Notre Dame Spring Practice Report: Saturday, March 31

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish held their seventh practice of the spring today in the Loftus center. Despite having no boots on the ground, One Foot Down reports on the doings that transpired. It's a 24-hour news cycle, people. We can't let a lack of personal knowledge or sources stand in the way of our muckraking.

The Irish scrimmaged in full pads for the first time this spring. While we saw very little live action in the practice report--six plays in all--it looked like the D was pretty much all up in the run game's business. John Goodman had a nice catch and run, but finished it off with a fumble. I hope that was a fluke. He had a nice catch downfield a couple of plays later. Theo Riddick and George Atkinson looked to be running the ball with authority and explosiveness in the three plays that we saw from them. Tyler Eifert continues to look like Tyler Eifert, which is good.

In addition to showing some live scrimmage action, today's practice report focused on the tight ends. Troy Niklas deserves the nickname "Hercules." Kid is a straightup beast. Tyler Eifert is not a huge tight end by any means, but Niklas makes him look downright skinny. T-Nik also looked quite fluid in drills. Between Eifert, Niklas, Ben Koyack, and Alex Welch, the Irish will a Cardinal-esque assortment of offensive weapons at tight end, though Coach Kelly made it quite clear yesterday that our number two tight end will be the one who blocks the best at the point of attack. Kelly stressed that Eifert Tower is going to be the one catching the passes. For the other tight ends, the blocking is the biscuits and the receiving is the gravy. Either Kelly is not concerned with his second tight end being a good receiver, or all of our tight ends bring a lot to the passing game and their blocking is how they're going to set themselves apart. The latter makes more sense to yours truly.

For those Irish fans pining for the days or yore when fullbacks freely roamed the Earth, do not lose heart. A fullback by any other name blocks as stout and seals the edge as sweet, and the fullback's day has returned, though now its name is "tight end." Coach Kelly intimated yesterday that the fullback, which was a... GASP... one-dimensional position, has been resurrected and replaced in his offense by the tight end, a two-dimensional player. So what Coach Kelly is telling us is that tight end is the new fullback. I dig.

The next step? A three dimensional player. Early candidates include Everett Golson, Big Louis Nix, and Tate Nichols. Strike that. Nix has already become a four-dimensional player and Nichols occupies multiple dimensions simultaneously.

Jack Nolan interviewed tight ends coach Scott Booker, who was also mic'ed up during practice. Booker gave mini-updates on the five Irish tight ends competing for playing time:

Well obviously Tyler's done a great job just becoming a leader. I think that in his senior year he understands urgency. You know, and he understands that he wants to do everything he can to have the most successful team he can. Then you go to Koyack, you know, he's improving on his run-blocking, also just as an overall tight end being able to finish and make plays once he catches the ball. Alex Welch has done a tremendous job so far being able to continue to improve his blocking. And obviously Troy learning our offense and then being able to use his size and his strength as a blocker, and then also he has really good hands, and then he's able to make plays after the catch. Then Jake is just doing a good job of just doing everything that we ask him to do and improving in both running and passing.

In other tight-end-related news, all-everything junior tight end Mike Heuerman was on campus this weekend. The early returns from Heuerman seem to be quite positive, but everyone and their brother is after Heuerman, so the Irish will have a tough row to hoe to bring the uber tight end to Notre Dame.

Have a happy Sunday, Irish fans, and let us know in the comments if you see any news from today's practice that we missed.

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