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Spring Practice: Day One report

Mar 22, 2012, 2:27 AM EDT

Everett Golson

Courtesy of our friends over at, Jack Nolan — fresh off taking Scott Martin’s best shot — brings us the first practice report from South Bend, when the Irish took to the field early Wednesday morning to kick off spring practice.

Since these are the best practice videos we’ll get all spring, consider this the way-too-in-depth breakdown of the tape:

  • 0:40 — Not only does Davaris Daniels look quick off the blocks, but that’s nice work from converted quarterback Luke Massa, who seems to fit in nicely at wideout.
  • 1:15 — Battle of the quarterback dump-off throws goes to Everett Golson. Runner-up goes to Andrew Hendrix, who looks just a shade better than Tommy Rees, while Gunner Kiel looks a little raw. (Scientific polling, obviously…)
  • 1:20 — Is that Brian Kelly teaching quarterbacks or Dizzy Dean. How about those front leg mechanics?
  • 1:38 — Begin drooling over the smoothness of Everett Golson.
  • 1:59 — Nice catch, Luke Massa.
  • 2:20 — TJ Jones with a step on Lo Wood deep.
  • 2:25 — Nice coverage by Josh Atkinson on Daniel Smith.
  • 2:33 — I don’t care if it’s against a walk-on wide receiver, that’s pretty nice athleticism by running back-turned-cornerback Cam McDaniel. Great hips and nice work turning his head and going up to get the football.
  • 2:47 — Nick Martin: That’s some filthy hair. Well done.
  • 3:05 — Might be time for a nickname: Harry “Hot Feet” Hiestand.
Feel free to add anything I might have missed.
  1. brendanunderscoreg - Mar 22, 2012 at 7:04 AM

    I watched the Lo Wood coverage and the first image to come to mind was USC’s Robert Woods. Let’s hope this turns out to be the most dominant D-line in ND’s history.

    • ctfivula - Mar 22, 2012 at 8:53 AM

      I want to stay positive cause it’s only the first day of spring practice, but I have to agree with you.It looks like they will play a lot of zone coverage this year and hope to get to the qb real fast.

  2. ndgoldandblue - Mar 22, 2012 at 9:25 AM

    Are my eyes playing tricks on me, or has Tommy buffed up a bit? Those arms look bigger. Let’s hope it translates to more arm strength throwing the football.

    • jerseyshorendfan1 - Mar 22, 2012 at 2:10 PM

      With any luck, he’ll only be using those guns to signal in plays.

  3. 04domergrad - Mar 22, 2012 at 10:06 AM

    I don’t know about you guys, but man it gets my blood flowing to see the blue and gold in action again. First day of spring practice, i love it. It’s’s great to have the Irish back in action so we can read about things other than decommitments, de-enrollments, and injuries. Is is September yet???

  4. dmac4real - Mar 22, 2012 at 11:04 AM

    Everett Golson. Thats what I took from the short clip. Please let him be the QB on the field in Dublin/ next 4 years.

  5. nudeman - Mar 22, 2012 at 11:20 AM

    Here’s what I took from the clip: Nothing
    Nice to see them, and all
    But what can anyone conclude from a 7 on 7 no pad drill?
    I think TR went 9-9 for 236 yards, and looks no more buff than normal
    In fact I wanted to yell “Stop throwing my paper on the wet front lawn”

    Just sayin’ …
    Hope that doesn’t get me reprimanded here
    But I will get the ball rolling and give myself the first thumbs down

    • andy44teg - Mar 22, 2012 at 12:15 PM

      HAHA…he DOES look like the paperboy. I think if he grew a goatee or something it would go a long way in helping him not look 15.

    • Keith Arnold - Mar 22, 2012 at 1:31 PM

      Nude — Life is too short man. If you can’t get a little excited about the first day of spring practice, you might need to take a walk or two around the block, or step away from the computer.

      Don’t start dragging me and everyone else down, too.

      Hope you all realized that the comments on the video were supposed to be taken with a bit of humor, as you obviously aren’t going to get anything life-changing out of the 2 minutes in helmets.

      • nudeman - Mar 22, 2012 at 1:46 PM

        Totally tongue in cheek on my part.
        And in fact I busted myself by giving the initial thumbs down

        I’m as happy as everyone else to see the footage and read the stories
        And the paperboy comment was in response to someone else raising the issue

      • don74 - Mar 23, 2012 at 1:29 PM

        My bad. I was tweaking Nude re the paperboy. Last year when Nude wasn’t behind TR and there was what seemed an auto response post, Tommy is 8-1 as a starter, to anything Nude wrote. Somewhere there was an off reference to him looking like the paperboy (no knock as he enrolled at 17 and played in the second game). I was reminding Nude and commenting that the kid is growing up. Will he be the guy. Most likely no. Will he look like Brady Quinnn or DC in a tight jersey, no again. He looks sturdier than before and regardless of what we think there’s no counting him out.

      • nudeman - Mar 23, 2012 at 1:34 PM

        The paperboy comment actually originated with Brian Kelly. He was describing his QBs and said “Tommy looks like the paperboy”

        I bet he’s heard a lot of teasing in the locker room over that one.

        BTW Don, am I still estopped from discussing Tommy?

      • don74 - Mar 23, 2012 at 5:30 PM

        You’ve been doing great so consider it over. TR has enough competition comments about him won’t become excessive. I think you are correct with Brian Kelly talking paperboy before any one else.

    • dickasman - Mar 22, 2012 at 6:34 PM

      I gave you a two thumbs up and a BOINNNNGGGG! I mean the plane of course.

  6. nudeman - Mar 22, 2012 at 2:23 PM

    Just listened to the Irish Illust podcast with Sampson and Prister. They BOTH said that they are LESS sure about Golson winning the job than 30 days ago.

    Mastery over the offense and leadership were mentioned as concerns.

    Also said that there is a strong feeling that Kelly knows he needs to “turn the page” (at QB) to get ND to the next level, even if it means sacrificing a little bit of experience at the position.

    Might be a good time to buy stock in Hendrix. No real mention of Kiel in the conversation about who will win the job.

    • bernhtp - Mar 22, 2012 at 3:14 PM

      I haven’t listed to the podcast, but this comports with what I have heard (since early winter) from back channels. Everett is a great athlete, but his command of the offense (and possibly intellect, more generally) does not get the respect of other players. Even Hendrix, despite his pre-med smarts, struggles there as well, which is why TR continued in the position. I don’t know how much of Everett’s poor prep was due to his academic struggles and the need to focus his efforts there instead of reading the playbook and studying film, but I hope he figures out how to run the ND offense.

      With that said, Kelly will need to bring Hendrix or Golson (or Kiel) up to speed in the ensuing months because he (and everyone else) knows that TR won’t get us to the promised land regardless of where he stack-ranks today.

      • nudeman - Mar 22, 2012 at 4:19 PM

        EG could probably be a great slot guy or even RB. But those aren’t positions of need.

        If he doesn’t win the job, I expect BK to have the proverbial “package” for him of a wildcat nature. And he’d be more dangerous than Hendrix was in that role.

      • bernhtp - Mar 23, 2012 at 9:34 AM

        Everett is the one QB on the roster I think we could lose to transfer if he doesn’t make the two-deep. He initially wanted to play basketball too, but academic struggles have pretty much killed that. I doubt he would be satisfied with a position other than QB.

        TR is a junior and the consummate competitor who has repeatedly been given unexpected opportunities; he isn’t leaving. AH is pre-med and has seen the field some; he isn’t leaving. Kiel is new and will give it some time. Golson is the one vulnerability assuming he does not emerge at/near the top.

      • nudeman - Mar 23, 2012 at 10:05 AM

        Agree there. But here’s another way to think of it: If he can’t make the 2 deep NOW, will he ever? This is the prime oppty for him to step up and grab the thing and excel. With Kiel looming in the background, the timing for EG might never be better.

        So in other words, if he can’t get the job now, maybe he just isn’t as good as we think.

      • bernhtp - Mar 24, 2012 at 8:38 AM

        Nude: I totally agree that this is the best shot for Everett (and Andrew). It won’t get better for them next year. Kiel will be developed and who knows what hot shot might be recruited next year.

    • ndfanwabashman - Mar 22, 2012 at 10:29 PM

      Sounds a lot like what Mike Mayock said about Cam Newton coming out of the draft last year.

      Dayne Crist and Ty Willingham were great leaders…

  7. 1historian - Mar 22, 2012 at 3:01 PM

    Will they ever start selling those striped shirts online? They are much more whatever than the non-striped ones and if memory serves they used to be game day shirts way back in the olden times.

    • borromini - Mar 22, 2012 at 4:01 PM

      Those Adidas shoulder stripes were never actual game jerseys. I’m sure it’s archived somewhere, but there’s a good comprehensive article on the design of ND’s uniforms from the Era of Ara through Kelly’s 1st season over on One Foot Down. There were sleeve multi-stripes used during certain Faust years and there were the single-wide pipes on the sides of the road jersey mid-section during the Willingham regime…

      …but nothing remotely close to the Adidas design.

      Personally, I prefer they stay as practice jerseys. This is a great case of “Less is More”. :-)

  8. bernhtp - Mar 22, 2012 at 5:10 PM

    I was impressed by Cam McDaniel in his first day out as CB. Hell, he even turned his head – imagine that – and got the interception. Wish we had him on the Michigan field last year.

  9. degosavage23 - Mar 22, 2012 at 8:22 PM

    I know it’s only the first day of spring practice, but the thing that impresses me about the film (in short glimpses anyways) is how fluid Golson is. Granted it’s only about ten seconds worth of him in that whole video, but he just seems to be so much more loose than the other guys. To kind of bring into perspective what Nude said about leadership being a concern, I think to be a good leader you have to have a swagger about you, and I think Golson has that. Being loose and laid back on the field shows poise and composure and that he won’t get rattled. That swagger to me is directly correlated to good leadership. Good leaders just have that. I’m not saying there’s nothing more to being a leader than that because obviously there is, but I definitely think that it’s important. Like I said, it’s early so things could change, but that “looseness” just seems to be part of Golson’s demeanor.

    • nudeman - Mar 22, 2012 at 9:29 PM

      Hope you’re right.
      But I wonder about this offensive scheme if, after 1.5 years, a guy like Hendrix who’s a pre-med major STILL doesn’t have it down. Maybe he’s only classroom smart, or maybe the offense is too damn complicated.

      Other point is if they could trim the offense down for TR last year and 2010, then they could certainly do the same for EG. I’d take an offense led by EG or AH that only uses 20% of the playbook over one led by TR that uses 70%.

      • jerseyshorendfan1 - Mar 22, 2012 at 9:38 PM

        It ain’t effin rocket science is it? How can DRob come in as a soph and shred our D? He must be a closet genius.

  10. degosavage23 - Mar 22, 2012 at 9:52 PM

    I can definitely see where you’re coming from Nude. The spread is by far the most complicated offense around, period–NFL, college, high school, makes no difference. Part of me thinks you may be right that the offense is possibly too complicated. The spread has, in my opinion, WAY too many downfield pass plays and it’s just unnecessary because many of the plays are so similar (alot of streaks for outside guys, slots and tight ends post in or corner out often, while a lot of the short passing plays consist of alot of slants). To me, the best offense at any level–especially this team with the inability of Rees to get the ball downfield and the inexperience of the rest of the quarterbacks–is a pro-style. Say what you want about Weis, but he had this part right. Not the best playcaller, but the right offense. Look at all the SEC teams that succeed. EVERY one of them runs a pro-style offense. But, Kelly runs a spread, which is fine with me if that’s what you know, but you gotta have the right guy to run it, and Rees is CERTAINLY not. And jerseyshorendfan1, the reason Denard Robinson can come in and shred up our D has nothing to do with his knowledge of the offense, but the fact he is the perfect fit for the spread–he runs fantastically, and has the arm strength to get the ball downfield. Granted he underthrew a lot of receivers, but I think that’s an accuracy issue for him, not arm strength.

    • turknd - Mar 22, 2012 at 10:25 PM

      I agree w/ the run part, but accuracy downfield on multiple under thrown passes, not sure. He did shred our D, as well as many other teams. BK has had success in the past w/ the spread, but had a QB that came in flat the 1st half of the FIRT game, and while you can make the case that Crist (correct spelling Nude?) might have recovered in the 2nd half (we’ll never know), TR came in and at least the offense looked more energized and motivated. Put yourself in BK’s position in the first game and getting beat, aLOT of pressure and felt something had to be done. I think we can agree that TR is not cut out for the spead. Having said that how many reps did AH or Golson have behind DC and TR. I’m hoping AH or EG will get to the point of it being 2nd nature by the fall.

    • jerseyshorendfan1 - Mar 23, 2012 at 2:03 AM

      Maybe I’m just slow but I don’t follow your logic dego. People here are stating that the spread offense is soooo complicated that Hendrix, a pre-med student, can’t grasp it all and they have expressed the same reservations about Golson. Yet you say that DRob’s performance had nothing to do with his knowledge of the offense but he was the perfect fit for the spread. Isn’t Golson the prototypical spread type QB? Using your logic why then wouldn’t he also excel if it has nothing to do with knowledge of the offense? I happen to agree in that I think that whole idea of the complexity of the system is a bit overblown. It is football after all, not rocket science. There are only so many places to throw to and so many directions to run in. These guys have been playing for years already and this stuff, even though it might be called something different by BK, can’t be all Chinese to them. Not to minimize what a QB has to know (I know there are blocking schemes, zone reads, hot reads, routes, etc) but if Golson and Hendrix don’t have it by now, Kelly better just rip the playbook in half and simplify.

      • nudeman - Mar 23, 2012 at 10:01 AM

        There are blocking shcemes, hot reads, zone reads – all of that, as I understand it.

        Hendrix lacks confidence in my opinion and plays too physically to last an entire season. He never shies away from trying to run over a LB. Love the guts, don’t like the judgment.

        The comparison to D Rob is a fair one here. I think he’s closer to Golson in size and probably running style as well. Maybe he’s far ahead of EG in intellect; we don’t know. But I’m inclined to say if DR can run Hoke’s offense and run it well. then Golson should be able to run BK’s.

      • don74 - Mar 23, 2012 at 11:00 AM

        Gotta agree with the man from the shore. By the way, the weather here on the east coast might be better than home in AZ. Beach season pre Easter? At any rate if ND runs a spread that’s part of the Chip Kelly, RichRod and fill in the blanks family where is a guy like EG goin got transfer and start? If you want to make the claim that going to class and maintaining a GPA that allows him to participate is harder at ND than other places (save Stanford or Vandy) I am with you. If you want to say time spent in the class room could be devoted to FB, I get it. But if he doesn’t get the offense here where will he get the offense? You can’t tell me ND’s O is more complex than Oregon.

        Spring Ball is going to narrow the QB comp to 2 or 3. Nothing more than that. Fall will decide who plays. My guess is BK wants 4 guys to get equal reps with the first team. The coaches are looking for something that we will never see. And let’s be real, the guy that wins needs to be respected by the other 10 in the huddle. Any one writing EG off after watching 30 mins of day one practice will next be selling me a bridge from Manhattan to Brooklyn.

      • nudeman - Mar 23, 2012 at 11:35 AM

        They gotta’ find a way to get Golson on the field, preferably taking snaps.
        By all accounts this kid is too good of an athlete to permanently hold a clipboard.

        Don, I don’t think anyone concluded that about Golson after 10 min of tape; rather it’s one of those things swirling around out there in the ether. True or not, we don’t know.

        I’ve seen and heard Golson speak and he’s no dummy. He’s also something of a savant playing keyboards. I know neither of those things make him able to ace calculus or consistently make the right reads and calls at the line, but again … we’re not talking about Leon Spinks or Joe the Plumber here. The kid has some gray matter.

      • irishbornraised - Mar 24, 2012 at 7:22 PM

        Nude, if ND took Golson even though he’s DUMBER than denard “can’t tie his shoes” robinson, I might have to stop being a fan, hope this doesn’t get flagged, I’m just saying that Denard is the exact opposite of your prototypical ND man

  11. degosavage23 - Mar 23, 2012 at 4:20 AM

    I’m not saying he wouldn’t excel I think Golson could be great honestly. The spread is complicated, but you’re right it’s not rocket science. Now, that being said, could BK’s version of the spread be more complex than Brady Hoke’s at Michigan? Not too sure, but it’s absolutely possible. But I do stand by what I said about DRob. Who knows how well he really grasps the offense, because from what I’ve seen from him for the most part, they call a play and if there’s an opening downfield, he throws it up there to his receiver. If not, he runs with it, plain and simple. To me that’s more common sense than anything. Maybe Hendrix is thinking too much on the field and it’s not really an issue with the playbook. Maybe he is too worried about hitting the first read that if it’s not there, he just panics and makes a bad throw. Either way, to me no matter how complex BK’s spread is, it should not be that difficult to manage the offense.

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