* The game's first four plays were an ugly reminder of the 2007 season's offensive ineptitude:
That's four plays, two incompletions and negative-16 yards on offense. It looked like September '07 all over again.
* Perhaps due to that rocky start through the air, the Irish ran the ball exclusively on its next 17 plays. Hughes received the lion's share of the work, carrying the ball on seven consecutive downs at one stretch. "I was sitting there in the huddle like, 'You're calling my name again?'" Hughes said.
* Based on the Blue-Gold Game, it's going to be difficult to keep safety Harrison Smith and cornerback Raeshon McNeil out of the starting lineup. Smith is a taller, rangier version of Tom Zbikowski, a playmaker who always seems to be around the ball. While the Irish are set at safety with David Bruton and McCarthy, expect Smith to see a lot of time as a rover, a safety "dropping down" to the linebacker position.
McNeil and fellow classmate Darrin Walls kept Kamara and David Grimes from getting much separation all afternoon, and McNeil looks much bigger than he did last season, almost like an outside linebacker.
* Tight end Dave Ragone had the first pass thrown to him bounce off his shoulder pads for an incompletion. The P.A. announcer mispronounced his name as "Dave Rogaine" on the play. On the following play Ragone made a pretty catch in traffic for a 23-yard gain, and this time the announcer got it right.
* Among the incoming freshman class attending Saturday's game were wide receiver Michael Floyd, tight end Kyle Rudolph and quarterback Dayne Crist. With David Grimes being named the offensive team captain, it is unlikely that Floyd will start, but expect him to see just as many plays as Grimes and Kamara soon. The Irish have speed with Golden Tate and size with Kamara, but only Floyd possesses both.
* Charlie Weis looked noticeably slimmer as he strode the sidelines. Jimmy Clausen, who has bulked up 17 pounds, looked noticeably broader. Both changes bode well for the Irish.
* It was a Golic family reunion, as both former players Bob and Mike Golic were here as were Mike's son: Mike, Jr. (a high school senior) and Jake (one year younger). All four Golics were the first players to commit to Notre Dame in their respective years.
Lingering questions were answered emphatically by the 2012 team, but 2013 is an all-new season that brings all-new question marks. Brian Kelly feels fairly confident his offense is in a great position to take a step forward, but to do that, they’ll need the services of some under-the-radar players.
Notre Dame's 2012 season
Check out some of the best images from Notre Dame's 2012 season.
Meet the 2012 Irish
Take a look at some of the key contributors for Notre Dame this season
2012 Notre Dame opponents
Take a look at some of the key players the Irish will face this season
Check out some of the college football cheerleaders from across the country.