After a “once in a generation” type cold in South Bend, we look with great eagerness to the spring and the work that the Notre Dame Fighting Irish have ahead of them. That work almost always includes some roster movement — whether that be with attrition or with positional changes.
The roster looks a lot different in the spring than what they have in the fall for several reasons:
- Most of the freshmen haven’t arrived to help fill the holes needed in practice.
- There’s usually a few players still nursing injuries or recovering from offseason surgery.
So, to help alleviate an unbalanced roster, players change positions. Now, this isn’t merely an exercise in matching up for spring, these are in many ways a try-out for that position in the fall. Translation: Take any position change with a grain of salt.
On the latest Irish Illustrated Podcast, Tim Prister and Pete Sampson talked about some of these possible changes, and in most cases, hinted that this was indeed going to be the case — at least for spring.
DARNELL EWELL BACK TO DEFENSIVE TACKLE
The Irish are severely lacking numbers at defensive tackle this spring, and perhaps they still will be this fall because of injuries. Darnell Ewell, the former 4-Star recruit already made the change from DT to OL last fall, but he was never expected to do much because of those in front of him.
JOE WILKINS BACK TO CORNERBACK
Joe Wilkins was recruited as an athlete that could either help the Irish at wide receiver or at cornerback. The Florida native has awesome size for a cornerback, but the Irish put him at wide receiver last year. Because of Julian Love’s departure and the lack of many boundary corners on the roster, Wilkins would be an ideal candidate to compete there.
OVIE OGHOUFO TO DEFENSIVE END
Ovie Oghoufo was a celebrated practice player on the scout team for the Irish last year. He was recruited as an outside linebacker, but we could see the switch to defensive end in the drop position (Julian Okwara). If this is the case, it’s another example of Notre Dame recruiting a certain body type to grow beyond what they played in high school.
TROY PRIDE JR. TO BOUNDARY CORNERBACK
Troy Pride Jr. returns as the starter at the field cornerback from 2018, but because of the shallow pool of possible boundary corners, Pride will most likely be moved. Shaun Crawford is a NICKEL and TaRiq Bracy still isn’t physically ready to play the boundary.
ASMAR BILAL IS A BUCK
In the most unsurprising move of them all, it appears that Asmar Bilal will play at the BUCK linebacker position next year as he replaces Drue Tranquill. This move suggests to me that the ROVER will be a battle between Jordan Genmark Heath and Shayne Simon, while the MIKE will be Jonathan Jones vs Bo Bauer. I still think Genmark Heath could make an intriguing MIKE, but I wouldn’t bet on that move being made.
Spring is spring. There will be a lot of noise here and there, but as we always see, it’s sometimes just a whole lot of noise, and quickly forgotten about come Week 1.