Notre Dame vs. Nevada — 2nd half live blog

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5:37 — I couldn’t even finish my meal before having to type MISTER MICHAEL FLOYD. Friend of ITI, Bruce Feldman called Floyd the best offensive recruit since the Lou Holtz era, and I’m 100 percent behind that claim. (Although, I’m admittedly biased.)

5:40 — I was just thinking how I hope that the Nevada fans had a good time at the College Football Hall of Fame at least. Because the game on the football field is certainly leaving something to be desired.

5:43 — Correction: Clausen’s passer rating isn’t technically infinity, just 358.3. Very shoddy…

5:44 — Kyle McCarthy gets the first pick of the game. I’m booking a ticket to the National— Not going to say it just yet.

5:45 — In fairness: USC 35, St. Jose St. 3

5:48 — Shaq Evans makes an appearance. Also, here’s hoping James Aldridge is okay.

5:50 — 4th and 3 and we’re going for it. I like it.

5:51 — Oh well.

5:53 — Great stick by Kory Minor Gary Gray.

5:55 — 2nd & Goal, great time for a goal line stand. Smart time out by Ault and Kaepernick.

5:58 — HUGE!!! Option pitch hits the running backs hands, and Kapron Lewis-Moore recovers the fumble. KLM is gonna rock you.

5:59 — Great block by the left side of the O-Line, and a nice block downfield by Golden Tate as Armando Allen breaks free. He’s running very nicely. Maybe the added weight is helping.

6:00 — Holding. Argh.

6:01 — Just because: Mister Michael Floyd’s numbers: 4 catches, 189 yards, 3 TDs. Averaging only 47.3 yards per catch.

6:05 — Great play by Tate, although he’s going to be feeling that one.

6:07 — So now what do we talk about? How about holding onto the shutout? That’s be good.

6:08 — Our first Mike Anello sighting. Apparently you don’t get to hear about him when the team only punts twice. Maust looks rusty.

6:10 — Interesting debate on the Adidas eyeblack. Half the group here is adamantly opposed to putting a logo under your eyes. I’m okay with it. Mueller was the first to the party, and nobody made a stink about that.

6:12 — Manti Te’o jacks up his first man.

6:14 — MANTI TE’O jacks up ANOTHER dude. Great instinct on the middle screen.
 
6:15 — A John Ryan spotting on defense. Gotta love seeing #90 run late to the pile.

6:18 — Dayne Crist to Deion Walker. Second unit reps. I think all of us are very pleased.

6:20 — Theo Riddick gets some good air, making a nice run. If you’d have asked 100 Irish fans which freshman running back would’ve made an impact earlier, about 95 would have said Cierre Wood.

6:21 — Injury Updates: Alex Flanagan surmised that James Aldridge hurt his shoulder, since he couldn’t raise his arm over his head to get his shoulder pads back on.

Robby Paris limped off the field as well. Hopefully he’s okay.

6:23 — Duval Kamara, where are you? Weis mentioned that he was feeling good enough to play, but I haven’t noticed him on the field, and he doesn’t have a catch.

6:24 — Is it time to start talking about Michigan yet?

6:25 — Colin Kaepernick, thanks for coming. Final numbers: 12 of 23 for 149 yards. 0 TDs, 2 INTs. 10 carries for 39 yards. A+ job by the first string defense.

6:26 — Also excited to see guys like Zeke Matta, Ray Herring, Paddy Muillen, and Leonard Gordon getting some PT.

6:27 — ND hasn’t had a shutout since 2002 against Rutgers. If ND holds on, it’ll be the first one under Charlie Weis.

6:28 — Final stats for Jimmy Clausen: 15-18, 315 yards, 4 TDs 0 INTs.

6:29 — John Goodman gets a punt return. Jaws 2!!

6:31 — In case you missed it, Jay Leno has a new TV show.

6:32 — Robert Hughes gets a carry, after sitting out for the 1st half for an alleged “fight” against USC. (Everybody knows that ND didn’t fight in the USC game last year.) 

6:33 — Not that I’m encouraging you to watch anything but the ND game, but Oklahoma State just pulled ahead 24-10 against Georgia. Expect zero tough games in season openers for the next 20 years after that one for the entire conference.

6:25 — It’s over. Shutout win. 35-0.

6:26 — Unreal, the microphone picked up Nevada coach Chris Ault saying “I apologize” to Charlie Weis for not putting up a better fight.

6:27 — Weis talked shutout with Alex Flanagan. CW is doing a good job saying that he’s happy, but not acting happy. It’s officially time to start thinking about going to the Big House..

6:38 — Armando Allen stole the Leprechaun hat for the Alma Mater. Pretty funny.

6:40 — Signing off… Hope everyone enjoyed the game. I think every Notre Dame fan is much more confident now than they were four hours ago.

6:42 — Pat Haden said “Don’t drink the Kool-Aid yet.” Too late,” my buddy Bill just said. “I think I just drank three gallons today.”

6:44 — Enjoy the evening tonight, everybody. Great start to the season.

Restocking the roster: Running Backs

SOUTH BEND, IN - OCTOBER 17: Josh Adams #33 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish runs for a 26-yard gain against the USC Trojans in the first half of the game at Notre Dame Stadium on October 17, 2015 in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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Notre Dame’s running back depth chart was tested to its max less than 10 minutes into the season opener. The projected two-deep, Tarean Folston and Greg Bryant, were both lost for the year—Bryant out of school as an academic and disciplinary casualty by the start of fall camp and Folston because of a knee injury suffered on his third carry of the season.

Welcome back to Notre Dame, Autry Denson.

The school’s all-time leading rusher in his first season as a running back coach had to be feeling a little woozy. He had a converted wide receiver taking featured-back carries and a true freshman a little over a year removed from his own major knee injury serving as his primary backup.

That the Irish had their most prolific running season under Brian Kelly says quite a bit about the job that Denson did. It’s also a credit to the offensive line blocking, the adjusted scheme that also protected two new starting quarterbacks, and the talent that remained at the position.

Spring presents new challenges. Tarean Folston should be a little over seven months removed from ACL surgery, making him doubtful to do anything more than wear a red jersey. With C.J. Prosise‘s departure, Adams goes from record-setting rookie to spring starter, with Williams likely carrying a large load as well.

Tony Jones Jr. and Deon McIntosh arrive this summer, reinforcements on the way. But before we get there, let’s take a look at the pre-spring roster at running back.

 

DEPARTURES
C.J. Prosise (156 carries 1,032 yards, 11 TDs)
Greg Bryant (lost preseason 2015)

 

2015-16 ADDITIONS
Josh Adams (117 carries, 835 yards, 6 TDs)
Dexter Williams (21 carries, 81 yards, 3 TDs)
Tony Jones Jr.
Deon McIntosh 

 

PRE-SPRING DEPTH CHART
Tarean Folston,* Sr.
Josh Adams, Soph.
Dexter Williams, Soph.
Justin Brent,* Junior

*Additional year of eligibility remaining.

 

ANALYSIS: This might be a position battle deferred to fall camp, especially if Folston is still in recovery mode. At this point, it doesn’t make sense to rush back from an ACL tear for 15 practices, so while the rising senior may be chomping at the bit to return, it’s better to save it until August.

Folston will likely be the team’s most versatile back, but keeping Adams off the field will be a hard chore. His breakaway speed was on display multiple times in 2015, with his record-setting run against Wake Forest the team’s longest play from scrimmage. Adams also likely added some mass and physicality to his game in the offseason weigh-training program, giving the Irish someone capable of hitting the big play and also moving the sticks in short yardage situations.

The staff believes that Dexter Williams is a talented back, so with three solid contributors on the roster before Jones or McIntosh hit campus, it’ll be fun to see how snaps get sorted. (From that perspective, you can only wonder how they’d have dealt with the champagne problem of having Prosise around…) Justin Brent remains an option as well, though the attrition from the receiving corps makes you think he’ll be back at receiver.

The wildcard in all of this is Folston. He’s a unique talent with natural ability you just can’t teach. If he’s fully recovered and ready to engage in a position battle, there won’t likely be a drop off even with the early departure of Prosise.

 

Notre Dame gets 10 invites to NFL Scouting Combine

2013 NFL Combine
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Notre Dame will send ten former players to the NFL Scouting Combine. The annual event in Indianapolis serves as the unofficial apex of draft season, a meat-market where the best professional prospects are poked, prodded, questioned and tested in a variety of on- and off-field drills.

Heading to the festivities from Notre Dame are:

Chris Brown, WR
Sheldon Day, DT
Will Fuller, WR
Nick Martin, C
Romeo Okwara, DE
C.J. Prosise, RB
KeiVarae Russell, CB
Elijah Shumate, S
Jaylon Smith, OLB
Ronnie Stanley, OT

For a prospect like Smith, it’ll be teams first opportunity to talk to the elite prospect and check his progress medically as he returns from a Fiesta Bowl knee injury. Russell will also be a non-participant in physical drills, waiting until Notre Dame’s Pro Day to go through testing.

Invites to Chris Brown, Romeo Okwara and Elijah Shumate are crucial in finding their way into the draft, as the three former Irish starters participated in the Shrine Bowl, where scouts had an early look at them. Likewise, Nick Martin and Sheldon Day continue their ascent, both coming off strong Senior Bowl weeks.

For Irish fans, it’ll be fun to watch early-enrollees Fuller and Prosise test. Both are expected to be some of the fastest players at their position. Brown may also have the ability to surprise teams, with his track background and leaping ability capable of earning him an extended look. Offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley will look to impress as well, hoping to check out as one of the draft’s most impressive athletes at offensive tackle.

Ohio State led all schools with 14 invites. National Champion Alabama had nine former players invited.

 

WR Corey Robinson named Notre Dame student body president

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On Wednesday, wide receiver Corey Robinson added another impressive title to his resume as a student-athlete at Notre Dame: Student Body President.

The junior, paired with classmate Becca Blais as his vice presidential running mate, won a majority of the votes cast by his fellow students, a runaway winner with 59.4% of the votes, nearly triple the next highest vote getter.

Robinson posted the following on Twitter, thankful for the opportunity to serve his fellow students:

Robinson’s time at Notre Dame has been filled with accomplishments both on and off the field. He was named an Academic All-American as a sophomore. He’s a six-time Dean’s List member in the prestigious Program of Liberal Studies and is also pursuing a sustainability minor. He’s won the team’s Rockne Student-Athlete Award as well.

That’s quite a bit on the plate of Notre Dame’s lone senior wide receiver. But as you might expect, Robinson is well prepared for the next challenge ahead.

“I’ve planned ahead, gotten all of my hard work out of the way this semester, and I’m finishing up my senior thesis,” Robinson told The Observer. “I’m doing all the hard stuff now so in the fall and the spring, I just have to take two classes pretty much.”

Robinson’s other contributions as a student-athlete at Notre Dame include One Shirt one Body, an opportunity for college athletes to donate their athletic apparel to local communities. Robinson has presented the plan to the ACC as well as the NCAA, earning immediate support from both organizations.

 

Mailbag: Now Open (scheduling input requested)

UNIVERSAL CITY, CA - JUNE 01:  Actors Mike Myers (L) and Dana Carvey as Wayne and Garth from "Wayne's World" onstage during the 17th annual MTV Movie Awards held at the Gibson Amphitheatre on June 1, 2008 in Universal City, California.  (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
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Okay folks, we’ve had enough semi-positive encouragement to keep the video mailbag going for another week. With that said, I’ll need some reader participation to keep this thing rolling on.

As always, submit your questions below or on Twitter @KeithArnold. You can also ask your questions live via Facebook. You’ll need to LIKE THIS PAGE first, and then at the appropriate time, head on over to watch and participate.

To that point, let’s pick a time that works for everyone. Right now, here are the options that work at Inside the Irish HQ.  Weigh in and the best time wins. (How’s that for a democracy?)

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