Spring practice got underway for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish this week and although there is quite a bit to take in, there is actually quite little we know for certain.
The Irish aren't working with a full deck (like just about every team in college football at the moment) so gathering information up as it pertains to depth charts, standouts, and leaders will be extremely fluid until August. It's safe to say that the defense is probably more stable in terms of depth right now than the offense.
These depth charts won't be a very accurate portrayal of fall 2018, but it's what we have right now.
2018 Notre Dame Spring Depth Chart: Offense
|Miles Boykin||Alize Mack||Robert Hainsey||Josh Lugg||Sam Mustipher||Alex Bars||Tommy Kraemer||Chris Finke||Michael Young||Dexter Williams||Brandon Wimbush|
|Javon McKinley||Cole Kmet||Aaron Banks||Trevor Ruhland||Trevor Ruhland||Dillan Gibbons||Liam Eichenberg||Freddy Canteen||Chase Claypool||Tony Jones Jr.||Ian Book|
The offensive line is a work in progress. Brian Kelly said that they would move things around each day, but I think the first wave is almost always the most telling. I like Josh Lugg at LG more than him at RT at the moment since Tommy Kraemer got so much work there last season. Another way to think about it is that the Irish still return 4 starters - even after the loss of Mike McGlinchey and Quenton Nelson.
Brandon Wimbush was kind of named as the #1 quarterback, and even though I love some good hyperbole... I refuse to just say it at the moment. I'm a Brandon Wimbush supporter, but there is no way that anything is set in jello - let alone concrete.
As far as the backs and receivers go, I honestly believe that Dexter Williams will have every opportunity to be the top dog. I also think it will be more like Miles Boykin, Michael Young, and Chase Claypool as the main rotation at receiver. Tight Ends is a mess because of injuries and baseball (Cole Kmet), so Alize Mack is going to get a ton of reps to improve. I still love what Nic Weishar brings to the table.
2018 Notre Dame Spring Depth Chart: Defense
|Julian Love||Nick Coleman||Asmar Bilal||Daelin Hayes||Jonathan Bonner||Jerry Tillery||Jay Hayes||Drue Tranquill||Te'von Coney||Jordan Genmark Heath||Troy Pride Jr.|
|Nick Watkins||Alohi Gilman||Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah||Julian Okwara||Myron Tagovailola-Amosa||Kurt Hinish||Khalid Kareem||D.J. Morgan||Jonathan Jones||Nicco Fertitta||Shaun Crawford|
|Houston Griffith||Jamir Jones||Micah Dew-Treadway||Darnell Ewell||Ade Ogundeji||Devin Studstill||Donte Vaughn|
Many of us were under the assumption that if things didn't work out at ROVER for whomever takes over that role, Drue Tranquill could just move back. That isn't the case apparently, so Asmar Bilal and Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah will have to ball out.
The defensive line rotation is solid, and should improve after a vast improvement in 2017. There is also more quality depth here than at pretty much any position group on the team. What was a perceived "biggest weakness" in spring of 2017, has developed into one of the biggest strengths in spring of 2018.
The corners are pretty set, and Crawford will play the nickel again, but safety will continue to be a mystery - probably up until the after the Michigan game. The defensive backs could be moved around for need, but we would likely see that in August as opposed to March and April.
JERSEY NUMBER CHANGES
We already covered a couple of changes last week, but this is the full list so far:
- QB: Avery Davis #13 to #3
- RB: Tony Jones Jr. #34 to #6
- WR: Jafar Armstrong #25 to #8
- ROVER: DJ Morgan #32 to #15
- CB: Troy Pride Jr. #18 to #5
- S: Jordan Genmark Heath #13 to #2
- S: Alohi Gilman #12 to #11
Notre Dame have practice on Thursday (3/8) and then will take 12 days off for spring break. In the meantime, we have plenty to discuss and think about in terms of this roster moving forward. It's important to remember that so much of what goes on during the spring is unseen by anyone (including the media). Coming up with snap judgements is fine, but forming any type of manifesto about the team in the fall from what is here in the spring is a bit crazy. Even the spring game is fairly useless in that regards. This is the time to get sneak peeks on individual improvements, and recognizing holes.