Blue defeated White 17-3 in Notre Dame’s Blue-Gold Game on Saturday. Afterward, head coach Brian Kelly spoke with reporters via Zoom.
Here are some of the topics he addressed.
On Evaluating the Blue-Gold Game
“A very productive spring, culminating with the game itself. Good news, start with that, there are no injuries. I talked to Rob Hunt, our athletic trainer, and other than a mild hip pointer from Justin Walters and a slight hamstring with Jay Brunelle, we came out of it great. That’s always in the back of your mind when you play a game. We purposely split these teams up equally, tried to balance have them and you saw that today.
“It was a fairly balanced game because we wanted to really not leverage either team in any shape or form. We really wanted to put guys out there and force them to compete in some of the more difficult situations that there would be. They’ll be supported by a veteran in the fall or scheme, and we want to come out there and the most difficult circumstances. Today, that’s why you saw some sacks.
“That’s why you saw maybe not as many points, but it was all calculated, and we got exactly what we wanted out of it from that perspective. We’ll have a great value evaluation that allows us to move in the direction that we need to into the offseason.”
On the Quarterbacks
I think all of them, obviously, have work to do: [Tyler] Buchner, [Drew] Pyne and [Jack] Coan. But there are takeaways. I don’t think that anybody went into this game expecting one guy to dominate in this game. We knew that there were some things to work on because you don’t have a full rotation of the players that you want, your offensive line is split up, your running backs are split up, your receivers are split up.
“So you’re not putting your quarterbacks in the best of situations. We want to see decision making, we want to see management of the game, we want to see how the quarterbacks handle themselves in the pocket, out of the pocket, what kind of throws they’re making — on platform throws. Some of the things that they need to work on.
“Tommy [Rees] did a great job, I thought, of giving them all the various throws that we put in so we can continue to help them grow and develop. All in all, I think all of them did a fine job of what we asked them to do in this format.
On Why TE Michael Mayer Didn’t Play
“Mike could have played today, wanted to play today, but that was my decision. He was probably about 80 percent [healthy]. There’s no sense in playing a guy that’s not 100 percent in the spring game that we’ve already won. So we kept him out.”
On Assessing the Offensive Line
“It’s a question that we ask ourselves every day in their evaluation. Like everybody else, we’re focused squarely on getting the best five together. The way to do that is to put them in tough situations. It was a tough situation for today. We could have made it a lot easier for Rocco [Spindler] and Blake [Fisher] and Dillan Gibbons snapping for the first time. We could have made it really easy, but that wouldn’t have been the best thing for this football team moving forward.
“So assessing that critically would be today saying that we got work to do, but we’re going to get there. Having days like today allows us to not fool ourselves into saying we’re this finished product. We’ve got work to do. Today allows us to evaluate much more clearly about where we need to go to be a championship football team. As I sit here right now and answer the question, and it’s a good question, we ask it every day.
“As we watch this film, we’ll continue to ask the question, where does Jarrett Patterson play? Is he a tackle, is he a guard, is he a center. All those things have yet to be determined as we put this offensive line together.”
On if Buchner Could Play a Niche Role this Fall
“Today took a big step up in terms of his growth. He was given more of an opportunity, obviously, by being live, and I thought he took advantage of it. He had some really good throws down the field. Obviously the one to [Braden] Lenzy, the deep ball, he did a really nice job with it. But I think that there’s always a chance.
“We’re never going to close the door on what can help our offense be a better offense. We’re not going to say, ‘well, if there’s a freshman, he can’t play.’
“Tyler Buchner, look, if he can help our football team, we’ll find a given role for somebody that can help us. He just needs to continue to grow, continue to learn, and if he does that, and we feel like when we get to the fall that there’s a role or some form of playing that can help us with Tyler Buchner, we’ll certainly consider that as well. Whatever makes us better, I guess, is what I’m saying, we’re certainly going to consider.”
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