Notre Dame, Ind (UHND) — The first spring practice season under new coach Charlie Weis came to a close Saturday afternoon with the annual Blue-Gold Game. Despite some very unspring-like weather conditions, 23,324 (almost 5,000 more than last year) fans showed up at Notre Dame Saturday to see what the new coach had accomplished this spring.
Those that made the trek despite the weather saw the starters beat up on the backups while scoring 28 points and giving up just 6. The Blue team, made up mostly of starters, was coached by honorary coaches Chris Zorich and Joe Montana and was led by Brady Quinn’s two touchdown passes.
Quinn started off the game with a touchdown toss to tight end Anthony Fassano. Fassano, one of Quinn’s favorite targets a year ago, caught a 19 yard pass from Quinn on the first drive of the game.
Quinn later hit Rhema McKnight on a 12 yard strike for the second score of the game after the Blue Squad went 3 and out on their second possession. Quinn’s efforts earned him a offensive MVP honors for the second year in a row.
For the day Quinn finished with 120 yards on 8 of 12 passing to go along with the 2 TDs. Equally encouraging as Quinn’s performance were the rushing efforts from freshman standout Darius Walker and starting fullback Rashon Powers-Neal. Walker gained 83 yards on 10 carries while Powers-Neal scored two touchdowns for the Blue squad on 7 carries.
On the defensive side of the ball, Trevor Laws came up with four tackles (3 for loss and 1 sack) to gain the defensive MVP honors. Laws will be called upon to anchor the defensive interior along with Derek Landri for the Irish after making huge strides in his sophomore season.
Chris Frome was another defensive linemen who stood out on the Blue squad. Frome saw plenty of action this spring and with 2.5 sacks yesterday he is positioning himself for serious consideration as start opposite of Victor Abiamiri.
The Gold Squad struggled pretty badly against the superior Blue team. One of the few bright spots for the Gold Squad was beleaguered junior to be Travis Thomas. Thomas’ fumbling struggles were well documented a year ago, but the new staff seems to have been brought a fresh start for Thomas who gained 63 yards on 14 carries against the starting defense with the backup line blocking for him.
All in all it was a good effort for the Irish who needed to get out and play a game after the way the 2004 season ended on and off the field. While there are still going to be many growing pains along with way, the Irish appear to be headed in the right direction. The players are picking up the offense and the coaches are pleased with the progress to date.
For today however, the excitement for next season continues to build and all is well under the dome. Now comes the hard part of waiting the next 142 days until the Irish take the field against Pitt in what should be the most anticipated opener for the Fighting Irish in some time.