This is it, the last spring practice for 2012.
After this update we'll have the Blue Gold Game as the last shred of football for a long, long time. Don't forget to stop by the north gate of the stadium to say hello on Saturday if you are attending the game.
Here's a tweet to give us some perspective:
Last spring practice of my notre dame. #timeflies let's get it!!!— Manti Te'o (@MTeo_5) April 18, 2012
So many mixed emotions right there. May Manti Te'o have a senior year for the ages!
Th good stuff comes after the jump.
Info & Links
Justin Tuck will be the honored guest and ceremonial coin-flipper at the Blue Gold Game this weekend.
BG Game will be offense versus defense and not blue versus gold. For the most part it will be 1st team playing against 1st team defense with the defense getting points for stops and turnovers.
Quarterback will be live, and there will be no special teams with the ball starting on the 35-yard line. The clock will not be stopped in the second half.
Lou Somogyi is back at Blue Gold Illustrated with an article on Tommy Rees.
Video article from Irish Illustrated on Louis Nix and his struggles lately.
BGI has got you covered with Louis Nix coverage too.
ISD notebook from Kelly's time with the media.
BGI article on the scoring behind the BG game this weekend.
ISD article on incoming freshman man-child Jarron Jones.
Notes from Brian Kelly's Meeting with the Media
- Alex Welch has really come on during the spring and they are happy with the depth at tight end.
That's a real interesting battle between Welch and Koyack to fill the role as the back-up receiving tight end in this offense. I felt like a lot of people started to count Welch out so it's good to see him playing well.
- Kelly said DaVaris Daniels had a strong past week and is confident that he will help the team win games this season.
Boom. This is exactly what the receiving corps and the offense needs. Daniels could be poised for a big season for youngster.
- Daniel Smith earned praise from Kelly and said that he's finally got through his injuries.
If Smith and Daniels can step up and offer some size and production, well, that would be just fantastic.
- Kelly is really pleased with the three-man rotation at safety (Slaughter-Motta-Collinsworth).
This is nice to see but I'm still a little worried. Motta needs to be improved just to get to every down good and Collinsworth is still very unproven in terms of snaps on defense. If this trio can play well in 2012 it will go a long way to making this defense better, and making the cornerbacks better as well.
- Battle at cornerback between Lo Wood and Josh Atkinson is still ongoing.
Kelly mentioned that Jalen Brown still needs some maturing so it looks like he's fallen out of the race. I'm curious to see how serious the staff is about Cam McDaniel playing corner---will he move into a fight for this corner spot if Wood or Atkinson have a step back in August?
My money is still on Josh Atkinson, but he has to get better there's no doubt about that.
- Ishaq Williams has caught Coach Kelly's eye and he's impressed with his sense of urgency now.
This is really important as Williams' role is going to expand this season and the team has needed him while Shembo sits out with his turf toe injury.
It makes you wonder how much of a positional battle we'll see at Cat linebacker when the team assembles for fall camp in 4 months.
- Kelly really likes the effort from Werewolf and sees him getting reps at middle linebacker this season. He mentions that he could play the WILL position, but he will stay behind Manti Te'o at MIKE for now.
These are good problems to have. How many reps do you give an up and coming tackle machine like Grace, while he's sitting behind the best Irish linebacker of the past 20 years?
If I'm Diaco I'm throwing Grace out there early if Fox or Calabrese struggle this season. Forget Mike vs. Will, get the Werewolf on the field!
I wonder what we're to make of Kendall Moore now as (it appears) Grace has jumped him on the depth chart. Is it Grace just being that much better, or has Moore struggled a little bit this spring?
These questions will also end up answering who is brought back for a 5th year, remember.
- Kelly feels good about where the quarterbacks are and how they've limited turnovers.
Hopefully there's been some progress on offseason goal No. 1, right?
- He says Rees is a better athlete than people give him credit for, Golson is working hard on the little things, and Hendrix needs to take command of the offense.
I can believe that Rees will improve his decision making and his overall command of the offense. I can even envision a scenario where he's starting in the fall because of these improvements.
What I cannot believe is that Rees is a good enough of athlete to bring anything to the table either running the ball or consistently extending plays with his feet. That is not happening.
- Voluntary workouts will be a factor in who starts this season. The staff needs more time to make a decision and it won't come until August.
And so we shall wait.
It won't stop me or anyone else from taking way too much out of the spring game though!
- Each quarterback is running the same offense---there are no special packages.
What does this mean in regards to playing two quarterbacks?
That's what I know because deep down inside we know playing two quarterback isn't going to work out.
- Tommy Rees will be the first quarterback in the game this weekend due to this seniority.
"Rees had to play against a fresh 1st team defense, the other quarterbacks didn't have to!"
- Jamoris Slaughter needs to be ready at corner if necessary.
I would imagine the staff would have to be really super comfortable with Collinsworth at safety and really no faith in one of the young corners staying on the field.
I just don't see Slaughter playing corner when he's needed so much at safety and as the hybrid outside linebacker.
- Kelly says there are no issues with Nix, he's upbeat and any problems he's having is just life at Notre Dame. Kelly is thinking about a one-strike policy in regards to social media for the players.
Should Kelly just ban social media now and get it over with?
This is one of the quietest position battles that I can ever remember in recent years, especially considering Spond was hurt most of last year (and didn't play a ton in 2010) and Councell has yet to step on the field.
Good thing I'm really high on both players upgrading the production at Dog, because it can't get much worse than last year.
- Braxston Cave is recovering well and would play if necessary, but he will be withheld from the BG game.
This should allow us to get a good look at Mike Golic, Matt Hegarty, and anyone else who ends up taking reps at center this Saturday.
Win-win as far as I'm concerned.
- Kelly think it's ridiculous that people have attacked Aaron Lynch on social media sites for leaving Notre Dame.
You don't say?
- The walk-ons will travel with the team to Ireland for the opener against Navy.
Cue NDN thread complaining about the university wasting money on kids who will never play.
But they support the players, they really do!
Und.com interview with DaVaris Daniels and George Atkinson.
Und.com interview with Louis Nix.
Quick interview snippet with Zeke Motta from BGI.