Cierre Wood Pitt

Back to football: Practice report video


Can we purge yesterday’s Shamrock Series uniforms and get back to football? Let’s hope so. Until early October, let’s just not speak of that helmet, which can go hide in the corner of the internet with the FreakBass video for all I care.

But on to football!

Yesterday, we got our first (and only) look at the assistant coaches, with local media getting their chance to catch up with the reassembled coaching staff, and a selection of players.

But before that, the Irish practiced inside the Loftus Sports Center. As usual, Jack Nolan and the team were there keeping eyes on everything for us.

Here’s the video. As usual, you’ll get my observations below:



0:15 — The honorable Jack Nolan mentions it’s the 15th practice of fall. By my very amateur calculations, expect the “installation” period of camp to be over. As head coach Brian Kelly mentioned, the Irish begin preparing for Navy on Monday. (As you’ll see later in the video, they might have started already…)

0:38 — Come on Jake Golic (88). You can’t dance along? And what’s up with that big cast on your right hand?

1:08 –Time to wake up, Kapron Lewis-Moore. Time for practice…

1:12 — Enjoy this time of year, Irish fans. Ben Turk (35) still hasn’t missed a punt yet. (Snark over.) Kelly mentioned yesterday that Turk has had a great camp.

1:14 — Set to the soundtrack of a Wes Anderson movie, we see Theo Riddick (6) working on the punt return drills we’ve heard mentioned. The senior will get another shot at returning punts this year, after short-circuiting last season early with a few muffed kicks.

1:26 — Great flow, Bob Diaco.

1:29 — Nice cut and run by Riddick, bursting through a hole.

1:32 — Our first Tommy Rees sighting of the year. The quarterback, exiled for game one, and basically held out of drills for much of camp, hands the ball of to Cierre Wood (20).

1:33 — Rapid fire edits! Tyler Eifert (80) beating Josh Atkinson (43) on the underthrown go-route. TJ Jones (7) beating Lo Wood (23) on the slant. Chris Brown (2) having a pass knocked from his hands by Bennett Jackson (2). Eifert beating Jalen Brown (21). That was so easy it should be illegal.

1:40 — Pass rusher Ishaq Williams (11) would’ve had Everett Golson (5) dead to rights before holding up. Getting some productivity in that area from Williams would be huge.

1:42Andrew Hendrix (12) hits Eifert for a nice gain.

1:47 — That’s Davonte Neal (19) catching the quick out.

1:49Manti Te’o sniffs out another screen pass, laying off George Atkinson (4), instead of putting him into orbit.

1:53 — If the Irish can get more of this out of Davaris Daniels (10), there could be some promise in the passing game this year. That’s just plain and simple beating Jackson one-on-one for a big play.

2:02 — Rapid Fire! Robby Toma (9) trying to put a juke on Ishaq, Golson properly executing the option (?!?) against Romeo Okwara (45), and Kapron Lewis-Moore (89) using Matt Hegarty as a turnstyle on his way to a sack of Hendrix.

2:15 — Is it possible for a wide receiver to be handsy? Well, John Goodman (81) definitely fits the bill, winning the war of hand-checking with Atkinson before making an easy catch on an underthrown ball.

2:17Daniel Smith (87) getting a nice release off the line of scrimmage and beating KeiVarae Russell (6) easily on the slant.

2:30 — Team Up-Downs. One thing I’ll never miss from my football career. And also a good look at part of the No. 1 unit: Shembo, KLM, Kona Schwenke, Stephon Tuitt, Te’o and Ben Councell (30).

2:44Cierre Wood (20) also getting some reps in the return game. Always a showman that Cierre.




Kizer named MVP at annual ECHOES awards

@NDFootball Twitter

DeShone Kizer was named the Monogram Club’s Most Valuable Player for the 2016 season at the 96th annual Notre Dame football awards banquet. Kizer was voted team MVP by his teammates, after throwing for 2,925 yards and 26 touchdowns and rushing for 472 yards and eight scores.

He was one of 15 players honored with an award at the “ECHOES,” with the following accolades being given:

Equanimeous St. Brown, Offensive Player of the Year.
James Onwualu, Defensive Player of the Year
Greer Martini, Next Man In award
Drue Tranquill, Rockne Student-Athlete Award
Cole Luke, Nick Pietrosante Award
Isaac Rochell, Lineman of the Year
Quenton Nelson, Offensive Lineman of the Year
Scott Daly, Special Teams Player of the Year
Alex Bars, Newcomer of the Year, Offense
Nyles Morgan, Newcomer of the Year, Defense
Ben Stuttman, Scout Team Player of the Year, Offense
Jonathan Jones, Scout Team Player of the Year, Defense
Mark Harrell, Father Lange Iron Cross
Tyler Newsome, Irish Around the Bend



Notre Dame names 7 captains for 2017 team

SOUTH BEND, IN - OCTOBER 17: Quenton Nelson #56 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish celebrates after a 10-yard touchdown reception by Corey Robinson against the USC Trojans in the fourth quarter of the game at Notre Dame Stadium on October 17, 2015 in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Notre Dame named seven captains for the 2017 season, the most to wear the ‘C’ in school history. Quarterback DeShone Kizer, linebackers Greer Martini and Nyles Morgan, offensive linemen Mike McGlinchey and Quenton Nelson, safety Drue Tranquill and walk-on receiver Austin Webster were all given the honor.

McGlinchey returns in the role, the 22nd different two-time captain in the program’s history. New to the job are the rest, including Kizer, who has yet to make a decision on if he’ll return for 2017 yet.

After worries about the team’s leadership heading into the 2016, the naming of captains in the immediate aftermath of the season is a change—Brian Kelly not naming his team’s official leaders into August training camp last year. It’s not an unprecedented move for Kelly (he named Harrison Smith and Michael Floyd team captains at the banquet following the 2010 season), though it points to some changes—some subtle, others not—that’ll likely take hold after a four-loss season.

Webster, a rising senior reserve wide receiver from California who has yet to register a stat in a Notre Dame uniform, made his debut as a sophomore in 2015 against UMass, is the first active walk-on to receive the honor.


Irish land blue-chip OL Aaron Banks

Tom Loy, Irish 247

Notre Dame received the commitment of 4-star offensive tackle Aaron Banks on Friday afternoon. Picking the Irish over a national offer list that included Michigan, Tennessee, and local programs USC and UCLA, the 6-foot-7, 335-pound Banks reminded all that even if the Irish only won four games this season, Harry Hiestand is still one of the premier offensive line coaches in the country.

Banks made the commitment from a ceremony at his high school in El Cerrito, California. And when he picked the Irish, he added to Notre Dame’s impressive offensive line haul, joining Dillan Gibbons, Joshua Lugg and Robert Hainsey — a key piece of the puzzle moving forward.

Banks is a consensus 4-star recruit and a Top 200 prospect. He took an official visit to Michigan in November, but has been a long-time target of Hiestand’s, visiting South Bend in September and welcoming Brian Kelly and Hiestand into his home after the USC game.

As a big recruiting weekend gets started at Notre Dame, the annual Echoes Awards will serve as the beginning of an important home stretch for a program without a bowl game. As Kelly still looks to lock in a defensive coordinator, not to mention other staff changes still in the air, Banks takes back some of the lost momentum, a key commitment heading into a holiday dead period before a furious finish leading into the first Wednesday in February.

Banks is No. 18 in the Irish recruiting class. He’s an early-enrollee, ready to hit campus within weeks and compete on the interior of the offensive line during spring ball.

Zaire says thank you to Notre Dame

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - SEPTEMBER 12: Quarterback Malik Zaire #8 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish rushes past defensive end Mike Moore #32 of the Virginia Cavaliers in the third quarter at Scott Stadium on September 12, 2015 in Charlottesville, Virginia. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish won, 34-27. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Big week for The Observer. Not just for its advertising revenues, but for the classy gesture that outgoing senior quarterback Malik Zaire made this week.

Thursday’s edition included a letter to the editor from Zaire, who took to the student newspaper not to make headlines around the internet, but rather to thank the university for his experience in South Bend.

While Zaire’s time at Notre Dame is drawing to a close, he will leave as a proud alum. So while he’ll play football next season at another university, Zaire wrote the following in Thursday’s issue:

Dear Notre Dame students and staff,

My life changed for the better the moment I stepped onto the University of Notre Dame’s beautiful campus. The one goal I had set in my mind to achieve was to become a better man, a Notre Dame man. After growing through many trials and triumphs, the thing I’ve learned most from my experience was that if you don’t believe in yourself first, then no one else will. I believed in becoming a better man and succeeding through any circumstance, and I can say that I’ve truly accomplished that. I often refer to the famous quote from the movie “Catch Me If You Can” that was well put by Frank Abagnale:

“Two little mice fell in a bucket of cream. The first mouse quickly gave up and drowned. The second mouse wouldn’t quit. He struggled so hard that eventually he churned that cream into butter and crawled out.”

I’ve put my heart, soul and passion into the University, the football program, the South Bend community and the Irish community worldwide. I have the unbelievable honor to represent this University to the fullest as a student and soon-to-be alumni. Thank you to the amazing students and staff that I’ve met through the years for helping me grow into the person I’ve always wanted to be. I love the Irish and will always be an Irish alum no matter where I go! I look forward to keeping in touch. Let’s change the world!

Go Irish!

Malik Zaire

Dec. 7

Zaire is expected to compete for a starting quarterback job next year as a graduate transfer. He’s reportedly taken a visit to Wisconsin and plans to visit North Carolina as well, just two of several programs on the radar as Zaire looks to step in and win a starting Power 5 job.