Notre Dame Football: What We Learned at Notre Dame Spring Game

Michael FitzpatrickCorrespondent IApril 22, 2012

Will Tommy Rees start at QB for Notre Dame in 2012?
Will Tommy Rees start at QB for Notre Dame in 2012?Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images


Defense wins championships. It also won the annual Blue-Gold football contest in South Bend.

The Fighting Irish seem no closer to naming a starting quarterback after Saturday's glorified scrimmage, which was witnessed by 31,582 and won by the Gold (defense) 42-31.

If we learned nothing else, we learned that Tommy Rees is most likely going to start at quarterback. Rees finished the afternoon 7-of-14 for 84 yards and an interception. Andrew Hendrix was 4-of-9 for 51 yards with a touchdown and a pick. In total, the Notre Dame offense turned the ball over six times.

The sloppy play did not go over well with Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly, as he told the Chicago Sun-Times:

Two interceptions in particular where we’ve seen that movie before. So we’ve got to move past that.

This summer they’ve got to help themselves. The guy that ­really commits himself to do the details this summer is probably going to be the guy that’s going to be the starter.

Perhaps the best quarterback performance was turned in by Everett Golson, who entered the contest probably fourth among four quarterbacks (a list which also includes Gunner Kiel). Golson finished the afternoon 11-of-15 for 120 yards and two touchdowns. But he also had trouble getting the Irish set up to run plays in time.

Running back George Atkinson III was impressive, rushing 124 yards on 15 carries. But he also fumbled twice. 


Kelly lumped Golson and Atkinson's performances together, saying there is a big reward but also a lot of risk when those two find themselves with the ball in their hands:

Both of those guys are exciting, electric players, but they are a heart attack for me...We've got to get them there, because I think we all see that they've got great skill. But they are guys that are a work in progress. You're seeing a work in progress.


Notre Dame's defense did not hold anything back, as it ran blitz packages and other looks to test the team's quarterbacks. The first two quarters were played with a regular game clock. The last two were split into two 10 minute periods with a running clock. It was during that time that Gunner Kiel took over at quarterback. He went 5-of-10 for 57 yards and an interception.