Nix aims to strike fear into opponents as QB

Nix aims to strike fear into opponents as QB

April 20, 2013, 4:00 pm
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It's something all teams need to be scared of. Everybody needs to be scared of Irish Chocolate.
—Louis Nix
I don’t even want to play running back, though, I want to be a wildcat QB.
—Louis Nix

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Louis Nix rumbled into the end zone, and after Saturday's Blue-Gold game at Notre Dame stadium, he had a message for mankind.

"It's something all teams need to be scared of. Everybody needs to be scared of Irish Chocolate," the defensive tackle-turned-quarterback said. "Everyone. Including you."

After months of clamoring, Nix finally got his chance to take a snap as a quarterback on Saturday. The affable defensive tackle won a bet with Brian Kelly, one centered around academics, and the Irish coach paid up in the form of letting Nix take one snap out of the shotgun in the "Irish Chocolate" set.

Nix's one shining moment came on a two-point conversion, after freshman quarterback Malik Zaire fired a touchdown pass to C.J. Prosise in the fourth quarter.

"I went up to Malik -- real story -- I went up to Malik and said 'bro, get me to the promised land, man.' He was doing bad at first, I said get me to the promised land," Nix said. "That's what he did. He put the team on his back, got us a touchdown, we went for two and coach called me up."

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Notre Dame's defense was certainly caught off guard by a 347-pound player taking a snap at quarterback.

"Ooooooooooh jeez," linebacker Jarrett Grace said of his reaction when he saw Nix in on the play. "Yeah, he was rolling, too. He put an indent in that turf when he fell down. I'm glad it wasn't me there."

In a spring game that was painfully dull, the debut of the Irish Chocolate set stood out as a highlight. The origin of it goes back to last October, when Nix detailed how a younger brother referred to him as a quarterback in a class presentation.

"You know, right about now, I would love to play quarterback," Nix said back then. "I think I’d be real good at it, you know, put me in the wildcat. I don’t even want to play running back, though, I want to be a wildcat QB."

[Watch: Louis Nix's comments after Notre Dame's Blue-Gold game]

Nix looked like he would try to pass when he initially took the snap on Saturday, but ultimately settled for barreling three years to paydirt. He hopes to learn how to read coverages soon enough, and -- still in half-deadpan mode -- said he wants to compete with Notre Dame's incumbent starting quarterback for playing time.

"I'm making strides to push Everett (Golson), the rest of the guys and get the starting spot and hopefully Coach has enough trust in me to put me there one game," Nix said.

News & notes

Despite a stagnant offensive effort, Notre Dame's gold squad (the offense) scored 43 points on Saturday, but lost thanks to 54 points scored by the blue team (the defense). The scoring system might as well have came with the Whose Line is it Anyway tagline of "everything's made up and the points don't matter."

[More: Golson, Notre Dame offense searching for the next step]

Notre Dame now enters a dead period of sorts, with players organizing workouts over the summer before fall camp begins in early August. A few notes from the last time we'll see the Irish in about three and a half months:

-- The best play of the game, save for Nix's touchdown, was made by running back Cam McDaniel. The Coppell, Texas native made a fine one-handed catch along the near sideline, sidestepped linebacker Grace and lowered his shoulder on a few defenders for a 25-yard gain. McDaniel saw plenty of snaps with the first and second-team offenses, although the absence of Amir Carlisle (injury) and Greg Bryant (incoming freshman) made his role in the spring game a little larger than it may be come the fall.

-- Ronnie Stanley started at left guard, with incumbent starter Chris Watt staying on the sidelines for Saturday's game. Kelly said Watt slept funny on his neck and was held out as a precaution. Stanley played tackle throughout the spring, although Kelly was pleased with how he dealt with playing guard.

"Going in at guard and having that flexibility, he just played tackle most of the time, so the guard/tackle combination has been good for us and I think he competed pretty well," Kelly said.

[More: BCS loss to Alabama brings Notre Dame's 2013 goals into focus]

-- Special teams were a problem for Notre Dame on Saturday, just as was the case last year. Kyle Brindza averaged just 30 yards per punt, with his longest in seven tries going 38 yards. While there was no live special team action, Notre Dame's punt returners struggled with decision-making and catching the ball. Placekicker Nick Tausch missed his first field goal attempt -- a 40-yarder -- but hit his next three.

"I'd like to leave the spring feeling a little bit better about (special teams), but we've got a lot of work to do there," Kelly said.