John Goodman

Practice Report: Day Eight update

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The Irish were back outside today, with the wind whipping through South Bend. But it allowed the Irish to get some work done outside the cramped confines of Loftus and allowed the UND.com video crew to pump out another enjoyable practice report. Just over half-way done with the spring work, we’re starting to get a look at how this offense will evolve, with a heavy emphasis put on running the ball and using the tight end, as different wide receivers do their best to state their case for touches.

Brian Kelly has publicly praised fifth-year wideout John Goodman. Whether it’s a sign that the lightbulb has gone on for Goodman, long one of the Irish’s most talented practice players, remains to be seen. Last spring, Kelly commented on the breakthroughs of wide receiver Deion Walker, but that didn’t result in the departing senior making a dent in the offensive.

As usual, here are a few things I noticed while watching and re-watching the practice footage.

  • 0:15 — Looked like another one of those typical windy spring days in South Bend. It didn’t stop Jack Nolan from braving the elements, though that jacket looks dangerously familiar to the one he wore last update? Say it ain’t so, Jack.
  • 0:26 — Blink and you probably missed him, but that was former Irish wide receiver David Grimes taking the field behind Brian Kelly. Grimes is working with the football program as a defensive intern.
  • 0:33 — Andrew Hendrix showing some mobility, as he picks his way through the Irish defense on a designed run.
  • 0:42 — Tommy Rees showing his mobility as well, running (for his life) as Aaron Lynch and Stephon Tuitt chase him.
  • 0:52 — That’s our Amir Carlisle spotting for the day.
  • 1:25 — A nice look at some running back protection drills, with linebackers going one-on-one with the first group of backs.
  • 1:26 — Nice rush move, Carlo Calabrese (#44).
  • 1:30 — Uh-oh, George Atkinson (#4). Jarrett Grace (#59) made you look pretty silly there. Pass protection is a process, and it looks like George is in the middle of learning that process now.
  • 1:45 — Nice job Theo Riddick (#6) on Kendall Moore (#8).
  • 1:50 — And that’s Cierre Wood (#20) absolutely stuffing Joe Schmidt (#38). For those who think Atkinson is doomed as a blocker, Cierre is proof that it’s a developed skill.
  • 2:00 — Manti Te’o vs. Atkinson. Not all that fair of a fight.
  • 2:10 — Nice look at Ben Councell (#30). Atkinson is a big kid. Councell looks mammoth.
  • 2:30 — Gotta do a better job than that, Jalen Brown (#21). Covering John Goodman (#81), Brown struggled to stay in the camera’s frame.
  • 2:37 — Tyler Eifert (#80) looks pretty smooth running patterns detached from the formation. The Irish could do a lot worse than playing Eifert as a jumbo receiver.
  • 2:55 — That’s Gunner Kiel (#1) delivering a nice throw to Daniel Smith (#87) in one-on-ones. Josh Atkinson (#43) looked a little soft in coverage, which is to be expected in these kind of drills.
  • 3:24 — That’s Calabrese playing the role of USF linebacker in everybody’s favorite nightmare, stripping Atkinson during goal line running drills and taking it back to the house.
  • 3:42 — An artistic look inside the soul of Manti Te’o. Who says the guys at UND.com aren’t auteurs?
  • 4:14 — Calabrese drops the hammer. Nice collision.
  • 4:30 — Danny McCarthy (#15) looks the part of an athletic safety. Let’s see if he’ll play it this year.
  • 4:40 — Cierre Wood’s swagger is in midseason form.
  • 4:55 — Alex Welch (#82) takes advantage of the size mismatch with Chris Salvi (#24). If you’re looking for a reason to keep two TEs on the field, here’s one of them.
  • 5:09 — Decisions like that aren’t going to win you a quarterback job, Andrew Hendrix. Looked more like Lo Wood (#23) was the receiver than Luke Massa (#14).
  • 5:15 — Heckuva throw by Everett Golson (#5) launching a deep ball to Goodman, who makes the catch over Wood. Maybe all Goodman needed was some hack blogger to take a shot at him for fumbling in a scrimmage. (The flip-side of that being Wood’s coverage on the deep ball isn’t all that awe-inspiring.)
  • 5:25 — Two nice plays on defense by the cornerbacks. First Bennett Jackson (#2) and then Wood.
  • 5:40 — If TJ Jones (#7) could streak behind defensive backs next season, that’d be a wonderful addition to the Irish offensive attack.
  • 5:46 — Want to see Bruce Heggie (#51) on rollerskates? Thank Kapron Lewis-Moore (#89).
  • 5:53 — This footage is from before Prince Shembo was put in a boot, but he flies around the edge and Jordan Prestwood (#79). Then Zack Martin (#70) shows Prestwood how to do it. I’m not sure, but we might be looking at ND’s next starting NFL left tackle.
  • 6:19 — Nice job of Tate Nichols (#64) hanging in there with Aaron Lynch (#19). Not an easy one-on-one assignment for anybody.
  • 6:27 — That’s Nick Martin (#72) standing up Ishaq Williams (#11). Looks like the Irish got another good one.
  • 6:33 — There’s a nice little burst in KLM’s step there. Looks pretty healthy after knee surgery.
  • 6:40 — Nice couple reps there by Tyler Stockton (#92) and Sheldon Day (#91).
  • 7:04 — Another nice grab by Goodman, snaring a bullet from Hendrix on a square in.
  • 7:25 — Looks like Robby Toma needs to tell Councell he’s trying to get some RB snaps. Councell knifes through and makes a very nice play.
  • 7:40 — Gunner Kiel to John Goodman long… Goodman channeling his inner Jonas Gray.

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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

Notre Dame v Florida State
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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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Restocking the roster: Offensive Line

Notre Dame offensive line
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When Notre Dame takes the field this spring, there’ll be two very large holes in the offensive line that need filling. All-American left tackle Ronnie Stanley is gone. As is captain Nick Martin at center. Both three-year starters leave Harry Hiestand with some big decisions to make in the coming months as the Irish look to fill those key positions and still field a unit with the ability to dominate in the trenches.

The Irish have had incredible stability at left tackle, with Stanley sliding in seamlessly after four seasons of Zack Martin. Perhaps the best six-year run in the program’s storied history at the position, Stanley will likely join Martin as a first-rounder, back-to-back starters at a key spot that often dictates the play of one of the most important units on the field.

Replacing Nick Martin could prove equally tricky. Rising junior Sam Mustipher served as Martin’s backup in 2015, filing in capably for Martin after an ankle sprain took him off the field briefly against UMass. But Mustipher will face a challenge this spring from rising sophomore Tristen Hoge, the first true center recruited by Hiestand and Brian Kelly since they arrived in South Bend.

Kelly talked about 2017 being a big cycle on the recruiting trail for restocking the offensive line. You can see why when you look at the depth, particularly at tackle. Let’s look at the work that’s been done the previous two classes as Notre Dame continues to be one of the premier programs recruiting in the trenches.

 

DEPARTURES
Ronnie Stanley
, Sr. (39 starts)
Nick Martin, Grad Student (37 starts)

2015-16 ADDITIONS
Tristen Hoge
, C
Trevor Ruhland
, G
Jerry Tillery
, T
Parker Boudreaux
, G
Tommy Kraemer
, T
Liam Eichenberg
, T

PRE-SPRING DEPTH CHART
Hunter Bivin, T
Quenton Nelson, LG
Sam Mustipher, C
Steve Elmer, RG
Mike McGlinchey, RT

Alex Bars*, T
Colin McGovern*, G/T
Mark Harrell*, C/G
Tristen Hoge*, C
John Montelus*, G
Jimmy Byrne*, G
Trevor Ruhland*, G

*Has an additional year of eligibility remaining. 

ANALYSIS:
It’ll be a fascinating spring up front for the offensive line. We’ll get our first look at potential replacements and see if the Irish staff values a veteran presence (as it has done in the past) or puts former blue-chip recruits in position to become multi-year starters.

For now, I’m putting last season’s backups in line to ascend to starting spots. That’s not to say I think that’s what’ll happen. Hunter Bivin may have been Stanley’s backup last season, but as long as Alex Bars is fully recovered from his broken ankle, I think he’s the best bet to step into that job. Sharing reps at guard—not a natural spot for Bars to begin with—was more about getting him some experience, with the aim to move him into the lineup in 2016. That allows Bivin to be a key swing reserve, capable of playing on either the right or left side.

At center, the decision is less clear cut—especially since we’ve yet to see Tristen Hoge play a snap of football. Size and strength is a genuine concern at the point of attack for Hoge, not necessarily the biggest guy hitting campus. But it sounds like he’s had a nice first season from a developmental standpoint, and if he’s a true technician at the position, he could be a rare four-year starter at center if he’s able to pull ahead of Mustipher this spring.

On paper, the other three starting jobs don’t seem to be in question. Quenton Nelson and Mike McGlinchey are ready to step to the forefront. Concerns about Steve Elmer’s buy-in will certainly be answered by spring, there’s little chance he’ll be on the field in March if he’s not going to be around in August. I’m of the mind that Elmer’s too good of a character guy to leave the program, even if his life doesn’t revolve around football 24/7. Now it’s time for him to clean up some of the flaws in his game, the only starter from last season who held back the Irish from being a truly elite group.

Depth isn’t necessarily a concern, but there isn’t a ton of it at tackle. That happens when you move a guy like Jerry Tillery to defensive line and lose a player like Stanley with a year of eligibility remaining. That could force the Irish to cross-train someone like Colin McGovern, a veteran who can swing inside or out if needed. McGovern seems to be a guy who would start in a lot of other programs, but has struggled to crack a two-deep that’s now filled with former blue-chip recruits, all of them essentially handpicked by Hiestand and Kelly.