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Blue and Gold Game gives preview to fans

Marisa Iati | Sunday, April 17, 2011

As quarterbacks Tommy Rees and Andrew Hendrix led the Gold team to a 17-14 victory over the Blue team at the Blue-Gold game Saturday, Irish fans were left feeling uncertain, but optimistic about the upcoming season.

“I think it’s going to be good,” senior Jerry Parshall said. “It seems like we have a really good recruiting class, [and] we did really well at the end of the season, so it seems like there’s some good positive momentum for next year. I’ve only heard good things about what’s happening.”

Sophomore Catherine Gillespie said despite some sloppiness on offense, she was glad to see the team playing again.

“I was really excited to see all the different quarterbacks play and different people on offense,” Gillespie said. “It made me hopeful that maybe during the regular season [Irish coach] Brian Kelly will be more comfortable playing different offensive players — kind of switching things up.”

Some students said they are looking forward to finding out who next season’s starting quarterback will be.

“It will be really interesting to see what happens with the quarterback situation,” senior Kate Weber said. “Once we know that, we’ll know more about what will happen with the team overall.”

Parshall said he thinks there is good competition among the potential quarterbacks but predicts Kelly will choose senior Dayne Crist to start.

“He’s the most experienced even though he’s been pretty banged up injury-wise,” Parshall said. “I think next year he’ll put us in the best position to win.”

Freshman Caleb Cobbin said he thinks Crist will most likely be the starting quarterback because he’s the strongest and most naturally talented of the current options. He also said he thinks freshman Tommy Rees would be a good backup for Crist.

Others said the student body has become more hopeful about the football team’s prospects since Kelly became head coach in December 2009.

“Notre Dame football has always been a huge part of everyone here, but I think people have started to be a little more encouraged about it than the last few years,” sophomore and Notre Dame Marching Band member Eric Dowdey said.

Gillespie said the changes Kelly has made to the team’s performance on the field as well as the team’s public image will take full effect in the future.

“I know that [Kelly] said that he was going to try to have more focus on the way that football affects the community,” Gillespie said. “I think he’s been doing a pretty good job so far, but I don’t think the student body is aware of all the changes he has made. “

Cobbin said Kelly has made noticeable improvements to the team in the past year.

“I feel like the team is more disciplined,” Cobbin said. “[Former Irish coach Charlie] Weis was more offense-heavy, whereas I feel like Kelly recruits defensive players more, which is helpful for our game. I just feel like they’re more clean and disciplined.”

Cobbin also said he looks forward to seeing what other improvements Kelly makes.

“Whenever there’s a new coach, there’s going to be a different feel,” Cobbin said. “Brian Kelly made mistakes last year, but I think it was a good start. If he keeps improving, it should be great.”