The Notre Dame Fighting Irish finally had their first practice of the spring on Saturday morning. With it being the the first practice and no contact, there isn’t a whole lot to take away from on the field play — but the lineups tell a different tale.
ANOTHER SECONDARY MOVE
As was reported earlier, Devin Studstill has put his name into the transfer portal and will look for a new school to play for in his final year of eligibility. His departure allows the Irish to move D.J. Brown around a little bit, and he will cross-train at cornerback and at safety.
CENTER OF ATTENTION
In what was probably the biggest news of the day, Jarrett Patterson has moved from left tackle to center — and it’s a long term move for the Irish. Brian Kelly all but crowned Patterson as the starting center for the Irish in 2019. Both Luke Jones and Trevor Ruhland were held out of practice because of injuries, but Kelly stated that Patterson is still their guy at center. Ruhland will be what he has been for much of his career at Notre Dame; a utility player at guard and at center.
Patterson’s move does cause some questions to appear about who will be backing up Liam Eichenberg at left tackle. Perhaps that’s a move for Josh Lugg — but we are getting ahead of ourselves here.
There are a few things of note with the linebacker group from Saturday:
- Drew White was with the first team at MIKE
- Shayne Simon was with the first team at ROVER
- Asmar Bilal was with the first team at BUCK
Kelly stated that there would be some rotation at linebacker, but cryptically... should we be examining Kelly’s lack of mentions towards Bilal? I’m not sure.
Chase Claypool is moving over to Miles Boykin’s vacant WR position, but we are all still wondering about who will step up into the role on the opposite side. The three biggest names are Kevin Austin, Michael Young, and Braden Lenzy. Most likely this is a battle between Young and Austin.
The nice thing is that both Young and Lenzy have got bigger and stronger during the offseason. Lenzy is up 14 pounds to 184, and Young is up another 5 to 190. It’s all good weight according to Kelly, and they both retain their speed.
Those big shoes that need filled — they just got bigger on Saturday.
Notre Dame won’t practice again until Tuesday. The next time the media can watch practice, it will be an OPEN practice. That will come during practice #5 on March 21.