Big Plays Spark Saturday's Scrimmage

<P>The <!--Default For Notre Dame is to ignore-->Notre Dame football team held what is likely their last scrimmage of the spring on Saturday in preparation for the 75th annual Blue-Gold game. Irish Eyes spoke with a few people after practice to get their thoughts on the scrimmage. </P>

The Irish began the day in full pads and a scrimmage was obviously on tap as officials were roaming the sidelines.

Tom Zbikowski has been making a lot of noise so far this spring with his play, but he said the offense had the better day on Saturday. "I don't want to say it, but the offense got the better of us today," Zbikwoski said.

The sophomore free safety said the offense was effective both running and passing on Saturday. "It was a little bit of both running and passing. One deep pass was my fault, but it happens, you've got to move on."

Sophomore Trevor Laws also participated in the scrimmage after sitting out a number of practices this spring. "I went about half the practice, I did pretty good," said Laws. "My hamstring gave me a little bit of trouble. Hopefully I end up grading out pretty good on the film tomorrow."

Laws wasn't willing to concede victory to the offense on Saturday. "I'd say they got us a little bit, but we made a lot of plays, too. We just gave up too many big plays. I think we had some blown coverages in our D-backs, but overall, I think we played better."

Coach Tyrone Willingham said he saw a number of things that pleased him on Saturday, but he also saw some things he wasn't pleased with. "It was a day based on periods," said Willingham. "One group did well during red-zone—one group did not do well during red-zone. We flipped it and went base, one group did well the other group didn't do well. That's the give and take of spring practice, but overall it was encouraging. I thought the defense did well in the red-zone. I thought the offense did well backed up, and I thought they both had a combination during the base period."

The secondary has been a concern this spring and will remain a concern in the fall. Willingham says he hasn't found all the answers in the secondary as of yet. "I don't think we've solidified all the positions yet, but I think there's been some progress," Willingham said.

"We've had some good things in the secondary. I think the transition guys have adapted well. I think some of the veteran guys have stepped up their play and done some things."

"We haven't, but I think the group that we started with," said Willingham when asked if he had settled on starters in the return game. "When you look at your punt returners--Rhema McKnight is in that mixture, Carlyle Holiday is in that mixture. You go to your kick returners—Dwight Ellick, Matt Shelton, Isaiah Gardner, we've got some other guys that will fill in to that mix."

Notes

Players that looked to be out for the scrimmage were Derek Landri, Quentin Burrell, Greg Pauly and Kyle Budinscak. On offense, Dan Santucci and Lionel Bolen also appeared to be limited. Running back Marcus Wilson was in street clothes.

Notre Dame Sports Information has an informative article posted about the particulars of the scrimmage. To find out more, click HERE


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