The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have six spring practices in the books with eight more to go before the annual Blue-Gold Game. That means we are “almost” halfway there, so take my hand and let’s talk about the few things that we kind of know right now.
Interviews are plentiful, but practice viewing is pretty light. One full practice has been available to the media, and that felt a little underwhelming for the most part.
We’re keeping this as basic as ND’s media availability.
The fake QB competition was given a jolt due to the full practice viewing, and Tyler Buchner getting the first team reps over Sam Hartman. Hartman struggled a bit as pressure from the defensive line was constant. There’s still no reason to think Hartman won’t be the starting QB in 2023, as he has impressed everyone.
I just want to say... I’m super excited Buchner does get this opportunity to compete as Notre Dame will still need a QB to start in 2024 and 2025 — and a developed Buchner could be magic.
Logan Diggs is hurt and Jadarian Price is still recovering from his surgery. I’ve heard some good things about Gi’Bran Payne, but mostly the focus is on Audric Estime’s reshaped body and how insanely good he looks running the ball.
I’m very disappointed that Kaleb Smith the Elder hasn’t put himself in better position to be a contributor — because right now he feels like a player that will struggle to see the field, and that’s not what you’re trying to get out of the transfer portal.
Deion Colzie, Tobias Merriweather, Jayden Thomas, and Lorenzo Styles have all improved in one way or another, and I expect that to be Notre Dame’s best four (regardless of boundary, field, or slot). Chris Tyree still has to get a lot better at route running, but that’s something can definitely improve quite a bit between now and August with some work.
As far as the freshmen are concerned... it feels like Rico Flores has been the one that has stepped up the most, and could see significant playing time in 2023.
Eli Raridon and Kevin Bauman are recovering from injuries this spring and that leaves it to Mitchell Evans, Holden Staes, and Davis Sherwood to be the group that puts in most of the reps. Evans has impressed people with his athleticism while Staes has impressed people with his strength. I really do love what Mitchell Evans brings to the table, but I kind of feel like we are all waiting to see how healthy Raridon is this summer — because he might be something special.
Joe Alt is from another planet. Blake Fisher has slimmed down his body, and the weight loss might make him a dominant player in 2023. Zeke Correll had a better-than-expected 2022, and looks to continue his rise at center — and then there are the guards.
While Michael Carmody started as a “1st team guard” on day one, he’s now nursing an injury and Billy Schrauth is filling in with Andrew Kristofic on the other side. My personal belief is that it will be Schrauth and Kristofic that eventually win the starting jobs open at both guard positions. The wildcard could be Pat Coogan when it’s all ready to go in the fall.
Coach @GinoGuidugli was mic’d up today and he brought the heat #GoIrish☘️ pic.twitter.com/lpr8Z7fhB8— Notre Dame Football (@NDFootball) March 31, 2023
Some brief thoughts on the defense later today... EXCITING!