Blue and Gold Illustrated

May 2018

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Page 28 of 63 MAY 2018 29 three stalled the drive and gave the defense two more points. Score: Offense 37, Defense 26 1 Offense Vs. 1 Defense From O17 With 2:07 left until halftime, the two-minute drill produced no points for the offense, giving the defense two points. Sophomore right tackle Robert Hainsey had three false start infrac- tions during the series, while Wim- bush was 4-of-9 passing for 44 yards. The huge break came on fourth-and- eight from midfield when a deep pass to Claypool resulted in a pass interference on junior cornerback Troy Pride Jr., even though Pride had shielded Claypool out of bounds. However, a 38-yard field goal at- tempt by Yoon to close the half was sliced to the right. Halftime Score: Offense 37, De- fense 28 The shortened second half had more mixing and matching of ones with the twos on both sides, with the final part of the fourth quarter going even deeper than that. The defense had a 16-10 advantage in the second half with only seven series run as op- posed to 15 in the first half. THIRD QUARTER • The lone touchdown came on the opening series when on the sec- ond play Williams' 72-yard run to the 5-yard line saw track sprint star Pride come across the field to make the stop. On third-and-goal, Wimbush found an open Claypool for the six- yard touchdown to give the offense a 44-28 lead. • The defense recorded a three- and-out on the second series for three points, and on the following series Tagovailoa-Amosa's sack of Book and a defensive stop resulted in three more points to cut the deficit to 44-34. FOURTH QUARTER • The offense's final points came on a 46-yard field goal by Yoon on the opening series. However, a tackle for loss by freshman linebacker Bo Bauer and a sack by Okwara also gave the defense two points, making the score 47-36. • The final eight points of the con- test were tallied by the defense on a tackle for loss, a defensive stop and a final stop for five points for the 47-44 tally that ended the contest. ✦ Alex Bars Named The Fourth Team Captain At the start of spring drills, Notre Dame named three fifth-year seniors — linebacker Drue Tranquill, center Sam Mustipher and punter Tyler Newsome — as 2018 captains, with a fourth to be named prior to the Blue-Gold Game. A fourth fifth-year senior, guard Alex Bars, made clear his objective. "There's nothing more that I want in the world right now than to get that fourth spot," the third-year starter Bars said in the second week of practice while acknowledging his disappointment that he didn't quite make the cut the first time. "It's just another challenge. Work harder and be a better leader for the guys and get that fourth spot." That came to fruition when Bars was designated the role in a vote by his teammates the day before the Blue-Gold Game April 21. The decision was hardly a surprise given Bars' experi- ence and how he and Mustipher are tied to the hip the way tackle Mike McGlinchey and guard Quenton Nelson were last year. "Alex understands the standards that we have here," head coach Brian Kelly said. "He models those standards, and the players see that and react to it positively. You can't kid those guys. … The players wanted him as their next captain. He earned it. "We gave everybody the opportunity on our football team to be the fourth captain, and his peers voted for him." "Oh my gosh, it's everything," Bars said of what having the new 'C' on his jersey means. "It's the highest honor I've ever received. … You can't get more special than being a captain for Notre Dame football." Bars' father, Joe, played linebacker for the Fighting Irish from 1981-84 under head coach Gerry Faust. To earn the title, the younger Bars said he made it a point to reach out to every position group on the team and build relationships with them. The leadership also has been manifested by the versatility he has brought to his position group. As a freshman, when he redshirted, Bars worked at left tackle. As a sophomore, he made his first two career starts at left guard when Nelson was injured. As a junior in 2016, Bars was shifted to be the starter at right tackle, and then last year he started every game at right guard. In the final week of spring drills this year, Bars was moved to left guard so there can be a veteran presence next to first-time starter Liam Eichenberg at left tackle. Bars has been taking snaps at center, too, in case an emergency arises there. — Lou Somogyi Bars, a fifth-year senior, worked hard on and off the field to earn the vote of his peers. PHOTO BY ANGELA DRISKELL BRIAN KELLY ON … Emphasizing the pass more this spring: "We needed to throw the football more effectively. We needed some receivers to step up and make plays, and I thought we saw that today. Everything that's ever been in my passing game, we've really opened up to our quarterbacks and said that we have to be efficient in these areas. "… We needed to know that we're capable of throwing it 50 times if that was what was needed. We opened up the playbook this spring to get to that." On the secondary helping break up 13 passes in the Blue-Gold Game: "What I've seen in the spring is competition at those positions. … We're playing the ball in the air and being much more aggressive in the back end. We're not as passive in terms of coming up and making an attack on a hitch route getting 12 or 13 yards. "Our guys are a lot more aggressive and with good technique — but again today the ball got over the top. We'll have to take a look at that." On the veteran defense overall: "They are a very confident group. We have depth at the safety and cornerback position, and I like our rotations on the defensive line. If there's one concern, it's finding the depth at the linebacker position. "It's a confident group. They run to the football, and they are going to be attacking the football in the back end of the defense, which was at times frustrating last year. I think we've come a long way from that perspective." — Lou Somogyi

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