Did it seem like it took longer than usual to get some spring updates for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team? I get it... spring break was sprinkled in there- hence the wait. Still, after the early (well, early by our standards now) exit from the basketball tournament, we are all anxiously awaiting news from the gridiron.
Ahhhhh, yes. The cracking of pads.
What did we learn today?
Very little, I’m sure, but let’s talk about it anyway.
- We are still uncomfortable with the Alize’ Jones situation. We don’t see him and we start freaking out. We jump to conclusions about if the 5 minutes he spends on Twitter changing his last name to “Mack” is causing poor classroom performance again. We are silly, silly creatures. (But it’s not outside the realm of possible that something is going on).
- NOTRE DAME CAN HIT! If I had to rank the top 10 softest programs in America over the last few years, I would certainly have the Irish ranked safely inside that top 10. We are starting to see more physical practices (from what we can tell) because foot ball is a physical game. How about that?
- Speaking of hitting... the tackle drills between the defensive backs and the wide receivers does give a lot of advantage to the ball carrier. Still, outside of a handful of massive whiffs, I generally liked what I saw.
- The offensive line seems set with Mike McGlinchey, Quenton Nelson, Sam Mustipher, and Alex Bars from left to right. There is still a battle going on for the right tackle position between Tommy Kraemer and Liam Eichenberg, but it does appear Kraemer has the edge as he runs with the first team.
- Elijah Taylor is out for the spring.
- The pairing of Greer Martini and Nyles Morgan at the Buck and Mike respectively, looks like a dynamic linebacker pair- as well as a formidable drinking tandem. Add Asmar Bilal at the rover (where he was once again) and this group looks physical and athletic.
- Brandon Wimbush just looks bigger and more dynamic. Maybe it’s just beacuse he’s a junior and a starter- rather than a freshman and 3rd string, but it’s noticeable.
Kelly Doesn’t Care About George Whitfield
Personally, if I was Brian Kelly, I would care. Outside of a possible eye injury from a broom flying around in the air, I just don’t see what is so great about Whitfield.
After practice, Kelly responded to a question about George Whitfield and his thoughts about him:
I have no problem with him working out with George Whitfield. George doesn’t work on the specifics to the offense. George is really working on throwing the football, moving in the pocket. George is really good with keeping those quarterbacks active and moving.
When it comes to the playbook, to his teammates, to his coaches here, Brandon understands that when the rubber hits he road, those are the guys that matter the most. He knows when it’s time for Notre Dame Football where the focus is. When there’s time off and he needs to stay sharp, to work with another coach is certainly acceptable. And he works with his high school coach as well in training.
As I said to him, as long as you know at the end of the day when it gets into the playbook, your teammates, and your position coach here, that there’s not any confusion, which there isn’t, I have no problem with those kinds of interactions.
It’s almost as if he is actually really bothered by it, but doesn’t want to say anything. Kind of like the 2014 and 2015 defense.
I actually think it gets meatier when they asked Kelly if Whitfield helped:
Not really. I think in those situations it’s a bullpen session. They’re keeping their arms loose, their feet loose. He’s just keeping them active. Good throwing sessions. I think when it’s a longer period like when Everett was there they were watching film. But in those short bursts they’re really just staying in the moment and throwing the football.
So, I have to ask... how does Whitfield make a living from doing nothing? Can Kelly create after George destroys?