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.