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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Sheldon Day drafted in 4th round by Jaguars

North Carolina v Notre Dame
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Former Notre Dame captain Sheldon Day didn’t have to wait long on Saturday to hear his name called. The Indianapolis native, All-American, and the Irish’s two-time defensive lineman of the year was pick number 103, the fourth pick of the fourth round on Saturday afternoon.

Day was the seventh Irish player drafted, following first rounders Ronnie Stanley and Will Fuller, second round selections Jaylon Smith and Nick Martin, and third rounders KeiVarae Russell and C.J. Prosise.

Day has a chance to contribute as he joins the 24th-ranked defense in the league. Joining a draft class heavy on defensive players—Jalen Ramsey, Myles Jack and Yannick Ngakoue already picked ahead of him—the front seven will also include last year’s No. 3 overall pick Dante Fowler, who missed the entire season with a knee injury.

Scouted by the Jaguars at the Senior Bowl, Day doesn’t necessarily have the size to be a traditional defensive tackle. But under Gus Bradley’s attacking system (Bradley coordinated the Seahawks defense for four seasons), Day will find a niche and a role in a young defense that’s seen a heavy investment the past two years.

Smith, Martin, Russell and Prosise all drafted Friday night

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - SEPTEMBER 13: William Fuller #7 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Nick Martin #72 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish celebrate a touchdown during the game against the Purdue Boilermakers at Lucas Oil Stadium on September 13, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
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Jaylon Smith, Nick Martin, KeiVarae Russell and C.J. Prosise were all selected on Friday, with four Irish teammates taken on the second night of the NFL Draft. As mentioned, Smith came off the board at pick 34, with the Cowboys gambling on the injured knee of the Butkus Award winner. Nick Martin was selected at pick 50, joining former teammate Will Fuller in Houston.

The third round saw Russell and Prosise come off the board, with Kansas City jumping on the confident cornerback and the Seahawks taking Notre Dame’s breakout running back. It capped off a huge night for the Irish with Sheldon Day, one of the more productive football players in college football, still on the board for teams to pick.

Here’s a smattering of instant reactions from the immediate aftermath.

 

 

Jaylon Smith goes to Dallas with 34th pick

PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 07:  Jaylon Smith #9 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish celebrates by wearing the hat of team mascot, Lucky The Leprechaun, following their 42-30 win against the Pittsburgh Panthers at Heinz Field on November 7, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
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Jaylon Smith’s nightmare is over.

After watching his football life thrown into chaos with a career-altering knee injury, Smith came off the board after just two picks in the second round, selected by the Dallas Cowboys with the 34th pick. His selection ended the most challenging months of Smith’s young life, and come after cashing in a significant tax-free, loss-of-value insurance policy that’ll end up being just shy of a million dollars.

No, it’s not top-five money like Smith could’ve expected if he didn’t get hurt. But Smith isn’t expected to play in 2016.

And while there was a pre-draft fascination that focused on the doom and gloom more than the time-consuming recovery, it’s worth pointing out that Dallas’ medical evaluation comes from the source—literally. After all, it was the Cowboys team doctor, Dr. Dan Cooper, who performed the surgery to repair Smith’s knee.

Smith joins Ezekiel Elliott with the Cowboys, arguably the two best position players in the draft. While he might not be available in 2016, Smith will be under the supervision of the Cowboys’ medical staff, paid a seven-figure salary to get healthy with the hopes that he’ll be back to his All-American self sooner than later, especially as the nerve in his knee returns to full functionality.

Will Fuller brings his game-changing skills to the Texans offense

PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 07: Will Fuller #7 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish catches a pass before running into the endzone for a touchdown in the second quarter in front of Avonte Maddox #14 of the Pittsburgh Panthers during the game at Heinz Field on November 7, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
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In all the weeks and months leading up to the NFL Draft, one key tidbit linking Will Fuller to the Houston Texans never seemed to come up. The relationship between Brian Kelly and Bill O’Brien.

The two coaches share a high school alma mater, a friendship that made the due diligence on Notre Dame’s prolific playmaker easy. And it was clear that after all their research, Houston was aggressive in their pursuit of Fuller, trading up to make Notre Dame’s All-American the second receiver off the board, triggered a run at the position.

“He was a guy that we felt strongly about,” Texans general manager Rick Smith told the team’s official website. “We didn’t want to take a chance on not getting him. We were aggressive. We went and made the move.”

That move made Fuller’s decision to leave Notre Dame after three seasons a good one. While it’ll require the Irish to rebuild at a position where Fuller served as one of college football’s best home run hitters, it gives Houston a vertical threat that can extend the top of a defense for a Texans offense that was serious about finding some solutions for a team already in the playoff mix.

Yes, Fuller has work to do. Completing the easy catch is one big area. But for all the pre-draft talk about his limitations, Brian Kelly took on some of the criticism head-on when talking with the Texans’ media reporter.

“Some people have compared him to Teddy Ginn, that’s not fair. He can catch the ball vertically like nobody I’ve coached in 25 years,” Kelly said (a sentiment some hack also laid out). Teddy Ginn is a very good player, but this is a different kind of player. If you throw the ball deep, he’s going to catch the football.”

Fuller is never going to be the biggest receiver on the field. But while most of the banter on his game focused on the negative or his deep ball skills, expect Fuller to find a role not just running deep but unleashed in the screen game as well. After the Texans spent huge on quarterback Brock Osweiler and have invested in fellow Philadelphia native and 2015 third-round pick Jaelen Strong, Fuller wasn’t selected for the future but rather expected to be a day-one piece of the puzzle.

“This will change the speed on offense immediately,” Kelly said. “It was not ‘Hey, let’s wait a couple of years’. It was ‘Let’s go get this right now’ and I think Will will do that for them.”