Spring Practice Report: April 5th and 6th

This guy left some big shoes for the werewolf to fill - Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

The Fighting Irish Football team was back on the practice field both Friday and Saturday.

Media access to practice has been pretty limited all spring which has kept the conversations around the interwebs pretty quiet. Friday and Saturday were no exception but between FIDM and BGI hanging videos on YouTube we have plenty to discuss.

Let's start with the 5 April 2013 practice video from Notre Dame Athletics.


A few observations.

-Nick Martin has his hands full working against Irish Chocolate. Getting to work against the best nose guard in the country has to be great for Martin's development. Is it just me or does that #1 look tiny on Nix's back? I love Big Louis but I kind of wish he had switched to a number like #99 vice #1. I suppose he just wants to do it while he can since they won't let him in the bigs.

-Check out Prince Shembo working against Christian Lombard. Prince is really quick and really strong. Z-Ma does a much better job of handling him. I really miss both of those guys already. Shembo was solid last season but I think that he could have a really special season this fall at Cat Linebacker. The scariest thing is that when he's not in there I think that Ishaq Williams might wreak some havoc as well. I'm curious to see if Diaco will actually line Ishaq up at DE on occasion to get both of them on the field at the same time. As far as Z-Ma goes we are lucky to having him around for a 5th year.

-I think it's pretty funny when Bobby D rocks the old school gray sweats. He always seems to have the pants pulled up to his ribs! Coupled with his hair it makes him look like a 50's throwback or something. All he needs to totally round it out is to wear some Chuck Taylors.

-Watching the quarterbacks throw into the net is a great reminder of just how talented all of these athletes are. Golson makes it look effortless. Watching this simple drill also reminded me of just how difficult it is to get these guys to a point where they can translate natural talent and ability into results on the field. Have you ever tried throwing into one of those nets? It's a lot harder than these guys make it look.

-Also is it just me or does Malik Zaire's lower body look more like a Running Back's lower body than a Quarterback's lower body?

-Daniel Smith certainly looks the part. I hope the Senior can come on and really help out this fall.

-Luke Massa sighting! Nice coverage there by Jalen Brown.

-Christian Lombard looks a little better working against Justin Utopo than he did against Shembo. Utopo looks really thick these days.

-Look at Chris Watt picking up Shembo off the stunt. That was nice.

-James Onwalu is another really impressive looking young athlete. I don't think he plans on redshirting this year.

-He that shall not be slept on makes everything look easy to include a little one handed grab there at the end.

BGI hooked everyone up with another round of player interviews today and a couple of them were really enjoyable.

KeiVarae Hustle is just a really likeable kid.


.

Louis Nix III is always a sure bet to be entertaining when the camera is on. I love that Big Louis always just says exactly what he thinks. Here Nix talks about his weight, Alabama and making forward progress as a program. This quote in particular is what I love about Nix.

"Coming off that ass whoopin' from Alabama we just want to get back on track and focus to make our way back to the National Championship game, hopefully do a better job and put on a better performance for everybody."


BGI hung several other player interviews as well. Links are below.

Jarron Jones

Romeo Okwara

Ishaq Williams

Conor Hanratty

Ben Koyak

Alex Welch

Nick Martin

Matt Hegarty

Troy Niklas

Chris Watt

Brian Kelly also addressed the media after practice today.


A few notes from CBK.

-Carlisle is doing well. He's back out there running around he just can't take any contact yet.

-Will Mahone runs the ball well. He brings a physical style. Lining up in the slot some and catching passes out of the backfield remain a pretty steep learning curve for him.

-There is a lot of "flexibility" with Carlisle and Run CMC. CBK also said that he wouldn't rule out having GAIII on the field at the same with one of these guys. Sounds like both of them could definitely see time in the slot.

-We'll continue to see two tight end sets to include those where one of them lines up split out wide.

-Jarron Jones is a player that has the ability to be a great four technique. He will be "counted on for a handful of plays" this season.

-CBK on the offense: He has seen "real growth" from a lot of players on the offense. He mentions that a lot of returning offensive players have really stepped it up. He specifically mentioned Golson, Z-Ma, Troy Niklas and T.J. Jones.

-CBK on the defense: Where the offense has returning starters stepping it up on defense he mentioned that several players are making the most of their opportunity to step into a much bigger role. He specifically mentions Jarrett Grace and Ben Councell which is obviously a good thing. Everyone is aware of just how large the shoes are that Grace is attempting to fill so it is nice to see him get a mention from BK here. I also think that Councell has great ability but between Danny Spond and Jaylon Smith he still may have a hard time getting on the field.

-CBK then followed all of that up with this quote.

"Those are just pieces. I don't have all 22 yet, you know, feeling like we've got this thing together but we're moving in the right direction in terms of what I wanted to see."

-Ben Councell is getting some extra work in as Danny Spond has been banged up. He's had an upper neck/ shoulder injury so he has been held out of contact.

-Conor Hanratty is getting plenty of reps on the right side of the offensive line. It sounds more and more like Nick Martin and Hanratty have the inside track on being the new starting Center and Right Guard.

-Ronnie Stanley is progressing well and might even be able to participate in the Blue-Gold Game. That's great news.

-Davaris Daniels has a bruised knee.

-The staff is continuing to cross train Ishaq Williams at DE specifically for nickel situations.

-Romeo Okwara is still working at Cat. Due to his size he has the ability to put a hand on the ground.

-The team isn't looking for Nix to be a rah rah type guy but his teammates know that he's a ferocious competitor.

-Stephon Tuitt put on a little weight and is a "little north" of 322. CBK says that Longo will get him back down to 315 for the season.

-Bennett Jackson is a vocal leader as are Calabrese and Fox. CBK also mentioned Shembo and Jarret Grace as guys that are stepping into leadership roles.

-Fox and Calabrese can play inside at the same time. Grace and Kendall Moore are also guys that they feel give them good depth. Walk-on Joe Schmidt has also had a "very good spring" and has gotten the staff's attention. I would say that he's officially in the lead for a walk-on that could end up on scholarship this fall.

If and when FIDM hangs a video from practice this morning we will add it at the bottom of this post.

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