April 30, 2000
NOTRE DAME,Ind. – Notre Dame revealed very little in its final spring practice.
To cap off 14 practices, the offensive and defensive units suited up to play in the 71st annual Blue-Gold game. The defensive unit managed to hold on to win the scrimmage, 39-31.
Saturday’s game drew a less than impressive crowd. Only 14, 135 fans turned out for the dull game. Head coach Bob Davie and his coaching staff devised a new look for the scrimmage. This year, offensive and defensive units faced off against each other with coaches making numerous substitutions with each play.
The staff developed an elaborate scoring system to reward the units for everything from touchdowns to tackles to blocked field goals.
“We just put our heads together and tried to be creative,” Davie said about the new scrimmage format. “We wanted to allow it to be a competitive game and have the defense a chance to score.”
The defense did just what Davie and his staff had allotted for, score. In fact, the defense scored the only true touchdown of the game. Linebacker Anthony Denman gave the defense the lead in the first quarter with his interception. Denman picked off quarterback Gary Godsey’s first attempt of the day and ran it back 39 yards for 12 points. His 12-point play earned him MVP honors for the defense.
“Anthony Denman is one of the better linebackers we have,” Davie said. “As far as a playmaker, he has the best potential. He has put himself in position to have a heck of a year.
The defense jumped out to a 24-6 lead in the first quarter. Besides Denman’s 12-point play, the defensive lead came off of three sacks of Godsey. Grant Irons, Darrell Campbell and Rocky Boiman all got their hands on the quarterback, for major losses each time.
It took some time for Godsey to heat up. The second string quarterback took several snaps for the offense. Throughout spring practice, Davie has remarked at how far Godsey has come.
In the postgame press conference, Davie remarked that many believed Godsey would be moved to tight end after spring practice. Davie made it clear that with his performance this spring, he would practice this fall at the quarterback position.
“I am excited about Gary Godsey’s development this spring,” Davie said. “He went out there and competed and made improvement.”
Godsey finished the day with 12 completions on 23 attempts for 148 yards. He took the majority of the snaps in the second half.
Perhaps what excited the sparse crowd the most is the ability of the quarterbacks to hit the tight end in the flat. Tight end Jabari Holloway earned offensive MVP honors. He finished the day with four receptions for 58 yards.
“I have told Arnaz that if he needs me that I am here,” Holloway said. “We have a lot of good receivers, tailbacks and players on this team so I am not looking at being the only one he goes to.”
Battle had an equally impressive performance in his outing as the first string quarterback for the Irish. He finished the game with 10 completions for 117 yards. Neither Battle nor Godsey threw a touchdown in Saturday’s game.