The independent voice of Notre Dame Athletics


  • Notes from the Geetar: Hath Spring Sprung?

    by Mike Coffey

    It’s been a while since I pulled out the pick and strummed, so I figured I’d give Mike Royko a break for a bit and bring back a little old-school NDN.

    If it’s April and it’s Notre Dame, the Blue-Gold game is right around the corner.  Well, the event with that name is, anyway, because it’s certainly different than it used to be.  Notre Dame’s spring program has morphed from a standard three weeks of practice and a standard scrimmage to a two-month staggered schedule concluding with players running plays on a field under a scoring system that changes every year.

    Let the record show I certainly don’t fault them for it — seems like plenty of other programs are changing how they do things in the offseason, and for something as relatively meaningless as a controlled scrimmage, it’s inevitable things can and will be done differently.

    In fact, I’ll take it a step further: Other than the practice time, which has obvious value, do we have to have the Blue-Gold Game at all?  Has the need, such as it is, diminished to the point of making it irrelevant?  I can think of a couple reasons why it would.

    First, changes in the game have heightened the stakes for what happens any time the team takes the field. Players, like Leon, are getting laaaaaarger and moving faster, and the opportunities for injury have increased apace.  A smart football program would alter events that don’t count to try and mitigate effects on those that do, which is what Notre Dame already is doing. I doubt any Notre Dame fan would want to see a quality player miss a game against Michigan so he could make a tackle against a teammate.

    More significant to me, though, is the ubiquity of the sport in the Internet age.  College football is now a 12-months-a-year thing, not only for the coaches and players, but for the fans as well, so maybe it isn’t as necessary to get the April fix.

    In the old days, you needed spring football to get a look at the team in the eight months between the bowl game and the start of the season (insert snark here).  Now, those who want it can get up-to-the-hour updates on recruiting visits and videos of what happened in practice.  Issues in the classroom and the weight room are bouncing off satellites and onto your eyeballs almost as they happen, not weeks later when the monthly fan mag arrives in the mailbox.  Heck, the Blue-Gold game is televised now, so you don’t even need to go to South Bend to see it.

    This new year-round nature of things can be exhausting for a fan, so I can imagine the toll it takes on players and coaches.  Waiting for the NCAA to do something official to help them find mental rest probably is a fool’s errand, so I’d have no problem with Notre Dame deciding to throttle back the information spigot in the interest of slowing things down a little.

    Granted, there are other concerns, such as the tertiary groups who benefit from the game.  The St. Joe Valley ND club has used the event for years to bolster their scholarship fund, which certainly is a worthwhile cause.  Local businesses reap the benefits of the fans who day-trip in — I’d like to believe no one is spending money on airfare and hotel rooms to watch a scrimmage — so they would be affected as well.

    I’d like to think, though, there are other ways to help those folks without requiring a dog-and-pony show whose day may have come and gone.  As with so many things, there has to be a way.

    Unless I’m nuts.

     

    6 Responses to “Notes from the Geetar: Hath Spring Sprung?”

    1. Good points, Geetar. It was hard to tell anything from the 2017 scrum except I thought the Irish tackling, especially by the ILBs, was still below average. Offensively, there were 2 QBs that could play, and maybe BK would try to balance the offense.

    2. Blue and Gold game is an unofficial Monogram reunion. It’s the only time active professional football athletes can return to campus and see what is supposed to be a football game.

    3. art fern says:

      You, of course, forgot one thing. Our cheerleaders have got to practice the artificially vacated wins cheer. You want Jerrod and Dave to stand up and cheer for Flipper, ND best coach in the last 30 years.

    4. Now that they are finally televising the B/G game, you want to kill it? Remember when they used to call it “The Old Timers’ Game?” When the ND players in the pros actually suited up. We still can’t get enough!

    5. I’ve always enjoyed the B&G game though I wish they would get rid of the stupid point system & keep score like a regular game.

      My personal favorite B&G game was before the 1997 season and they had the game at practice field due to the stadium expansion construction. TE Mike Denvir’s parents were sitting right in front of my brother and myself. Mike caught a short pass from Ron Powlus and Mike’s mother went nuts. You would have thought he just caught the GW TD in the Superbowl. It was awesome.

      After the game, you could walk right up to players and coaches and ask for autographs/pictures. I was still a dumb little kid and thought this was so cool to talk (albeit briefly) to Autry Denson, Raki Nelson and Tony Driver, who wasn’t enrolled at school yet but had driven up to South Bend from Louisville to catch the game.

      I hope they keep the B&G game for as long as possible, I just wish it wasn’t so “Disney-fied” Do we really need sponsorship from Chick-fil-a or Coke Zero?

      Yeah, I know….that’s just the way things are in college football these days & ND is no different.

    6. ND harvey says:

      The “Gang from Grays Ferry” and I will be flying into South Bend on Thursday for the Blue-Gold
      weekend, it’s a event that we love dearly. We look forward every April Tailgating in the parking
      lot over looking ND Stadium, does it get any better that this. Thursday and Friday we will make
      our rounds to our favorite establishments, seeing our friends that we have known for over 30 years.
      Guarantee Win and a Great Weekend. Look forward to seeing all the great ND Fans….Love Thee
      Notre Dame…..Next Step: Blue-Gold Game…………Go IRISH!!!!

    Archives