Unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend this year’s Blue/Gold game for the first time in a couple years, but luckily I had a chance to review the video of the game on und.com this evening and will have a bunch of posts up tonight and tomorrow.  First up, here are some observations of the offensive players.  I’ll follow this up with some observations on the defensive players as well.

Quarterbacks

  • Jimmy Clausen – Clausen looked much more comfortable in the pocket yesterday. He moved around well and didn’t panic and even took off for a long run. He was very accurate outside of the pick 6 he threw to Blanton. His stats weren’t anything special, but it was clear Weis wanted to focus on the running game.
  • Dayne Crist – Crist took a couple deep shots that came up just short. He clearly looks the part of the franchise quarterback, but there is gap between he and Clausen when it comes to accuracy. Crist does, however, look to be the best #2 quarterback we’ve had in a long time.
  • Nate Montana – Montana played well yesterday. He had a nice pass down the middle of the field to Ragone off a play action fake and certainly looked like a capable #3 option.

2009-blue-gold-allenRunning Backs

  • Armando Allen –Allen is starting to separate himself from the pack at running back. He ran with authority and showed another gear yesterday. The radio announcers commented that Allen looked noticeably faster. One of knocks on Allen last year was that he was a bit hesitant and didn’t attack the holes when they were there. Yesterday that was not the case. Allen took home MVP honors with 90 yards on 12 carries.
  • Robert Hughes – Hughes looked better than he did at any point last year, but he still looked to make some defenders miss when he had an opportunity to lower his shoulder and run through them. Hughes ended up with 93 yards on 21 carries and 2 touchdowns.
  • Jonas Gray – Gray might be the most talented running back on the roster, but still needs some work on the fundamentals. He found running lanes when it didn’t appear like there was much room. Gray ran 20 times for 89 yards and scored once.
  • James Aldridge – Aldridge did not play yesterday due to a shoulder surgery, but according to Weis, he would be the starting fullback if the season started today.

Tight Ends

  • Mike Ragone – Ragone caught a nice pass from Montana down the seam, but it appears that he is still on not 100% recovered from his second major knee injury. I thought when the spring started that Ragone would be able to push Kyle Rudolph for the starting spot. It looks like Ragone’s got some more work to do before he’s fully back.
  • Joseph Fauria – Fauria surprised me and looks every bit of the #2 tight end right now. If there wasn’t a future first round draft pick ahead of him on the depth chart he would be a pretty capable starter. He’s huge yet very athletic. With Fauria and Rudolph on the field at the same time, this offense will have a lot of options.
  • Kyle Rudolph – Speaking of Rudolph, he’s going to be an absolute beast of a tight end. He’ll be a first round pick within the next few years.

Wide Receivers

  • Golden Tate – Downfield passing was not really emphasized yesterday so the wide receivers are a bit difficult to review. Tate only had one catch and missed a lot of spring because of baseball. His place on the depth chart is pretty secure though and he’ll be ready for a big season after fall camp.
  • Michael Floyd – Floyd saw a little bit of action downfield, but couldn’t come down with any of them. On one flea flicker Floyd was interfered with and on another he was overthrown. It was fun watching Floyd and Blanton matching up against each other.
  • Deion Walker – Walker caught a nice 17 yard pass from Montana over the middle of the field, but didn’t see any other passes. Walker has a chance to be the #3 wide receiver, but will need a big fall camp.
  • John Goodman – Goodman had a couple deep balls thrown his way, but couldn’t come down with any of them. I was hoping we’d get a chance to see him line up under center for a couple plays, but he didn’t get the chance.
  • Duval Kamara – Kamara was slowed by a lingering hamstring injury this spring and didn’t see a whole lot of action yesterday.
  • Robby Parris – Parris got a lot of hype over the course of the spring from Weis but only ended up catching one pass for 9 yards.

Offensive Line

  • Sam Young – Young looked improved yesterday, but still has some work to do before the start of the season. He did look a bit quicker out there yesterday though.
  • Paul Duncan – Duncan looked pretty good at times. He and Eric Olsen were really able to get a nice push on the left side of the line. On the first Hughes touchdown run, Olsen and Duncan blew up the left side of the line to open up the lane for Hughes.
  • Eric Olsen – Olsen might be the best offensive lineman on the team. He’s a brawler and appears to have a good chemistry working with Duncan on the left side of the line.
  • Dan Wenger – Wenger didn’t have a particularly strong game. Ian Williams and Brandon Newman moved him around a bit and got good pressure up the middle.
  • Chris Stewart – Stewart looked pretty solid. He didn’t really stand out in either or a good or bad way. When Trevor Robinson comes back healthy in fall camp, Stewart is going to have a major battle on his hands for the right guard position.
  • Andrew Nuss – Nuss was the only reserve offensive lineman to really catch my eye. He played pretty tough and looked capable of playing real minutes if necessary.

Comments to this Article

  • Paul commented on April 19th, 2009 at 8:25 pm

    Well is our run game back or is our young D-line not that good. Can’t wait for Sept 5th to find out. Pretty suprised not to see any recruits give us their verbals this weekend. Oh well. Go Irish!!!!!

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  • jason_h537 commented on April 19th, 2009 at 10:33 pm

    i actually thought the defense would dominate this game. glad to see the offense was able to pound the rock. i believe that our defense and passing attack will be much improved all around this coming season. so if we can get a running game to match we’ll be back. hopefully this game is a sign of things to come

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  • C-Dog commented on April 19th, 2009 at 11:39 pm

    Anyone hoping to get a good read on the things that killed us last year…..You only could see part of the picture. Until the Irish play another team, we just won’t know how complete this squad is. The first three games will tell. You hope to see a resurgent defensive line and linebackers with that blitz actually yeilding sacks or causing interceptions and fumbles. You hope to see the IRish with solid running against all three early season opponents. Nevada will be a test of preparation. The Irish need that comfortable win with a 17 to 24 point differential and everyone feeling they held back on the playbook. Michigan will be resurgent next year. Not a 10 win team, but maybe an 8 win team. The Irish must at least for a day, make everyone thing RichRod hasn’t brought them back. Michigan State will still be solid but without Ringer, our defense should dominate their offense. We need to be able to run on the Spartans. Those elements will show us whether this team is ready to Defend the Honor of the University of Old. Maybe they can reinstate Father Ted while they are at it and we can forget the two administrations that have come after.

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  • Justin commented on April 20th, 2009 at 8:08 am

    good point C-dog. its hard see any real evidence of improvement until the season begins, however there are some things to be optimistic about after seeing the B/G game. like that 48 yarder brandon walker nailed. and to see the secondary, especially robert blanton, working the field so well

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  • Chris commented on April 20th, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    Armando Allen is definitely our best back by far. As long as he continues to improve his field vision, I think he will have a breakout year. We saw the improvement of his field vision with that punt return. My only concern on offense is the 3rd wide receiver. While I keep hearing about all of these good things about our receivers throughout the spring, I have yet to see any of them, outside of Golden Tate and Michael Floyd, run really good routes and get theirselves open. That is somewhat concerning to me because you know teams are going to be taking away the long ball this year, so that third receiver should be prime for a lot of passes thrown their way, but again I’m concerned about this. Also, Kyle Rudolph did not play well this game. He had a drop on a fourth and long perfect pass from Clausen. Also, he stopped his route on another perfectly thrown ball by Clausen which should have been caught. I hope there is no sophomore jinx for him like there was Kamara.

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  • Kyle commented on April 20th, 2009 at 4:48 pm

    Glad to see that Allen had a big game. I think we’ve all been waiting for big things from him for awhile now. Hopefully the line proves to be solid this season, and he gets some room to work.

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