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Practice Report: Day Twelve update

Apr 16, 2012, 4:31 PM EDT

KLM hit

The departure of defensive end Aaron Lynch cast a fairly large shadow over the Irish football program, just as the Notre Dame coaching staff was opening its doors to over 600 high school coaches. Saturday’s practice was an open look for observers (media included) to see first hand the state of the Irish football team.

With the spring game set for Saturday, and more social-media melodrama happening this morning, it’s been an eventful few months for the Irish, and a full-contact scrimmage was likely just what the doctor ordered.

As they have been all spring, had the only video footage of the action. Here are some thoughts and observations.

  • 0:10 — That’s one understated truck.
  • 0:20 — We’ve got some serious hitting coming up, so I’ll do my best to give you guys the breakdown of who is running into who (or is it whom).
  • 0:28 — Mike Golic (#57) vs. Kona Schwenke (#96) with Everett Golson dropping the snap before handing the ball off to Theo Riddick. Let’s look past the nightmare of Golson’s dropped snap. That’s impressive work by Schwenke, standing up a fifth-year senior offensive guard.
  • 0:32 — Manti Te’o and Chris Watt (#66) have a mighty big collision before George Atkinson (#4) runs through the hole. The defensive staff were very fired up after Te’o’s play, but it sure looked like Watt did everything you’d ask of a lineman.
  • 0:40 — That’s Zack Martin (#70) getting the best of Kapron Lewis-Moore (#89). It might be too soon to get really optimistic about Martin, but he’s got the chance to be a big-time, awards-level offensive lineman.
  • 0:46 — Ishaq Williams (#11) stood up All-American tight end Tyler Eifert (#80). Running back Tyler Plantz got through the right side of the line, but Ishaq held up well at the point of attack.
  • 0:54 — Louis Nix (#9) stood up Matt Hegarty (#77) then slid off the block and made the tackle on Cierre Wood. Nix had members of the Irish fanbase sweating bullets after some late-night tweeting, but all seems to be fine.
  • 0:58 — Christian Lombard (#74) against Carlo Calabrese (#44). Well done by Lombard, who is having a really good spring.
  • 1:05 — That’s Sheldon Day (#91) against Tate Nichols (#64). Heckuva job by the early-enrolled freshman holding up against a really big right tackle.
  • 1:07 — Alex Welch (#82) against Ben Councell (#30). Welch did a nice job driving blocking, but Councell eventually shakes it and shows a nice bit of nastiness by finishing the play.
  • 1:16 — Conor Hanratty (#65) handles somebody nicely, as Theo Riddick makes his way through untouched.
  • 1:22 — Top collision so far. Justin Utupo (#53) absolutely stands up Bruce Heggie (#51) in the whole and makes a great play on the ball carrier. Don’t sleep on Utupo.
  • 1:29 — Stephon Tuitt (#7) reminds Irish fans that things will still be okay at defensive end by dominating the point of attack against Nick Martin (#72).
  • 1:35 — Nice job by Ben Koyack (#18) against Danny Spond (#13).
  • 1:39 — Walk-on Dennis Mahoney (#71) takes it to sophomore walk-on Kevin Carr (#67) one-on-one.
  • 1:44 — Jarrett Grace (#59) does his best to stand up to Chris Watt (#66). Watt did just about the same thing to Te’o, so this isn’t a knock on Grace.
  • 1:49 —  Good collision between Jordan Prestwood (#79) and Tyler Stockton (#92). Stockton has become a bit of a forgotten man, so hopefully he’s ready when his number is called.
  • 1:54 — Jake Golic (#88) against Kendall Moore (#8). Nice play by Moore.
  • 2:01 — Nix stands up Golic Jr. in the hole, but Wood still squirts out of trouble.
  • 2:07 — Lombard is just too big for Joe Schmidt (#38) who does his best to stand-up in the hole.
  • 2:12 — Nice job by KLM standing strong in the hole against Zack Martin.
  • 2:15 — Koyack and Anthony Rabasa (#56) meet in the hole, as Koyack drives Rabasa away from the runner.
  • 2:44 — This looks just plain crazy. Kickoff gunner work and a massive collision on the first rep. Another gigantic hit by Utupo. (This drill is giving my flashbacks to my days as a gunner in high school football.)
  • 3:15 — Good example of why we’ll see Ben Councell on kickoff coverage.
  • 3:25 — That Jarrett Grace has himself quite a disposition.
  • 3:34 — After nearly getting his clock cleaned by Utupo, cornerback Joe Romano gets his revenge on cornerback Josh Atkinson, who tries to take Romano on high and loses a big collision. Hearty celebration follows. Nobody wants to see guys get cleaned out, but I think it says a ton that Cierre Wood, Manti Te’o, and other starters are just as quick to celebrate the big play of a walk-on, as they are of a scholarship player. Good team atmosphere on display there.
  • 3:58 — I’m on the Cam McDaniel bandwagon. I think he’s going to make a difference next year, even if it is in the secondary. He’s just a good football player.
  • 4:04 — Looking for offensive evolution? How about that playcall/design by Chuck Martin and Brian Kelly, lifting a play from West Virginia’s playbook, on a quick lateral sweep that absolutely shredded Clemson last season. Fun design, and a lot less dangerous than it looks.
  • 4:20 — Cierre Wood looking very decisive as her runs through what looks like the first team defense. Lot of real estate created by Harry Hiestand‘s guys.
  • 4:25 — I’ll choose to call this good coverage by McDaniel, but it looked like Riddick had a step on him and Tommy Rees just overthrew it. (Look forward to being shredded for this defense of Rees, too.)
  • 4:38 — Live bullets out there, as Anthony Rabasa cleans up Andrew Hendrix in the backfield for a big loss on the keeper.
  • 4:47 — The benefit of running backs making plays out of the backfield? That’s Cierre Wood on Kendall Moore in coverage. Good throw by Hendrix and a nice gain on the mismatch.
  • 4:55 — Catch by Robby Toma, strip by Cam McDaniel. I’m going to have him fighting Lo Wood for his job by the end of this video.
  • 5:02 — Nice stick, Jarrett Grace.
  • 5:15 — Shake and bake, Robby Toma, carrying the ball on a nice little end-around. Don’t think we saw that even once last year.
  • 5:20 — Keep running Everett. We all want to see that come fall, too.
  • 5:37 — Think we heard a (presumably) red-faced Brian Kelly scream “Two Hands!” during that scramble.
  • 5:48 — Hi there, Davaris Daniels. I’m guessing we’d all be happy to see more of you in these videos.
  • 5:53 — Tommy Rees: Speed Merchant.
  • 6:05 — Kona Schwenke making plays in the backfield.
  • 6:18 — Gunner Kiel steps up in the pocket and throws a dart into a tight window, with Alex Welch feeling the impact after the catch. Tough to see from this angle, but I’m guessing Gunner held onto it a second too long.
  • 6:24 — Daniel Smith making an appearance, too. Slant from Golson goes for nice yardage.
  • 6:34 — Theo Riddick definitely has the juke stick working pretty well. Haven’t seen those moves since last season’s EA Sports NCAA football videogame.
  • 6:38 — Everett Golson connects with Robby Toma in the corner of the endzone on a beautifully thrown ball. Thumbs up.


  1. brendanunderscoreg - Apr 16, 2012 at 5:12 PM

    I don’t know how you can watch this and not want field turf for the stadium.

    • jimbasil - Apr 16, 2012 at 6:58 PM

      Yes Keith, Tommy does not look like he can keep up with the speed of the game, Kiel looks as though he is getting used to the college game pace – in relation to the field turf. – Are there more injuries with fake turf or grass?

      The Defensive line looks very fast. It could be the D knows the plays being called, the fake turf, the line coaching along with talent level getting stronger, camera at ground level or the combination of it all.

      I’m liking Toma and Riddick. Hard to tell which QB will emerge. Looks to me EG or AH not discounting Kiels talent – he’s catching on.

  2. nudeman - Apr 16, 2012 at 5:13 PM

    A question for you:
    Knowing how impulsive 19 year old kids are, I’m sure Lynch feels today like a man without a country.

    Q #1) Do you think there is any chance of thim asking back in?

    Q #2) IF that happened, what would ND’s response be?

    • dickasman - Apr 16, 2012 at 5:31 PM

      wat u talkin bout willis….

      he be out in ybor city underage clubbin yoooo…celebratin…..hollah! maybe get notha celebratory tat! He’s probably already signed with an agent.

    • dickasman - Apr 16, 2012 at 5:33 PM

      I am assuming that he’s prolly already fingablasted at least 10 Floridian Wet Seal customers.

      • notthatconfused - Apr 16, 2012 at 6:13 PM

        And you’re gonna get slapped with the Edit Stick in five….four….three….two….

      • dickasman - Apr 16, 2012 at 6:24 PM


        I’d love to slap you with my hockeystick!

      • idratherbeinsouthbend - Apr 17, 2012 at 1:32 AM

        fingablasted. Yep, he said fingablasted.

        This is even funnier when you consider the fact that you are probably severely Caucasian.

    • nudeman - Apr 16, 2012 at 9:11 PM

      No answer?
      I guess Keith’s still mad at me.

  3. dickasman - Apr 16, 2012 at 5:28 PM

    Speaking of Schwenke and Utupo, Keith, why aren’t BK’s regime recruiting these Hawaiian kids anymore??? Because Charlie Weis started it?

    They are asians. They are actually smarter, even the dumb ones are smarter than the other races. They can be nasty. They also can be immature but they are also ALOT easier to discipline. Yes, they act like thugs sometimes but they have honor and respect. You just have to get it out of them. We should recruit them more and not let the pipeline die out.

    • idratherbeinsouthbend - Apr 17, 2012 at 1:34 AM

      the “finga” comment was probably strike two…i’m guessing that this will be strike three

    • irishbornraised - Apr 17, 2012 at 3:26 AM

      dude, someone needs to take a hawaiian vacation:
      1. Polynesians are in no way shape or form asian, get that straight pleeeeaaaaaasssseeeee…..
      2. We did try to tap into the Hawaii pipeline, Punahou (the alma mater of MT and yours truly) had two 4 star DEs this year, one of them offered to ND who’s going to Stanford, the other is going to Oregon
      3. About the smarts thing, just thought I’d share a story, one of those DE was walking around our open campus carrying around THE ENTIRE OREGON PLAYBOOK, keeping a loose grip, just holding onto a quarter of it. THE ENTIRE OREGON PLAYBOOK!!!!!!! That’s probably worth millions, so much for being ridiculously smart.
      4. Although there is a large Asian population in hawaii (70%ish), the football players are micronesian, polynesian, and hawaiian (type of polynesian). They are usually what we call “mokes”, basically lowlifes, this isn’t racist, being a “moke” is a thing of pride for them, MT, RT, Schwenke and the rest are the exception, not the rule

  4. ccad05 - Apr 16, 2012 at 5:37 PM

    Hes gone. Forget about him. Next man in let’s go

    • dickasman - Apr 16, 2012 at 5:51 PM

      See, that’s the problem bud. We don’t have “NEXT”. NEXT is about as good as waterboy. Don’t you get that?

    • nudeman - Apr 16, 2012 at 5:53 PM

      My sentiments too; but can’t you see an impulsive kid like Lynch sitting around, thinking “WTF did I just DO?”

      BTW, I think the answer would be “no thanks”.
      They’re tired of his act.

      • dickasman - Apr 16, 2012 at 6:02 PM

        Naw I can’t nude. I wish. To help you understand, he’s a prototypical ASU student. He wants to party, not study, be on and take lots of pics for fokbook.

      • gtizzo - Apr 16, 2012 at 8:20 PM

        No Dick,

        Nude is right. You bucking for Keith to lay the hammer down on you.

  5. ndmick - Apr 16, 2012 at 6:11 PM

    I’m with Nude….that kid is gone…whether to another school or the pro’s (which would be a mistake). Kids who make these decisions usually continue to make them…hope AL figures it out.

    • irishbornraised - Apr 17, 2012 at 3:28 AM

      You can’t leave for the pros until after junior year, thems the rules…. an Ohio state RB appealed it, got it changed, declared for the draft, rule got changed back, he was sitting around waiting with no Football for 2 years, lost his career

  6. jerseyshorendfan1 - Apr 16, 2012 at 6:35 PM

    There’ s the racist dickasman we all know and love! Where you been? I think Golson looks electric in these videos but also looks like he puts the ball on the ground a lot. That won’t get him many game reps. I like the td pass he threw however.

    • dickasman - Apr 16, 2012 at 6:39 PM

      How’s that racist? Its the Truth. You are catholic, right? You believe in telling the truth, right? I am a catholic man but I’d have ok’d abortion for your mother.

      • jerseyshorendfan1 - Apr 17, 2012 at 1:53 AM

        In the immortal words of Ron Burgundy,”Hey, let’s leave the Mothers out of this.” You love to play the role of provocateur on this board by saying outrageous things just to get a reaction from everyone. I wonder what drives that urge psychologically? Your comments are neither insightful nor informative. Your posts have the effect of a verbal speed bump, serving only to interrupt an otherwise enjoyable read of the good posts on here. I want to challenge you to examine your behavior and think about why you say the things that you do on here. Try to resist the urge to come back with some sarcastic, smarmy, or otherwise boorish response. I think you can be funny at times, but the race stuff is over the line.

  7. miketahoe - Apr 16, 2012 at 7:44 PM

    Tommy being a “speed merchant” had me laughing haha. I feel ya on the flashbacks to high school.. The JV players would be “dummies” for the Varsity to practice the kick return wedge. Not fun.

  8. gtizzo - Apr 16, 2012 at 8:26 PM

    Keith I guess your human after all,

    “Cierre Wood looking very decisive as her runs through what looks like the first team defense. Lot of real estate created by Harry Hiestand‘s guys.”

    Cierre Wood isn’t a girl, I’m sure it was an honest mistake. I suppose I could be reading this wrong if I am then just let it go.

  9. gtizzo - Apr 16, 2012 at 8:35 PM

    Alabama broke the BCS championship trophy! Take about butter fingers huh!

  10. turknd - Apr 16, 2012 at 9:10 PM

    Wow, some of these comments. Someones ego needs to keep their superego in check.

  11. cpfirish - Apr 16, 2012 at 9:49 PM

    When is ND goin to get field turf in the stadium?? I think that would benifit the players. It looks like the players do well with it on the practice fields.

  12. bearcatirishfan - Apr 16, 2012 at 10:01 PM

    BK wants field turf, Michigan did it I bet it’s not too far off.

  13. gracehall1980 - Apr 16, 2012 at 10:26 PM

    I’ll bite. What’s with the “style” where you see players rolling up their jerseys almost to the bottom edge of their shoulder pads. An homage to my golden ’70s? To Chris Zorich in the ’80s?

    • idratherbeinsouthbend - Apr 17, 2012 at 1:38 AM

      Shows off those Hulk Hogan 56″ pythons and less material to hold on to when you’re getting tackled or rushing a passer or scrabbling after a fumble in the red zone

  14. mtflsmitty - Apr 17, 2012 at 1:16 AM

    Keith, clearly Dick’s comments today are out of step with the vast majority of your readership. No idea what Nude has done to be edited in the past. But Dick’s comments today are moronic, and should not be tolerated.

    • idratherbeinsouthbend - Apr 17, 2012 at 1:39 AM

      let’s not stop at moronic…racist, vulgar, sexually explicit

    • unbiasednd - Apr 17, 2012 at 10:27 AM

      I completely agree. Keith must be traveling today. I thought we had a post about being more civil on here. Seems like it lasted for a while, but now Dick is back to his old ways again. He really adds nothing to this discussion. I would be okay with a ban for him.

    • nudeman - Apr 17, 2012 at 10:40 AM

      My comments were completely vanilla, comparatively. Not racist or profane … nothing. I responded plaintively to UAW who showed up to take a shot at me and suggested he just ignore my posts.

      So Keith deleted that, but but lets UAW’s post stand and lets Dickasman go on a racist tear.

      You figure Keith out. I can’t. I have an idea, but won’t share it here. Yet.

      • nudeman - Apr 17, 2012 at 10:42 AM

        Keith, I’ll ask again:
        Is there some sort of connection between you and the Rees family?

        If so, you should disclose it.

    • mtndguy - Apr 17, 2012 at 11:29 AM

      I agree. Dick needs to go.

  15. 1historian - Apr 17, 2012 at 11:40 AM

    Lynch – as far as I know the kid is still on campus with the intention of finishing out this semester, and this speaks well of him. I have also read that he has a 3.0 grade average – this too speaks well of him. If he is on campus this Saturday will he go to the game? If he does he will be watching his friends getting all those yells and screams down on the field, cameras will have found him and will probably be recording every second he is there.
    For everything he has gone through good and bad over the last 16 months he knows that this is the last time he will be here unless he comes as a member of a visiting team. In any case he will be an outsider.

    Will he be having 2nd thoughts?

    Would you?

    • nudeman - Apr 17, 2012 at 12:53 PM

      That is the same question I asked Keith a couple days ago. (no answer)
      The kid is 19, highly impulsive. I’d bet about a million $$ he’s had some second thoughts. But in all I’ve read about this, I’m not sure that will matter at all.

      As best as I can tell, ND was totally fed up with him. Kelly had apparently made many special concessions to accomodate him (no idea what those were), the staff was getting tired of it, the players were getting tired of it, and fankly it wasn’t working. He kept up the “I hate this place” stuff on FB, got into a raucous fight with Tate Nichols, and overall – according to some – had reached the “cancerous” level in the lockerroom.

      So Lynch might have terrible regrets (and might not) but I sense the door is closed.

      • 1historian - Apr 17, 2012 at 1:20 PM

        Nudie – The question can only be answered by Lynch.
        Given what his big brother Manti said about him and given Manti’s anger at some of the really nasty remarks about him – with which I agree – I think there is hope that he might come back. If he is still on campus, which I assume he is if he is going to finish the semester before leaving, I think there is still a chance. IMO he would have to go in front of the whole team, apologize for being a horse’s ass and then leave it up to them – his teammates, not Kelly.

        I personally think he is making a mistake but I am just an old (retired) fart in Northern New England who went to ND but never graduated and who gets (some of) his jollies from coming to this site 3 or 4 times a day minimum (GREAT job Keith!!) and getting the latest.

        • nudeman - Apr 17, 2012 at 1:37 PM


          But I’d rate the chances of his return at below 5%.
          There was a lot of smoke and mirrors about everything leading up to this. But one thing strikes me as 100% true: The decision was mutual.

          They were tired of Lynch/Lynch was tired of them.

      • bernhtp - Apr 17, 2012 at 2:02 PM

        Mike Frank of ISD believes it was a combination of factors including:

        – geography (away from FL and girlfriend) and weather (cold).

        – System. Lynch likes the 4-3 defense with his role being rushing the QB. The 3-4 makes this more difficult and gives him responsibilities he likes less.

        – Losing. Disappointing season, especially the loss to FSU, which he left for ND.

        Mike Frank believes that a better season, particularly a win against FSU, would have made him happy enough to stay.

        My take is a bit different, though all three are clearly factors. Lynch was always a bit of a fish out of water at ND. While he did OK academically, he would rather expend less effort given that his identity and future livelihood is as a football player. It’s unlikely that he would have positively contributed to ND’s stellar GSR. My guess is that he would be far happier as a frat boy than in dorms filled with ND student types. Most important, Aaron has a volatile and fragile psychology that makes it difficult to adapt to less than ideal settings. I imagine there was tremendous pressure on him to be more positive and cooperative, and this added to the unhappiness.

      • nudeman - Apr 17, 2012 at 2:15 PM

        You seem to have inside or borderline inside info frequently.
        Do you agree, based on what you know that there is basically no chance he’ll reconsider?
        And if he did, would they take him back?

        It just seemed like a match made in hell to me.

      • bernhtp - Apr 17, 2012 at 2:47 PM

        I have little inside information about Lynch, though this might change this week.

        I don’t know about the legalisms since ND gave Lynch his release. I imagine he is busy talking to other schools rather than reconsidering his (and Kelly’s) decision. Best efforts and unusual accommodations appear to have been made to avoid the parting, but once it occurred, it was final and everyone moved on. While nothing is impossible, I think it would require an amazingly convincing act of contrition and change of heart on the part of Aaron to even begin the conversation.

  16. cpfirish - Apr 18, 2012 at 3:16 AM

    Can we all please just move past the AL situation!! our defense will be just fine without him not worried at all.. wish him the best luck!! Does anyone know who the number 1 qb is for the spring game?? I think bennett jackson is goin to be a big time player this year for us!! TE is goin to be one of the best players in the country this year, but our qb has to be able to get him the ball down the seem!

  17. getsome99 - Apr 18, 2012 at 9:04 AM

    Who cares about Lynch? If the overall team defense improves, there’s no need to dwell on one player who wants out. Kelly an Co. need to coach up the players they do have. If they don’t, then it won’t matter if Lynch is on the team or not.

  18. irishlion10 - Apr 18, 2012 at 10:40 AM

    What did I get from this video? Jarret Grace looks GOOD. I won’t be surprised at all if he is lined up next to Teo for the first defensive snap against Navy

  19. sgtpuddin - Apr 18, 2012 at 6:31 PM

    I think if Golson could hang on to the football he would be running away with this competition.

  20. cpfirish - Apr 19, 2012 at 1:20 AM

    I think EG is goin to be the clear number 1 after this spring game.. ! How nice will it be for our own qb to have the threat to throw and run the ball..!! I think ND will be a top five team before its all said and done!! I am not to worried about our wideouts??.. Tj jones, toma, eifert no worries!!.. Brian kelly will have it all put togeather.. Just no TO inside the redzone this year!! Ouch!!. Go irish!!

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