With the Blue-Gold game in the books and spring practice complete, let’s take a look back at some of the highlights of yesterday’s game. There was plenty to like, plenty to worry about, and plenty of things to discuss for the next four months before the Irish prepare for fall camp.
Sticking with the bullet-point review system that served us well during the practice reports, here’s a quick cut-up of yesterday’s highlights:
- 0:10 -- With Troy Niklas in street clothes on the sideline, the Irish tight ends didn’t miss a beat blocking, with Ben Koyack making a nice block on Cierre Wood‘s big burst. Cierre ran confident, looked quick, and should have a monster season next year.
- 0:38 -- Great cut-back. Cierre looks to be running away from Josh Atkinson, who is an elite level sprinter. It’ll be interesting to see what type of speed numbers Wood puts up when he heads to the NFL.
- 0:52 -- With Atkinson coming off the edge on a corner blitz, Andrew Hendrix made a decisive throw, hitting All-American Tyler Eifert before safety Chris Salvi could get there, leading to the Irish’s first offensive score. Nice job by Andrew identifying the open man and getting the ball out in a hurry.
- 1:20 -- If there’s a throw that encapsulates the “Bad Tommy” Irish fans have started to loathe, it’s this overthrown seam route that Rees forced into traffic. On a third and long, this is the exact type of play that’ll turn Brian Kelly purple, and was the worst decision of the day for Rees. It actually looks like Rees might have had Theo Riddick open if he threw the ball to his outside shoulder.
- 1:30 -- Everett Golson throws an absolute laser to Eifert on a deep post route. With decent coverage provided by Cam McDaniel, Golson sits back comfortably in the pocket and throws a bullet for a big gainer. In what looked to be a two-man route, Ben Koyack ran the in-route underneath while Eifert, split out at wide receiver, ran the post. Good usage of the two-tight end set.
- 2:04 -- Great work by the Irish offensive line, paving the way for George Atkinson to run untouched for a nice gainer.
- 2:14 -- Good play call on 4th and four, with Riddick escaping out of the backfield and making a nice catch on a tricky throw by Rees. Shockingly, the Irish led the country in 4th down conversion rate, succeeding on all seven attempts. Inteestingly, only one team went for it less last season: LSU, coached by the notorious riverboat gambler Les Miles.
- 2:24 -- That’s quite a burst by George Atkinson. That entire press box came away in awe of Atkinson’s speed on that run, covering ten yards mighty quickly.
- 2:35 -- Andrew Hendrix looks like a handful to bring down. It’s not a stretch to call him a Tebow-esque runner.
- 2:47 -- Great throw by Hendrix, stuffing that dig route into Davaris Daniels for a nice gainer. There’s no denying Hendrix can put some heat on the ball.
- 3:08 -- Everett Golson decides to show off his arm, too. I can’t remember too many plays like that last season from Irish quarterbacks, where a QB buys a little time and them zips a ball into a hole in zone coverage.
- 3:15 -- Run of the day. Atkinson shakes off a 250-pound linebacker, then runs through about five other defenders. Looked like a page out of Marshawn Lynch’s book, only with better speed.
- 3:58 -- Nice blitz pick-up, and a great throw by Golson floating a ball in there to Ben Koyack. That’s the benefit of having four really large tight ends that can catch the ball. Not much Josh Atkinson can do against a 6-foot-5 monster that basically posted him up.
- 4:08 -- Great catch by Daniels on a ball thrown to the outside shoulder by Rees. Not much Cam McDaniel can do there either, and a good confidence building throw by Tommy. Daniels wasn’t a huge factor, but made a few big plays.
- 4:24 -- George Atkinson is going to be a beast in space, especially if they can throw him the football out of the backfield.
- 4:33 -- This is a terrible interception by Hendrix. Locked in on the tight end from the beginning, Ishaq Williams cashes in the freebie when Atkinson was open for the dump off. Exhibit A in the case against Hendrix.
- 4:42 -- Another nicely thrown ball by Golson for the TD. Even if it is against a walk-on cornerback, that’s a matchup the Irish feel like they’ll win with Riddick.
- 5:15 -- Some very good horsepower.
- 5:21 -- There’d be worst things to happen next year than Cierre Wood developing a nose for the end zone. Nice bit of running and usage of blocks to get in for the score.
Alex Flanagan caught up with former Irish tight end Kyle Rudolph on the sidelines, where the Minnesota Vikings tight end talked about Tyler Eifert‘s future and uniting with former Irish tight end John Carlson.
Flanagan also ran down Michael Floyd and Jonas Gray, both at the game to support their former teammates as they wait to hear their names called during the upcoming NFL Draft.