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Irish Insights


Nothing settled at QB ... other notes

The Gold team's 17-14 victory didn't end with a clear picture of what Notre Dame's quarterback situation will look like when the Irish open camp in the fall.

But it did show Notre Dame has four viable options to pick from.

Dayne Crist threw for 34 yards without an interception on 5-of-11 passing in four series for the Blue team Saturday, and Tommy Rees completed 7 of 14 passes for 61 yards with an interception for the Gold team.

Andrew Hendrix, who took the majority of the Gold team snaps, went 10-for-16 passing for 113 yards and also ran five times for 37 yards with scoring runs of 15 and 10 yards. Everett Golson, who took the majority of the Blue team snaps, completed 9 of 18 passes for 91 yards with a 15-yard TD toss and ran 11 times for 62 yards.

"It's really exciting," Crist said of the competition. "There are two or three guys out there that are all battling.

"Just establishing the depth increases the accountability you have in your guys and builds trust. It's all great things."

Hendrix and Golson were live in the scrimmage, allowing them to get hit. It was also their first time playing in Notre Dame Stadium.

Coach Brian Kelly said the young quarterbacks handled the situation better as the game progressed.

"It's first time out there for those guys, so there are a lot of jitters," Kelly said. "I thought they really calmed down in the second half. Early on, they were throwing the balls and everything was a 99 mph fastball."

Impressive start

Early-enrollee freshman Aaron Lynch is making it hard for Kelly to lower expectations.

The 6-foot-6, 260-pounder matched linebackers Danny Spond and Dan Fox for the most tackles with seven, and Lynch had a game-high 1 ½ tackles for loss Saturday.

"That's no high school kid," quarterback Andrew Hendrix, who was hounded the most by the defensive end as the quarterback of the Gold team, said of Lynch.

"He put a licking on me a few times. I'm glad that's over with."

Lynch's performance was more impressive as he started for the Blue team and was matched up against starting offensive linemen Taylor Dever and Trevor Robinson.

"He's a good football player," coach Brian Kelly said. "We've got to go slow with him."

Tight ends shine

Tight ends Tyler Eifert, Mike Ragone, Alex Welch and Jake Golic got in plenty of work Saturday with Notre Dame using two-tight end sets.

Welch led the tight ends with four catches for 34 yards, and Ragone pulled in one reception for 24 yards. Eifert, the former Bishop Dwenger standout, didn't have a catch but wasn't targeted, and Golic didn't have a reception.

Kelly was pleased with the work the tight ends put in this spring.

"Alex Welch played very well today," Kelly said. "He got an opportunity to get a lot of work. We played four tight ends. The tight end position benefited in the spring, and we found we've got pretty good depth there."

Stepping up on defense

Nose guard Louis Nix had a strong spring game with two tackles and eating up plenty of space in the middle, and linebackers Prince Shembo and Danny Spond were also impressive with six and seven tackles, respectively.

The three sophomores-to-be are crucial in adding depth to the front seven, and Shembo and Spond are also making their cases to be one of the starting outside linebackers opposite Darius Fleming.

"Louis Nix, our concern is how long can he play at that level," Kelly said. "When he's out there, he's a pretty good football player. He was on today. We just got to continue to develop his work volume.

"I think Shembo and Spond are two guys who can play in space very well. "

Sophomore-to-be Lo Wood showed a sign of being a good third option at cornerback with an interception, and receiver turned safety Austin Collinsworth also showed he can provide depth in the defensive back field.

"Lo Wood had a nice interception today," Kelly said. "Collinsworth got a lot of action out there today as well."

On the run

Cierre Wood and Jonas Gray didn't get a lot of work as the only two scholarship running backs on a rainy afternoon.

But the two backs did leave an impression.

Wood ran for 39 yards on seven carries with a long run of 11 yards, and Gray had five carries for 16 yards.

"I liked the way Cierre looked," Kelly said. "Confident in running the football is the way I would describe him. He was confident and decisive in his decisions. If he couldn't hit it at the front door, he was going to bend it back. I thought Jonas did a nice job."

Adding on

Notre Dame gave a glimpse into its immediate future with Saturday's Blue-Gold Game, and like at most spring games, the program also started to piece together its picture for the long-term future with recruits orally committing to the Irish.

Athlete Ronald Darby, of Oxon Hill, Md., committed to Notre Dame, according to Irish Illustrated, and safety Nicky Baratti, of Spring, Texas, also gave his pledge to the Irish, according to Blue & Gold Illustrated.

Long snapper Scott Daly, of Downers Grove South, Ill., also orally committed to Notre Dame, according to Irish Sports Daily.