As time was winding down in the 84th annual Blue-Gold game, Brian Kelly called for the “Irish Chocolate” play after CJ Prosise waltzed into the endzone untouched for the game’s only touchdown. With that, Notre Dame’s svelte nose tackle, 350+ lb Louis Nix jogged onto the field to take the snap.
After getting his troops lined up where he wanted them, big old #1 took the snap, dropped back a step, surveyed the field briefly and then ran right up the middle of the Irish defense for a two point conversion. Junior linebacker Kendal Moore stood in Nix’s way but when faced with taking on the mammoth wildcat quarterback, Moore wisely choose to step out of his way.
We probably won’t see Nix line up under center again other for perhaps maybe a cameo performance on Senior Day ala Tommy Zbikowski back in 2007, but on this day the play was a perfectly fitting way to wrap up Brian Kelly’s 4th spring practice as the head coach of the Fighting Irish.
“I lost a bet with Lou Nix,” Brian Kelly explained when asked about the play after the game. “We had a bet. I lost it and the wager was if I lost the bet I would have to put together an offensive play for him so I paid off my wager.”
“Lou and I had a personal bet on some academics and he surprised me so I paid up.” Nix apparently wanted to score a touchdown in the spring game, but Kelly joked that the Irish had a hard time scoring touchdowns on Saturday afternoon.
Luckily for Nix early enrollee Malik Zaire was able to get the Irish into the endzone in the final minutes when a busted coverage by the Irish defense left converted safety CJ Prosise wide open for an easy score to set a two point play opportunity for one of the most likable players to wear a Notre Dame jersey in some time.
Had Nix not won the bet he would have been on the field quite a bit this fall. “I would have gotten Louis to play 67 plays, at minimum, in every game,” Kelly explained about the stakes in he and Nix’s wager.
In the end, everyone won. Seeing Nix line up as a wildcat quarterback was a fun way for the team and fans to end spring practice.
As Mike Mayock pointed out during the telecast, not only was the play a fun way to end the spring, it’s just another sign of the development of Brian Kelly as the head coach at Notre Dame. We probably wouldn’t have seen something like this out of Kelly two or three years ago. Kelly has evolved as a head coach and really grown into the role of being the head coach at Notre Dame – something that has been a little bit bumpy at times but is now paying dividends for Notre Dame.
All you have to do to find evidence of the change in Kelly is contrast the image of a purple-faced Brian Kelly on the sidelines in the 2011 season opener against South Florida and a smiling and joking Kelly congratulating his senior nose tackle after he reached the end-zone and it’s pretty crystal clear. Kelly