The Fighting Irish took the ninth spring practice of the season outdoors for the first time on Wednesday, shunning the indoor comforts and FieldTurf of the Loftus Center for the weather exposed and FieldTurf playing surface of the LaBar fields.
This gives the program the first chance to test out the new automated cameras that have been installed after the death of Declan Sullivan.
Here’s a recap of today’s practice:
*NT Tyler Stockton and WR Daniel Smith were not in full pads again.
*S Austin Collinsworth was finally in pads today and has fully recovered from his tonsillectomy surgery.
*NT Louis Nix opened practice taking reps with the first team defense.
*Andrew Nuss was starting at left guard, as the team rolled out two tight ends (Tyler Eifert and Mike Ragone) with Theo Riddick and TJ Jones at receiver, and Cierre Wood at running back.
*Dayne Crist started at quarterback and was later replaced by Tommy Rees during the tempo drill, while Jonas gray came in for Wood, and John Goodman came in as an extra receiver in one tight end sets.
*QB Andrew Hendrix continues to get 1st team reps during tempo drills, coming in near the goal line. He is also getting work as one of the holders on special teams.
*Both Hendrix and QB Everett Golson took some reps at running back, taking the ball through the one-on-one drill pitting the defensive linemen against the offensive linemen. Obviously this means both quarterbacks were back in their blue jerseys today.
*Brian Kelly said Golson has lots of learning to do and is kind of swimming, but he loves his athleticism and the way he throws the ball. He’s a work in progress which isn’t much of a surprise for an early enrollee quarterback.
*I’d like to add that center Braxston Cave looks very mean with his tattoos, visor, and general demeanor. He’s obviously the most intense offensive lineman on the team.
*Bonus points to guard Trevor Robinson for rocking the old-school facemask.
*OLB Steve Filer continues to get good reviews in drill work.
*No information on Michael Floyd yet.
*Both Ishaq Williams and Aaron Lynch are practicing well. Brian Kelly stated these freshmen are adding depth and will be in the mix in the fall. The coaches are working on balancing a stripped down assignment with their natural athletic abilities.
Williams has more work to do because of his drop responsibilities and Kelly wants him to just go out and play because he’s thinking too much.
Lynch is a work in progress but is learning the defense and the team will utilize his skills in the fall.
*It is unlikely that Manti Te’o will play in the Blue-Gold game.
*Kyle Brindza punted the ball well.
*Jonas Gray is improving but still dances a little too much. Kelly said he’s getting there but needs to continue lowering his shoulder more.
*Theo Riddick and Cierre Wood are returning kicks right now but Kelly said he does not want them there in the fall because he does not want to lose them to injury. He made it clear there will be an open competition at kick returner in the fall with incoming freshmen playing a key role. Riddick is returning punts and could likely stay there in the fall however.
*The coaches have a good feeling for the top guys and are now working on developing the depth on the roster. For example in a red one situation, the presumed starting safeties in Harrison Smith and Zeke Motta took a break while Jamoris Slaughter, Dan McCarthy, and Austin Collinsworth received playing time.
So that’s it for today…not a whole lot of ground breaking news. Any comments?