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Notre Dame Football Spring Practice Report: 3-19-14


Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports


Notre Dame came back from break and returned to the practice field Wednesday morning for their 3rd session of spring ball. Give thanks everyone, we have real football to discuss.


Golson continues to take all the 1st team reps. Kelly mentioned that EG stayed in Chicago with some extended family for the 2-week break from school.

Kelly did talk a little bit about Golson's wheels putting stress on the opponent. Even with 15 pounds of extra muscle there are no plans to call his number in the run game a bunch of times which makes sense. However, I still expect Golson's running to be a big part of the offense in the close games this season.

Zaire is developing nicely with Kelly commenting on him picking up the big-picture things but now Malik has to focus on the little things. The media seemed to be impressed enough with his passing. Looks like the staff and player read Larz' mechanics post?

Running Back

A lot of the running back comments in today's presser focused on Greg Bryant.

Following those rumors of transfer it looks like Bryant is settling in just fine with the Irish. Let's hope he does become a great player for this team.

Wide Receiver

Carlisle continues to look impressive in the slot.

Kelly mentioned that Carlisle lost his confidence once Folston passed him on the depth chart last year. Now, Amir is regaining his swagger and playing a lot better.

It's interesting to note that Carlisle and Prosise are the top two options in the slot right now. That looks like one prototypical slot athlete and one bigger athlete primed for a blocking role. What happens if Carlisle gets hurt or has to move back to running back? Will we ever find consistency at this position?

Don't sleep on Will Fuller. His name continues to come up this spring. Kelly mentioned that his potential is 'great' and I'm starting to think Fuller is solidifying himself as the top receiver on the roster as Daniels continues his suspension.

Some bad news to report as Will Mahone was seen on crutches by the media. As of right now I haven't seen or heard what that's about but it has to be disheartening for someone who missed last year with a foot injury.

Tight End

You know who is on the Doing Good Things List™ right now?

Oil City's finest, that's who.

We always knew he had it in him but it looks like Niklas' departure is allowing Koyack to gain a ton of confidence now that he knows he's The Guy at tight end. Anyone care to predict his stat line for 2014?

Also noteworthy according to this report from BGI ($$$) was Durham Smythe being used as the lone target on the short side of the field in a trips formation with Brent, Carlisle, and Fuller to the wide side.

Offensive Line

Not much to report at OL with the exception of Connor Hanratty working with the 1st team at right guard in place of Christian Lombard. Lombard sprained his wrist and the media saw Hanratty with the top unit during their viewing session.

No word on the extent of Lombard's injury. I'm sure he'll be fine soon, though.

The rest of the 1st-team was the same as the beginning of spring ball: Stanley (LT), Elmer (LG), Hegarty (C), and McGlinchey (RT).

Defensive Line

If you've read our multiple front post (part 2 coming Friday) you know how the Irish are mixing things up with the big bodies on defense. If you're like me and interested more in where guys are lining up the two deep in the 4-3 front was as follows

  • DE Ishaq Williams, Isaac Rochell
  • DT Sheldon Day, Justin Utupo
  • DT Jarron Jones, Jacob Matuska
  • DE Romeo Okwara, Anthony Rabasa

A noteworthy change is the absence of Hounshell from this lineup with Matuska backing up Jones at the nose tackle spot. With Springmann out with an injury I'm sure the staff is trying to find another body who can eat blocks on the interior. Perhaps Matuska can be that guy?


Maybe the biggest news of the 3rd spring practice was the seeing Jaylon Smith get some work inside.

More specifically, Smith was getting a lot of work as one of the two linebackers in the middle during the nickel packages (you can clearly see this in the video below) that the team worked on Wednesday. This foreshadows a post I'm currently finishing up for consumption in a couple weeks and I absolutely love this move.

Watch out now, but it appears John Turner might have found himself a role on this team.

Turner is working behind Jaylon Smith at the Sam linebacker spot with Councell recovering from knee surgery and Turner also was getting a lot of work on sub packages as well.


Nothing crazy happening at corner with Russell and Luke still running with the 1st team. Josh Atkinson and Jalen Brown are working with the second team. It sounds like Farley remains strictly a nickel corner.

Still haven't heard a word about redshirt freshman Rashad Kinlaw.


Max Redfield is still starting with Austin Collinsworth but it looks like Redfield continues to be a work in progress.

Let's hope he makes some big strides throughout the rest of spring. Whatever is happening it's not bad enough to have Shumate or Hardy moved up to first team.

Lastly, one curious note from Kelly today...

How should we feel about this? Does it make sense? Onwualu was working at 2nd string safety during the second practice but was apparently not there today--although he was one of the nickel linebackers. Shouldn't he stick to one position and develop there?


*Joe Schmidt interception right off the bat. From the sounds of things the former walk-on isn't going to fade into the background after seeing some snaps last year. He was even working opposite Jaylon Smith on the inside during nickel packages, too.

*Do I see Golson with white socks and white spats???

*Nice grab by Prosise at 1:32 coming across the middle on a ball thrown a little behind him by Golson.

*Starting at 2:05 we get a glimpse of Zaire's escapability. Nice moves! He makes another play to end the video as well.

*That's true freshman Andrew Trumbetti at 3:06 running a stunt and putting center Mark Harrell on his butt. That's nice to see some strength out of the young player.