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Practice video: Over-analyzing everything edition

Aug 9, 2012, 9:40 PM EDT

Romeo Okwara Diaco

Our friends at have put out two new videos filled with practice footage from an eventful Wednesday session that gave an open look to the media and fans. There’s been thousands of words across the net dedicated to practice reports, but I figured I’d chime in with my own 1,300 or so and breakdown the footage the guys at gave us.

With things being intentionally kept under wraps as the Irish prep for the regular season, it’s still fun to try and go frame by frame hoping to pick up some morsel that could enlighten all of us in the days before the snaps starting counting for real.

Let’s get rolling through this footage and give you a way over-analyzed look at what you’re seeing.



0:08Jack Nolan is back. All is right in the world.

0:47Zeke Motta looks like he’s ready for a breakout season. While it’s tough to tell if this is actually him making a great break on the ball, Motta has all the physical traits necessary to put together an excellent season.

0:52 — That’s freshman wideout Chris Brown (2) running away from Cam McDaniel (33) on the underneath route. He looks mighty skinny, but those rumors of Brown’s elite speed don’t appear to be recruiting propaganda.

0:56 — We’re into the rodeo drill portion of the program. We’ll focus on this more down the page, but I’ll point out a few nice plays.

1:02 — Yes, that was quarterback Andrew Hendrix taking the handoff and running through the gauntlet, evading the tackle of Ishaq Williams.

1:04 — Unfortunately, that was also Hendrix trying to force a ball late into Tyler Eifert. Bennett Jackson makes a nice play for an easy interception. Fast-forward a month and it won’t just be Brian Kelly turning purple if we see that again.

1:18 — In four years, I think I saw two good plays by Darius Fleming dropping back into pass coverage. In his first week in an Irish uniform, talented freshman Romeo Okwara (45) is showing some serious talent in space, making a nice play on Cierre Wood.

1:20 — Freshman Justin Ferguson (15) beats corner Jalen Brown (21) with a nifty catch… caught on camera from both angles.

1:33 — That’s talented freshman Davonte Neal (19) making the catch from Gunner Kiel on the speed out. I’m very excited to see what the lightning-bug freshman can do this season.

1:38 — Quarterback Everett Golson hits Wood on a nice throw. It looks like Cierre made a cut and would’ve been tough to catch after that play.

1:40 — Golson puts another throw in a tight window. Not sure it would’ve counted as a catch or been the correct read, but there was plenty of zip on the ball and it should’ve been caught.

1:44 — Senior Zack Martin (70) teaches freshman Sheldon Day (91) a few things about pass rushing.

1:58 — Brian Kelly can say all he wants about Louis Nix (9) and Kona Schwenke running even for the starting nose tackle job. I don’t believe him. Nix is an absolute beast, as seen here.

2:03 — Not sure who made the pretty throw, but John Goodman (81) gets open behind the coverage for a big gainer on a deep flag route.

2:10 — All-American linebacker Manti Te’o shows some improvement in his pass drops, getting a hand on a ball headed towards an open Davaris Daniels (10).

2:14Chris Brown gets plenty of good blocking as he breaks loose on a quick screen pass.

2:21 — Walk-on outside linebacker Connor Little (93) (from St. Paul’s Hill-Murray high school) lays a big stick on quarterback Gunner Kiel.

2:24Jarrett Grace (59) holds his own in coverage against Will Mahone (32).

2:30 — That’s Daniel Smith (87) making a catch for the cameras. Will that happen this season? Only time will tell.

2:33 — Nightmare revisited: Golson throws a screen pass into the hands of a waiting defensive lineman. The only good news? It was Kapron Lewis-Moore (89), not a Michigan defender.

2:40 — Want to know why my money is on Golson winning the job? This play right here. Great presence in the pocket to buy time and then find an open receiver.

2:55 — Don’t be surprised to see Cierre Wood run for six-yards a carry this season. (At least.) With great depth behind him to keep him fresh, Wood — no finesse back right now at 6-foot, 215-pounds — could be a load for defenses.

3:10 — Team huddle breaks down with a “Count on Me.”


Now, for our favorite video… Breaking down the Rodeo Drill!



0:10Braxston Cave (52) vs. Kona Schwenke (96). Victory: Schwenke, who does a nice job pushing the runner (Everett Golson)  over the pylon.

0:15Chris Watt (66) vs. Manti Te’o. Victory: Watt, who does a nice job of controlling Te;o while Atkinson runs by him.

0:20Zack Martin (70) vs. Kapron Lewis-Moore. Winner: Martin, who does a great job of turning the defender and opening the hole.

0:25Alex Welch (82) vs. Danny Spond (13). Winner: Tough to call either guy a winner after both were seriously injured during practice.

0:30Mike Golic (57) vs. Louis Nix (9). Winner: Nix. There’s nowhere to push the stout defensive tackle, who clogs the hole effectively.

0:34Nick Martin (72) vs. Dan Fox (48). Winner: Martin. Nice rep by the youngster, who might find himself pushed forward in the rotation with Jordan Prestwood gone.

0:38Christian Lombard (74) vs. Sheldon Day (91). Winner: Day, who gets a great rep in by slipping Lombard and then planting the runner in the backfield. Impressive play by the freshman.

0:45Jake Golic (88) vs. Ben Councell (3o). Winner: Golic, with the assist of Neal motoring past the attempted arm-tackle of Councell.

0:49Matt Hegarty (77) vs. Tony Springmann (?). Winner: Hegarty, who got a handle on the tough-to-recognize defender, allowing Cierre Wood to dash through the hole.

0:53Connor Hanratty (65) vs. Carlo Calabrese (44). Winner: Hanratty, who buries Calabrese into the turf, allowing Golson to fly by.

0:59Tate Nichols (64) vs. Kapron Lewis-Moore (89). Winner: Nichols, who smothers Lewis-Moore as he forces the veteran defender into a backpedal.

1:03Ben Koyack (18) vs. Ishaq Williams (11). Winner: Williams, who does a great job standing Koyack up and taking down Hendrix, no easy task with a 250-pound tight end pushing you backwards.

1:08Alex Welch (84) vs. Romeo Okwara (45). Winner: Draw. But nice work by the freshman Okwara finishing the drill and taking down senior Robby Toma (9), to the applause of defensive coordinator Bob Diaco.

1:15Nick Martin vs. Jarrett Grace (59)Winner: Grace, who stands up Martin in the hole and dumps George Atkinson for a loss. Heckuva play.

1:25Christian Lombard vs. KLM. Winner: Draw. Nice work by KLM standing Lombard up in the hole, but he didn’t make the tackle. Tie goes to nobody.

1:30Mike Golic vs. Louis Nix. Winner: Nix, who gets bonus points for sporting the new Ireland cleats to practice. (Even more impressive considering the runner was Cierre Wood, who is hardly ever pinned in the backfield in this drill.)

1:34Connor Hanratty vs. Kevin Walsh (54). Winner: Hanratty, who got the walk-on linebacker into rollerskates as he drove him down the field.

1:40Zack Martin (70) vs. Sheldon Day. Winner: Martin, who shows the young pup a thing or two (understandably).

1:44Braxston Cave (52) vs. Kona Schwenke. Winner: Cave, who looked like a Greco-Roman star with his textbook leverage take-down of the big Hawaiian.

1:50Mark Harrell (75) vs. Tony Springmann (69). Winner: Harrell, who puts together a nice rep against Springmann, steering the back through the hole untouched.

1:54Bruce Heggie (51) vs. Kendall Moore (8). Winner: Heggie, who sprung a hole just big enough for Amir Carlisle (3). Carlisle looked pretty crisp and had a nice burst as he cut back and burned by.

1:59Ronnie Stanley (78) vs. Justin Utupo (53). Winner: The talented — and gigantic — freshman is too much for Utupo to handle.

2:04Troy Niklas (85) vs. Ishaq Williams (11). Winner: Draw. A ton of sheer force in a collision between two guys that used to wear the same practice jersey. Nice job by Niklas moving the pile and nice job by Williams holding on and taking down Hendrix.

Photo property of Matt Cashore.


  1. papadec - Aug 9, 2012 at 10:22 PM

    Oh yeah-yeah-yeah! Pads & serious hitting. Somebody is getting the ball down field to receivers in the first video. Good stuff – the game in Dublin is going to be great fun!

  2. borromini - Aug 10, 2012 at 1:38 AM

    Over at ISD’s board they’re talking about Danny Spond hospitalized for potentially having a stroke. Numbness in one of his legs. I sure hope this is not the case.

  3. cam2ham - Aug 10, 2012 at 3:16 AM

    47 seconds on the first video is Jamoris Slaughter not Zeke Motta

    I was pretty worried about receiving unit but these freshman receivers are certainly putting those worries at ease. Seeing lots of great things out of these guys. I’m still fairly young but I can’t ever remember a time when ND has had this much speed.

    Everett’s lack of experience has many doubtful for a successful season, but that play where he fakes likes he is going to take off then hits the receiver is absolute magic. He’ll add such a huge dimension to this offense.

    I know we don’t really have much to go off other than practice but I really can’t remember a time in which I’ve been so optimistic and excited for ND football.

    • jerseyshorendfan1 - Aug 10, 2012 at 4:18 AM

      I remember the last time I was this excited and optimistic about ND football. It was last summer right before the USF game. Then came the fumble, the rain delay, Crist’s debut (and getting the hook) all within one half of a game. Sure hope this year starts off differently.

      • joeschu - Aug 10, 2012 at 9:06 AM

        Dude, it is still early August. Why do you have to go there? Let us enjoy this magical time without depressing realities getting in the way. This team is still undefeated.

      • bernhtp - Aug 10, 2012 at 10:19 AM

        Yes, this is the time when hope springs eternal. The team looks great and is undefeated. The upcoming games seem a mere formality to reclaiming our rightful position atop college football. Let’s enjoy the moment and not hear any discouraging words.

      • jerseyshorendfan1 - Aug 10, 2012 at 12:27 PM

        I didn’t mean to harsh anyone’s mellow, but I was simply making the point that I get excited and optimistic about this team every year, as I suspect most of you who blog on here do as well. It’s like wild and crazy ride at an amusement park….it has the potential to thrill you or make you really nauseous, but we all still line up each year at this time to get back on the ride. I have a suspicion that this years team may surprise, that Golson may bring great things to this offense, that our run game will be spectacular and our defensive front 7 will be the most menacing we’ve seen in years. Hey, a guy can dream can’t he?

      • jerseyshorendfan1 - Aug 10, 2012 at 12:40 PM

        Forgot to mention one thing. I know there is a decidedly anti-Rees contingent on this board that I have frequently supported, but we should give the kid props for taking on the role of an additional coach for EG and AH in helping them to get the offense down. Shows a lot of character.

      • bernhtp - Aug 10, 2012 at 1:04 PM

        The time for harsh reality is during therapy that I hope is not needed until at least midway through the season. It began far too early last year.

  4. NotreDan - Aug 10, 2012 at 11:49 AM

    I know it’s practice… and I know it’s a regulation field… but it looks crowded to me, maybe the camera angles.

    I can live with a lot of stuff, but BOY my heart sinks when I see those interceptions. I agree with Keith on the last play we see Golson… his ability to extend the play is awesome. Imagine if we had THAT ability, combined with about 10 fewer INT’s last year… It’s amazing how just a few little things can make all the difference, and in my playing experience, it’s when you play with confidence and passion that the little things just click. We need to get the units together and confident.

    Aside from that, our offense looks FAST, and our front 7 look stout. Nix is a monster, I hope he stays healthy.

    Is it Sep. 1 yet???????


    • bernhtp - Aug 10, 2012 at 2:54 PM

      My guess is that Golson may not have fewer ints, but he will make way more big plays and make the opposing defense respect and play the entire field, unlike you-know-who.

      I hope that Notre Dame provides Everett with some public speaking coaching. He seems like a great kid, but one that has poor speaking skills. If he gets the starting QB role, he will spend a huge amount of time in front of a mic/camera and needs to be prepared.

      • idratherbeinsouthbend - Aug 11, 2012 at 12:26 AM


        “My guess is that Golson may not have fewer ints, but he will make way more big plays and make the opposing defense respect and play the entire field, unlike you-know-who.”

        I kinda get this feeling too. Obviously we’re only seeing .01% of practice with these youtube clips, but anybody else notice that the DB’s grabbing lots of INT’s in practice? One could surmise that our DB’s are simply playing at a high level, but given the experience that EG and AH have, i’m gonna guess those INT’s are closer to QB error than DB playmakers.

        Hope i’m wrong.

      • bernhtp - Aug 11, 2012 at 10:03 AM

        I agree with you. Inexperience will cause turnovers, though the speed and nature of practice tend to lead to more than we should see in games. Even with some higher-than-average turnovers, I want to see a QB that makes big plays, something conspicuously absent last year.

  5. seeeye - Aug 10, 2012 at 12:29 PM

    On the Goodman pass, it looks like a double digit red jersey in a follow through pose. Not sure if Hendrix or Rees.

  6. bb90grad - Aug 10, 2012 at 2:29 PM

    I too noticed a red number 11 (Rees).

    I took consolation from the fact that all other clips had passes thrown by someone in a blue jersey.

    Given the personalities on this blog, I’m sure someone has significant time spent on analyzing the Zabruder footage and can apply those skills to identifying this shooter (Nude?).

    • nudeman - Aug 10, 2012 at 8:33 PM

      It’s “Zapruder”

      Grassy knoll was nothing more than a grassy knoll. No 2nd shooter

      Now then … back to ND football

      • nudeman - Aug 10, 2012 at 9:08 PM

        BTW, one of my favorite subjects is the JFK assass’n
        Visited Dealey Plaza and like most people was shocked at what a small area it is
        No one could have kept a conspiracy of this magnitude secret for ~50 years
        So as much as it seems there was a 2nd shooter, nope

        Now then SERIOUSLY this time … back to ND football

      • idratherbeinsouthbend - Aug 11, 2012 at 12:31 AM

        This is just weird Nude….I’m a JFK assasination freak too. I’ve got a room in my house full of JFK stuff…and in my college years, i actually worked with a guy who was only yards away from Kennedy when he was shot….unfortunately, he was in holding cell in the criminal courts building awaiting trial on a handgun violation.

        I asked him questions about that day for hours….pretty sure he didn’t do it. :)

      • nudeman - Aug 11, 2012 at 9:27 AM

        Did you ever read “Rush To Judgment” by Mark Lane?
        Lays out very compelling case for there being a conspiracy and 2nd shooter
        Great book and I bought into its angle for a long time
        Now though I think it was Lee Harvey acting alone
        Saw his brother interviewed a while back; he was a non-kook
        Said he was 100% sure it was all Lee; he had always wanted to do something like that to be noticed
        Also saw a documentary on some folks in Australia painfully reconstructing the whole thing, and it was pretty clear the final fatal shot came from behind

        Now then, back to ND ….

  7. runners00 - Aug 10, 2012 at 4:33 PM

    Is Golson big enough? He looks small compared to both AH and GK. And when you line up against Michigan or Oklahoma, size helps. That said, he does extend the field quite a bit.

  8. bb90grad - Aug 13, 2012 at 1:17 PM

    The fact I was corrected is response enough.

    I agree, lone shooter, bad result. Conspiracies allow us to avoid admitting that sometimes bad things just happen. Makes for compelling reading, viewing etc. Stephen King’s latest has a guy going back in time to try and stop the shooting, but the universe is stubborn and doesn’t like being changed. Was actually a good story.

    Indeed, back to ND football…

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