Notre Dame Football has put the Easter break fully behind them and took to the field again on Friday morning for the 7th practice of spring. Let's talk about the stuff that's happening with the team on this April Fools.
Redshirt junior Malik Zaire continues to come out first in the media viewing portions with DeShone Kizer following him--and Brandon Wimbush after that. There wasn't much throwing to start Friday's practice.
The media's doing awfully well not making a story out of nothing this spring. I suppose the constant lack of naming a leader before summer has caused that change.
Notre Dame knows who their top two running backs are but Brian Kelly mentioned after practice that Dexter Williams is part of competition with Adams and Folston, too. He also talked about how well Folston runs the inside zone while Adams excels with the outside zone and Dexter with his speed.
It has been noted that Justin Brent is getting into the mix more often with the 2nd-string team rotating with Williams.
Bad news for Corey Robinson who was not dressed for the March 23rd practice and was not present again today as he deals with a concussion. He'll be visiting a specialist soon so they can't get some more information. Remember, Robinson dealt with a couple concussions last year.
Torii Hunter, Corey Holmes, and Equanimeous St. Brown continue to work together on the top unit with Robinson sidelined. The second unit featured Kevin Stepherson and Miles Boykin (back from an injured finger) on the outside with walk-on Chris Finke in the slot.
Kelly talked about Holmes translating his in-line "track speed" to something that can be turned into real speed on the football field. It's been a struggle for him the first couple years but he's getting better.
He also mentioned that while Holmes is moving in the direction of someone who can stretch the field with his speed, right now Hunter is that player for the Irish. Additionally, Stepherson was thrown in there too as someone who can attack the ball and might have the best hands on the entire team. Certainly this has been a big spring for the true freshman.
St. Brown is being moved around, per Kelly. But they do like him at the "W" position where they can use his strength and power. ESB's smarts and understanding of the offense was praised but Kelly wants to see him attack the ball better.
All quiet on the Matuksa-to-tight end front. For the second straight viewing period it was Durham Smythe and Nic Weishar split reps on the 1st-team with Alize Jones running with 2nd-team.
For the third media viewing we've got our third combination on the starting offensive line:
McGlinchey (LT), Nelson (LG), Mustipher (C), Bivin (RG), Bars (RT)
We've now seen McGovern, Hoge, and now Bivin work with the 1st team at right guard. Bars must be close to 100% now as he's moved up to the 1st team, as well. After the workout, Kelly said that over the next 4 or 5 practices they want to get Bivin some work at guard so we'll see how that goes.
Colin McGovern had missed the last media practice and was back down on the 2nd-team line:
Byrne (LT), Ruhland (LG), Hoge (C), Harrell (RG), McGovern (RT)
We still don't have a great grasp on the complete depth chart up front on defense. We'll need some more comments from Kelly and the full media viewing next weekend to shore things up. Here's some things that are known as of today:
- They are still taking things slowly with Jarron Jones and rotating Daniel Cage with the 1st-team at nose guard.
- Jay Hayes has not only moved from tackle to defensive end, he's moved to weak-side defensive end. Quite the bold move for someone standing 6-3 and 285 pounds. That's 25 pounds heavier than starter Andrew Trumbetti.
- Freshman Daelin Hayes has gone from no contact to "eh, let's pick our spots and see what he can do" as he is recovering from shoulder injury.
- Khalid Kareem remains at third-team SDE but is getting a lot of work this spring.
- I still have no idea what the plan is behind Tillery at 3-tech.
It appears the starting linebackers will remain the same throughout spring with James Onwualu (SAM), Morgan (MIKE), and Bilal (WILL). Josh Barajas remains in the middle behind Morgan.
Morgan has been in the spotlight lately with a recent media interview and some comments today from Brian Kelly. In just a minute of speaking the head coach mentioned Morgan's physicality six times. This spring has been just about as awesome as anyone could have hoped for Morgan.
No changes in the secondary from last week. Cole Luke and Nick Watkins are still the 1st-team corners while Drue Tranquill has remained at strong safety and freshman Devin Studstill at free safety. The little ball of electricity that is Shaun Crawford is at nickel corner.
One last interesting item from Friday morning was the defensive breaking out their dime coverage. The unit getting those reps was Rochell (DE), Tillery (DT), Trumbetti (DE), Onwualu (LB), Morgan (LB), Crawford (NB), Tranquill (DB), Luke (CB), Watkins (CB), Studstill (FS), and Perry (SS).
After the practice Kelly said that Spencer Perry is developing and they are giving him some different opportunities. Clearly so!
Brian Kelly 4-1-16 Presser