Bragging Rights

Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly will use a tweaked scoring system that pits his team's offense vs. its defense and includes points for defensive stops and turnovers in Saturday's 83rd annual Blue Gold Game.

The Blue team has four quarterbacks. The Gold team? None. The Blue team has Cierre Wood, Tyler Eifert, Theo Riddick, and the entire offensive line at its disposal.

The Gold team? None of the above. But Manti Te'o, Jamoris Slaughter, Stephon Tuitt, and the entire Irish defense led by coordinator Bob Diaco will team up to counteract their head coach's offensive play calling and each of the four quarterback competitors they've faced throughout the spring session in an offense vs. defense Blue Gold game.

"For the spring game because we're short in numbers at the cornerback position and in particular at the wide receiver position, we do what to protect some guys," said Kelly at today's wrap-up press conference. "If we were to go strictly Blue vs. Gold you'd have some guys like Zack Martin, Tyler Eifert, and Manti (Te'o) that would have to play a lot, and I'm not interested in that.

"We're going to go offense vs. defense," continued Kelly while noting that the players would be intermixed so it wouldn't be just starters vs. starters and reserves vs. reserves.

Because one team is all offensive players (the Blue Team) and one team is all defensive players (the Gold Team, in white jerseys), the defense had to be given an opportunity to "win" the game as well. Kelly devised a scoring format that ensures ample competition from both sides.

"We're actually going with a very simple (format). We're going to talk about Stops and Turnovers for the defense. Their points are earned by Stops and Turnovers. So if they stop the offense before they get to the 50 (yard line), they're going to get 4 points for that. If they get a turnover in that area, they're going to get 7 points for that.

"If (the offense) crosses the 50, the defense will get 2 points for a stop (anytime thereafter) or 3 points for a turnover. So our defense is thinking in ‘team aspects': Stops and Turnovers."

The defense will also receive a minor reward if it holds the offense to a field goal.

"If they hold the offense to a field goal, they get a point. We believe if we can hold (opponents) to field goals; that's the mark of doing a very good job in certain situations.

"That's it for the defensive scoring: 4 and 7 points (stop/turnover before the offense reaches the 50 yard line) 2 and 3 points (anytime after it penetrates the 50); and 1 point for the field goal."

After his extended, at times convoluted explanation that included notations of 1s vs. both 1s and 2s and As vs. As and Bs, Kelly then joked with those in attendance. "Then its traditional scoring for the offensive side of the ball, so everybody here today should be able to keep score on Saturday. I've laid it out carefully for you."

Game Format/Rules

Also relevant for those in attendance:

  • The offense will start each possession at its 35-yard line

  • There will be no live special teams. There will be punts, but all will be fair caught. (Editor's Note: Feel free to insert your own joke here).

  • There will be field goals and extra points, but not with defenders attempting to dive through and block either.

  • Kelly noted the team would run its offense and defense: "Everyone has film on us. We're going to run our offense and we're going to run our defense and all four quarterbacks will be live (able to be hit/wearing blue jerseys). They need to be live, they need to be part of it. We can't put a cylinder around them. They have to get into a flow of the game and the action."

  • Kelly also noted that the defense will be allowed to blitz (not part of the contest last year), "So we'll get into a situation where our quarterbacks handle pressure…We need to create one more opportunity for our quarterbacks. We want all the things for our quarterbacks in this game to help us continue to develop them and build that ultimate separation among the group."

    The clock will stop per usual rules in the first and second quarter and following a 15-minute (halftime) break, there will be two running clocks (barring timeouts or injury) in the third and fourth quarters.

  • Program sack king and two-time Super Bowl champion Justin Tuck will speak to the team on Friday night and Saturday perform the ceremonial coin toss.


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