Another day, another UND.com practice report. But if you wondered whether or not 2012 was going to be different than last season, look no further than the practice videos. With media access at practice scant, video access is some of the only looks at practice we’ll get until the Irish open up in Dublin.
While we’re seeing some great stuff from Jack Nolan and the Fighting Irish Digital Media crew, it sure feels like we’re getting parceled out exactly what the coaching staff feels like sharing.
Which is good is enough for me.
Here’s some good footage of some eleven-on-eleven scrimmaging. I’ve done my best to break this down frame-by-frame, giving you a crib sheet of the latest action.
0:08 — Here’s a nice look at All-American Manti Te’o. Interestingly, the running back (it looks like it could be Will Mahone (32), but tough to tell) got a nice juke in, causing Te’o to false step, but there’s a quickness and lightness of feet that Te’o didn’t have last season after injuring his ankle.
0:13 — That’s Danny McCarthy (15). He’ll likely be the third safety on the field in nickel packages, so coming up and tackling should be something he gets used to doing.
0:16 — The defensive line works on some drills with the sled. It’s worth noting that Justin Utupo (53) is back working at end. He had worked with inside linebackers the previous season but with the departure of Aaron Lynch, perhaps the staff wanted to get his speed up front.
0:20 — Coach Harry Hiestand has stressed better hand use among the offensive linemen. Here it is in action, first with Tate Nichols (64) and then our first look at freshman Ronnie Stanley (78). (We’ll see Stanley in action in a few seconds.)
0:26 — Ishaq Williams (11) and Kapron Lewis-Moore (89) work on their swim moves with the blocking dummy. That’s a lot of force behind KLM’s swim.
0:31 — Cierre Wood (20) makes a play in the flat against cornerback Jalen Brown (21).
0:35 — Nice play on the deep ball by John Goodman (81) getting behind Bennett Jackson (2). You can hear offensive coordinator Chuck Martin yelling in the background, “Excellent, Goody. Excellent, Goody!”
0:38 — It’s the tight end portion of the video, with Troy Niklas (85) making a grab on the quick out from Everett Golson (5) before All-American Tyler Eifert (80) catches a pass from Andrew Hendrix against the back-up defense.
(If you’re looking way too deep into this trying to determine who’s playing with the ones, don’t. Eifert and Hendrix are paired with rookie Davonte Neal and reserve lineman Bruce Heggie.)
0:42 — Freshman wideout Justin Ferguson (15) beats walk-on safety Connor Cavalaris (40) on the slant route before fellow rookie Chris Brown (2) gets vertical on cornerback Josh Atkinson (43), adjusting to the deep ball and making a big catch.
For some perspective, thats’ Brown running by a guy that ran a sub-10.4 100m dash and then coming back and making an even better play on the football.
0:52 — He’s not doing us any favors wearing his jersey like that, but it looks like KeiVarae Russell (6) makes a terrific play on a deep ball thrown to junior TJ Jones (7). That’s an impressive play and good ball skills by the youngster.
0:56 — Everett Golson throws a bullet on the out route to Davaris Daniels (10) with Jalen Brown giving big cushion and Kendall Moore (8) coming from the inside to help.
0:59 — Andrew Hendrix looks a bit like a deer in headlights as the No. 1 defense bears down on him with a suffocating pass rush. It’s not the reserve lines’ finest hour: Tate Nichols is beat by Prince Shembo (55), Nick Martin (72) is overwhelmed by Stephon Tuitt (7), and Manti Te’o came around the outside with Ishaq Williams.
1:03 — Hendrix hangs in and throws a strike to Brown, who makes a big play against what looks like the No. 1 defense.
1:07 — Ishaq Williams (11) beats freshman Ronnie Stanley for what would’ve been a sack on Hendrix.
1:13 — File this one under Unstoppable: Eifert beats Jamoris Slaughter (26) on a well thrown ball with a perfect pattern and nifty one-handed catch.
1:18 — Te’o with what would’ve been a big-time tackle for loss against George Atkinson (4). A healthy season from big No. 5 would be mighty fun to watch.
1:20 — Watching Everett Golson run in the open field is a lot of fun. Watching him hold the football like a loaf of bread isn’t.
1:26 — All-American Te’o breaks up a pass aimed at All-American Eifert. Then gets a little air-bump from defensive coordinator Bob Diaco.
1:32 — This time it’s Prince Shembo that beats Stanley around the left edge, with Tuitt and Te’o coming on strong as well. It may be against the reserve offensive line, but there looks to be plenty of speed in this Irish pass rush.
1:37 — Great deep ball by Golson to Eifert, who beats Jalen Brown on the go route. That was Cierre Wood running a deep route down the seam as well.
1:44 — Hendrix hits Ferguson for a nice gainer.
1:47 — Golson looks off Niklas in the flat and finds Eifert deeper down the field. Sign me up for more packages with those two on the field together.
1:52 — Atkinson tries to run against the first-team defense.
1:57 — Bravo to the camera man for hanging in there with 6-foot-7, 260-pound Troy Niklas rumbling towards him out of bounds. Braver man than I am.
2:01 — Give Robby Toma (9) a 20-yard head start and nobody can cover him. Don’t blame Zeke Motta (17).
2:08 — Either that’s a repeat of earlier, or Chris Brown beat Josh Atkinson on another deep ball. (On a repeat viewing, it’s not a re-run. That’s just another impressive rep by the true freshman.)
Photo property of Matt Cashore