The Notre Dame Fighting Irish will hold their annual Blue and Gold game this Saturday, and there are definitely plenty of areas on the team to keep an eye on.
Given their incredibly difficult schedule, winning big in the 2012 season will not be easy for the Fighting Irish. They have to be ready for the intense road ahead, which is why this spring game is so very important.
Sure, it's just a glorified scrimmage, but it's extremely necessary for Brian Kelly and his coaching staff to figure out who's in the lead for the huge position battles.
For those fans in attendance at the game, they'll get a special treat, which Matt Fortuna of ESPN tweeted out today.
Former #NotreDame DE and — as I happily remind you — two-time Super Bowl champion Justin Tuck will speak to team Friday, flip coin Saturday.— Matt Fortuna (@MattFortunaND) April 18, 2012
With that said, here's the TV info needed for the spring game, as well as what to watch for this Saturday.
When: Saturday, April 21 at 1:30 p.m. ET
Where: Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend, Ind.
Watch: NBC Sports Network
Live Stream: UND.com
Who will win the starting QB job?
Battles to Watch
Once again, Kelly and the Fighting Irish have the difficult task of finding a legitimate starting quarterback in the offseason.
Only this year, they have four good candidates to choose from, which almost certainly means Kelly will be losing sleep at night.
Tommy Rees, Andrew Hendrix, Everett Golson and Gunner Kiel will all get a chance to showcase their progression this Saturday, and each of them needs to shine bright if they want to win the job.
At this point, the job is up for grabs and could be won by any one of the four. However, as the offseason wears on, Kelly has to narrow it down and eventually choose one so the kid has ample time to prepare with the first team.
A front-runner should emerge after the Blue and Gold game, but given how the Fighting Irish have fared as of late, it wouldn't be all that surprising if all four flopped or were just mediocre. I doubt that, but if it does happen, Kelly's summer would be even more intense, that's for sure.
With Michael Floyd gone, somebody out wide has to step up for the Fighting Irish.
Doing exactly that in the spring game and wowing the fans and coaches along the way will lift the spirits of many. Of course, there's no guarantee any of the wideouts thrive in the Blue and Gold game.
Notre Dame does have some strong recruits coming in later on down the road, but the spring game is all about those guys who took a backseat to Floyd this past season.
It honestly doesn't matter who rises up, just as long as somebody does. Of course, the Fighting Irish can survive next year without a dominant player like Floyd, but that's only if the receivers play well as a whole.
Will Notre Dame play in a BCS bowl this season?
If everyone is working well together, there doesn't need to be a star wideout. Although, the fans would certainly prefer that somebody steps up to the challenge and succeeds.
With Aaron Lynch deciding to transfer, the entire Fighting Irish defense suffers a big hit.
He was a fantastic playmaker and everyone associated with Notre Dame was very excited to see what he could do in 2012.
Now that won't happen, but the hope is that the defensive line still manages to excel this coming season. It's very vital that the Fighting Irish have a solid pass rush in 2012, especially when you consider which quarterbacks they have to face this year.
Kapron Lewis-Moore and early enrollee Sheldon Day both have to do well in the Blue and Gold game this Saturday to reassure to the coaching and the fans that the Fighting Irish will still be a strong defense without Lynch.