The Notre Dame Fighting Irish had their sixth day of fall camp practice on Thursday. The Irish took a day off on Wednesday, but got back to the serious work of a college football team in search of a playoff berth.
Perhaps the biggest question (no it IS the biggest) is how Brandon Wimbush is progressing. Without a doubt, he is the starting quarterback for the Irish, but we all wait with eager anticipation to see what kind of improvement he has made since last year.
Brian Kelly had this to say about Brandon Wimbush:
“GUNS WERE BLAZING TODAY”
By most accounts Wimbush had a really good day. He threw around 150 balls, so of course he would have a bad throw here and there — but mostly it was another good day for Brandon. Equally important was the way Ian Book played today; which was also met with high praise (especially running the read-option).
WHO IS RUNNING WHERE?
Notre Dame is also in search of help at the running back position. The Dexter Williams situation has caused concern for the first four games of the season — especially against the Michigan Wolverines.
Tony Jones Jr. is the lead back right now, and he looks to have a little more burst and speed than last season. The other two backs that got the work were Avery Davis and Jafar Armstrong. With Jafar, he is a physical specimen and Notre Dame is looking to use him in multiple roles at running back and in the slot. The staff really likes what Armstrong is doing right now, and figures to be a big part of the offense. Davis has bulked up a bit since the spring and looks more natural at running back.
Both freshman Jahmir Smith and C’Bo Flemister were hanging with the injured kids today and saw no reps. Flemister wasn’t in pads.
Clearly to anyone with eyes, Dexter Williams is the most dynamic ball carrier the Irish have on the team. Getting through the first 4 games is paramount right now.
A SAFE CALL
Pretty much everyone was slotting Houston Griffith as the future starting safety at some point this year. Things have seemed to change a bit as Nick Coleman is running with the first team, and Kelly said that Coleman has been more than excellent during camp. He was out there calling the defensive coverages and being a leader in the secondary.
It’s a big leap for Nick, but one that Brian Kelly said they were hopeful for in terms of his progress.
CATCH ME IF YOU CAN
Notre Dame’s wide receivers are showing up and playing well right now in camp. Chase Claypool has a better grasp of what’s expected of him and Miles Boykin continues his meteoric rise after his Citrus Bowl performance. Throw in freshmen Kevin Austin and Lawrence Keys III as a couple more hungry kids that are raising eyebrows and you have to be excited about what Notre Dame has here, and the mismatches they can create.
[Insert Chris Finke playing well comment because that’s what Chris Finke does]
It was also nice to see Alizé Mack performing well and getting a nod from the observers. While I haven’t been very high on what Mack will eventually do in 2018, I would LOVE to be wrong here.
DEPTH AT END
There was a bit of a battle brewing between Julian Okwara and Daelin Hayes at the drop end. Okwara was running with the ones with Khalid Kareem on the other side. Adetokunbo Ogundeji got high praise though with Kelly saying “he’s a thrasher and relentless.”
For a program that has usually struggled to put out two quality defensive ends on the field, Notre Dame is looking at four guys that can help them quite a bit and make plays around the ball and in the backfield.
EVERYTHING IS GRAVY
Because not everything is ever known about what happens at camp, we should never take some bad news as the end of the world — just as good news shouldn’t be the precursor for a national title run with a Heisman winner. Things seem to be moving in the right direction for the team as a whole, and that’s about all we should digest. They’re working and getting better, and we will continue to monitor the situation and the team.