The annual Notre Dame spring game took place two weeks ago. Now with the dust settled let’s look at some important takeaways from the game.
First, Malik Zaire proved he can compete with Everett Golson to be the starting quarterback. Zaire played a great spring game completing 18 of 27 passes for 292 yards and two touchdowns. Golson did not fair as well completing 13 of 23 passes for 154 yards and scoring once on the ground.
— ESPN CollegeFootball (@ESPNCFB) April 13, 2014
Zaire managed to lead the offense to touchdowns on their first three drives. Also, he threw the ball well down the field completing five passes for 20 yards or more.
Coming into this offseason the Irish appeared to be set at the running back position. They returned Cam McDaniel and Tarean Folson who rushed for 740 yards and three touchdowns on 152 carries and 470 yards and three touchdowns on 88 carries respectively. Considering these two were two of the team’s top three rushers they seemed most likely to earn the starting job.
However, sophomore Greg Bryant played a phenomenal spring game rushing for 100 yards on 12 carries including one run of 51 yards. With the momentum he built in the spring, he will compete with McDaniel and Folson for the starting job. Bryant, the number two running back prospect in his class, will have a big year in 2014.
Romeo Okwara, a junior linebacker, looks to be a key component to the Notre Dame pass rush. He practiced well in the spring and finished the spring game with three sacks. Okwara only had 19 tackles and 0.5 sacks last season. After a successful spring look for a big year from Okwara.
After losing wide receiver T.J. Jones and tight end Troy Niklas as well as having Davaris Daniels suspended for the spring, the Irish desperately needed a receiver to step up. Junior wide receiver Chris Brown did just that in the spring game catching five passes for 105 yards. He finished the 2013 season with only 15 catches for 209 yards and a touchdown. Look for Brown to be the top receiving threat for the Irish this season.
After a offseason filled with changes for Notre Dame, it seems fitting that there were a number of surprises in the spring game. The Irish start their season August 30th at home against Rice. Look for these players to make an impact in the opener.
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