The Notre Dame Fighting Irish had their first full open practice this spring, but before I can get in to all of that (or at least some of it) there are some “spring cleaning” items we need to talk about.
BACK WITH THE TEAM
Shortly after we found out that Javon McKinley was arrested this winter, it was announced that while he was still enrolled at the university, he was not on the football team. These sort of “indefinite suspensions” are common enough for us to know that there is a definite end one they get through the details. What’s important here, is that McKinley has had ZERO issues like this at Notre Dame whether it be off the field or in the classroom.
McKinley was with Brian Kelly on the sidelines today for about 30 minutes, and the two talked. While we can only guess at what they were saying, I’m positive it was a conversation full of “traits” talk.
This is an important spring for McKinley. He has continually lost ground on the depth chart over the last few years, and unless he really starts lighting it up in practice — there may not be many minutes for him this fall. I believe he is on track to graduate by at least this summer, so if he does feel like a change of scenery is best for him, he can leave with his degree as a grad transfer. He would then have 2 years of eligibility remaining.
The linebacker competition this spring is probably the most interesting, and certainly the one that is the most wide open. One of those linebackers is Drew White. The rising junior is in the mix at the MIKE this spring, but more importantly perhaps, was that he was the name that was called to stop the option against Navy when Drue Tranquill was hurt. Kind of a Greer Martini in training.
That progress will be hampered a bit as White will have surgery to repair a separation of an AC joint. He will be out for the next 4 months, which puts him in the “ready” category for fall. Even though Clark Lea said the linebacker depth chart would not come together before then, White is missing some very valuable reps to help his cause and his playing time.