Charlie Weis acknowledged that Saturday's Blue-Gold Game is more than just another practice.
"It's a practice, but it's not a practice. Now there's 20,000 people out there, it's a beautiful day, you're in the Stadium, the media is around and your family is all coming to town," said Weis. "Anytime there's more people around and more obvious competition around, everything kind of rises up a little bit."
This year's spring game will use the same structure as last year's with the offense going against the defense instead of splitting the team into two squads. Notre Dame did that last year because the Irish did not have two quarterbacks for the entire spring, but this year it is at offensive line where they come up a little short.
"We had 10 guys to put out there, but a couple of the guys that you would have put in that second offensive line, it would have been a fire drill," said Weis.
"So what do you do, go put Dayne out there and then every time he goes to pass the ball he's getting hit in the face by somebody right there?" said Weis. "We just didn't think that that made a lot of sense."
Weis intends to go ones versus ones for the majority of the scrimmage. Offensive skill players will rotate through and the defense may get to its second unit while the offensive line has just seven or eight players work through in the first part of the game.
For now, the same wager applies between the offense and defense as last year, but Clausen's touchdown pass to Duval Kamara with 24 seconds to lead the offense to victory last year did cause some controversy.
"Last year's controversial ending caused a lot of havoc so we'll see how it goes. Right now it's steaks versus hot dogs," Weis said. "It was a tough one with that controversial toe touch in the end zone."
Weis left no doubt when he was asked if, as the offensive coordinator, he would be rooting for the guys with the ball.
"Hell yeah," he said. "When I'm the offensive coordinator, you betcha I do. When I'm the head coach, I cheer for everybody, but not when I'm calling plays. I'm a sore loser. You guys don't see that very often, but I am, I'm a sore loser. I don't want to eat hot dogs, okay?"
Senior James Aldridge could play if it was a regular season contest, but is doubtful for the game with a shoulder injury.
"I'll probably hold him from the spring game," said Weis.
But Aldridge, who has been limited in the final portion of the spring, clearly did enough to prove to the staff that he could handle his dual role of halfback and fullback.
"If we were playing a game today, he would start for us at fullback," said Weis. "He'd be listed as the starter at fullback, but I could very easily see in our opener against Nevada, him playing more halfback in the game than playing fullback."
Wide receiver John Goodman looked good as he worked out with the quarterbacks on Wednesday.
"I like the way he was throwing it," said Weis, who was encouraged by what he saw from Goodman as a high school quarterback.
"You had to anticipate that you could probably do this with him. Right now he's definitely in the top six receivers and probably higher than that. First things first, how's he going to get on the field the quickest? Right now he's going to get on the field quicker at wide receiver than he will at quarterback, but could we play him at quarterback? I think he answered some of our questions today."
Goodman will get more reps under center in preseason camp, especially as the receiver position gets healthier. Goodman gives the Irish plenty of options as a situational quarterback and for potential gadget plays.
"Without getting into too many particulars and not being too creative, there's a number of things you could do with him," said Weis. "You've got your trickery and deceit plays that you could use as well. He gives you some flexibility to do be creative and do some things, but the spring time isn't really the time when I'm trying to be creative."
Just one practice seemed to be enough to prove that he is a real option as the number three quarterback.
"What he's shown is he can play wide receiver for us. What he's shown is that he can throw the football with the big boys," Weis said. "Now it'll be different when he's in there calling the plays and running the offense, but he did it for a whole year, so it isn't like there is any reason for me to believe that he wouldn't be capable of doing it."