Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Many people say that spring games mean nothing and fans shouldn't read too much into what they see, since it's still five months away from the opening game.
I'm here to tell you those people are wrong.
I have attended five spring games (every year from 2005-2009) and watched last year's online. Every single one of them provided a pretty accurate preview of what was to come the next fall.
Spring 2005: Brady Quinn spread lasers all over the field in a late-April blizzard. He transformed into a completely different quarterback than he was under Ty Willingham, and the offense looked like a juggernaut. I knew leaving that they'd be able to put points up on anybody. I just didn't know if our defense could stop anyone.
Right on the money.
Spring 2006: They looked good and the defense looked a little better, but things just weren't as in sync as the previous year for whatever reason. I left thinking they just didn't look quite as sharp as the previous year.
Once again, pretty spot on.
Spring 2007: We looked terrible. I just spent five minutes looking through a Thesaurus trying to find the highest form of terrible. We couldn't block, we couldn't run, we couldn't throw. The quarterbacks threw more touchdowns to the defense than the offense.
Other than that, everything looked great!
I left Notre Dame Stadium thinking there's no way we could be that bad...could we?
Yes. They were that bad.
Spring 2008: They looked better, but by no means were they a finished product. Jimmy Clausen had improved and it appeared that cracking the three-yards-per-carry mark was at least a possibility. Mediocrity was the name of the game and it signaled to me that plenty of growing pains would happen come fall.
Pretty accurate, though the growing pains were worse than I thought.
Spring 2009: Jimmy looked great and the offense looked like a well-oiled machine. We still couldn't run the ball, even on our Swiss-cheese defense, but who needed to run it when we had such a ridiculous aerial attack to fall back on?
Right on the money with the offense, though I never thought our defense could be so bad.
Spring 2010: Everyone on offense looked like they were thinking too much and somewhat overwhelmed by analysis paralysis. By no means was it ugly—in fact it was infinitely better than 2007 and much better than 2008—-but it was clear that a Parseghian-esque resurrection just wasn't in the cards.
Another pretty accurate forecast.
The biggest difference between Weis and Kelly is the fact that Kelly's squads improved over the course of the year. Weis' seemed to peak early and plateau if not completely fall off the map. Perhaps that's why his spring games were always such a clear indicator of what was to come.
Will Saturday's game provide a true glimpse of what's to come? I say it will. The nice thing is that it'll be an indicator of what to expect in September, not necessarily in November like it was under Charlie.