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The Journal Gazette

Monday, August 21, 2017 12:20 am

Takeaways from New & Gold Game

CHRIS GOFF | The Journal Gazette

SOUTH BEND – The most meaningful information gleaned Sunday at Notre Dame's intrasquad scrimmage, which the Irish dubbed the New & Gold Game, came after it was over.

Brian Kelly announced running back Josh Adams has been named a captain, and Kelly reshuffled his coaching staff, making Brian Polian recruiting coordinator instead of Mike Elston, who assumes the role of assistant head coach in addition to coaching the defensive line.

Still, the scrimmage itself is worth a review:

* In a concise summary, Brandon Wimbush still has a strong arm, Daelin Hayes still rushes the passer with speed and quickness, Chase Claypool still belongs on the all-practice team and coordinator Mike Elko's defense still looks encouraging.

* Wimbush (14 of 18 for 168 yards) took a few sacks, although a "sack" in this event was defined by merely getting a hand on the quarterback. Still, Wimbush seemed almost as sharp one could hope he would be entering his first year as the starter. His signature play was a 20-yard strike to Equanimeous St. Brown in which Wimbush threw across his body, off his back foot, to the opposite side of the field against tight coverage.

* A few unheralded players boosted their stock, none more than defensive end Khalid Kareem, who recorded a sack and moved the pocket on several other occasions. Kareem is a fearless defender who spent last season as a redshirt after arriving from high school.

“He's been under the radar," Kelly said. "We've been really pleased with Khalid Kareem. Maybe he doesn't have first-step quickness, but he is so physically strong. He's been a player that's been emerging for us. I really like what he's doing.”

* Held out of spring practice, Justin Yoon may still be shaking off the rust. He missed two long field goals, one from 54 yards and the other 50.

* Tight end Brock Wright lined up at fullback multiple times. Don't expect anything shown in a scrimmage to suddenly be featured in the game plan against Temple in the Sept. 2 season opener. However, it is clearly possible the Irish will run some plays this year that employ the seldomly used fullback position.

* Backup quarterback Ian Book hit Dexter Williams for a 17-yard touchdown. Williams is a running back, but coming out of the backfield and making such a difficult catch in the left corner of the end zone, he seemed like a wide receiver. If he's added to his pass-catching skills, Williams will earn even more playing time than previously expected.

* Kelly said he came away with "nothing but positives" from the scrimmage, which was billed as a chance for fans to see changes and improvements made to Notre Dame Stadium. Several thousand attended.

"(Players) know they've got more work to do after today," Kelly said. "I told them I was pleased with everything that went on, but individually there's work to be done at each position, and as coaches we've got things to clean up. We'll go out tomorrow and have a shorter practice and then give them Tuesday off, which is the first day of classes."