SOUTH BEND – Notre Dame running back George Atkinson III had a strong performance in Saturday’s Blue-Gold game, which the defense won 42-31 in front of 31,582 fans.
Atkinson, who returned two kickoffs for touchdowns last season as a freshman, ran for 124 yards on 15 carries. His best run came in the second quarter when he shrugged off linebacker Ishaq Williams behind the line of scrimmage and made two more defenders miss on his way to a 30-yard run.
It was fun just playing ball and reacting to the defense, Atkinson said. I think last year, I was thinking too much, and now I am actually starting to learn the plays and where to go.
Atkinson also fumbled twice in the second quarter.
Both (Atkinson and quarterback Everett Golson) are exciting, electric players, but they are a heart attack for me, coach Brian Kelly said. You’re seeing something very exciting, but I think we all could sit here and agree, we’ve got to get them to manage the game, take care of the football. If they do that, they can really help our football team.
Receiver and former Bishop Dwenger standout John Goodman was the captain for the offense Saturday, and defensive end Kona Schwenke was the defensive captain.
Goodman and Schwenke took part in the ceremonial coin toss with former Notre Dame star and two-time Super Bowl championship Justin Tuck of the New York Giants. The offense won the toss and chose which end zone it would attack first.
Our staff voted both of those players the most improved players in the spring, Kelly said. So that’s why they’re out there.
Cornerback Lo Wood recorded seven tackles, second only to linebacker Kendall Moore’s eight, in the Blue-Gold game. Wood’s ability to stopped players on the edge is just what the Irish need from him, Kelly said.
John Montelus, an offensive lineman from Everett (Mass.) High School, orally committed to the Irish, according to multiple reports.
The 6-foot-5, 293-pounder is rated a four-star recruit by Scout.com, and he is the fifth offensive lineman to commit to Notre Dame’s class of 2013. The Irish have 11 oral commitments.