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Practice report breakdown: Day Three

Aug 7, 2013, 11:11 PM EST

Notre Dame Football Practice

With shoulder pads and helmets on, the intensity seems to have been ratcheted up at Shiloh Park, the site of Notre Dame’s first week of training camp. And while we’ll get to the practice video breakdown, head coach Brian Kelly encapsulated the mission for today at the very end of the video, where he all but threw down the gauntlet. 

“We’ve got great guys, there’s no doubt about that,” Kelly said to his troops. “But we need tough guys. This is football. It’s a damn tough sport. And it takes guys that have to separate what happens on this field from what happens off this field.”

With the first day of collisions likely being interspersed with some Kumbaya and team-building, Kelly likely made sure that the two hours spent on the field carries the intensity levels needed to form the identity of this team. 

Let’s take a look at the video, with a comprehensive breakdown of what we’re seeing.

0:15 — That’s more like it, Jack Nolan. Gotta get that weather report in during the first thirty seconds or you really aren’t trying…

0:38 — From a motivational point-of-view, nothing gets a football team going more than an open question about the team’s toughness. Here’s a good look at Kelly pulling a few time-tested strings, and doing it with the type of respect that inspires a team.

0:58 — Either Carlo Calabrese is a really great clapper, or he’s taken on a pretty impressive leadership role with the team. He’s broken down the team in just about all of these videos.

1:06 — Troy Niklas (85) vs. Ishaq Williams (11). That’s a lot of man on display and Niklas gets the best of Ishaq, no slight on the Irish OLB. Considering Niklas was learning to block on the fly, this season could be a true breakout for the 270-pound tight end, who 20 years ago would’ve been a high first-round draft pick at left tackle at that size. 

1:10 — On the flip side, here’s Romeo Okwara (45) taking the heat to Alex Welch (82). That’s a mighty large outside linebacker for a kid that is still a few days from turning 18.

If Notre Dame could find a way to preserve a year of Okwara’s eligibility, especially with the outside linebacker depth chart so stout, it would be amazing to see how Okwara continues to grow. That said, keeping him off the field might not be an option.

1:15 — And now for the young pups. Freshmen Durham Smythe (80) and Jaylon Smith (9) battle in the trenches, with Smith looking fairly stout for a guy many worried needed to put on weight in a hurry. As you can see, defensive line coach Mike Elston is fired up after Smith’s rep.

1:21 — Might be another rep (or another angle) of Niklas vs. Williams, with Hercules looking the part.

1:25 — You might as well put this on Zack Martin‘s All-American highlight reel. Stonewalling fellow All-American Stephon Tuitt in one-on-one pass rush drills.

No, Martin doesn’t have the prototype left tackle size. But he’s going to make an NFL team very happy for the next 10 years, and he deserves to be in the national awards conversation this year.

1:29 — Don’t look now, but that’s another impressive rep by Isaac Rochelle (90), who puts a nifty move on fellow freshman Steve Elmer (79) as he blows by him. Looks like ND has a guy that’s going to do some damage sooner than later in Rochelle.

1:34 — Kona Schwenke (96) blows by Mark Harrell (75) in a powerful rep. Lost in the shuffle a bit last year, Schwenke looks really fit and strong in the limited reps we’ve seen so far. (Literally two or three, but isn’t this where we’re supposed to jump to conclusions?)

1:39 — In case you were worried about Andrew Hendrix‘s (12) arm strength, this deep comeback route to the sidelines should remind you that a cannon has never been Hendrix’s problem.

Nice job getting separation by freshman James Onwualu (17), beating good coverage by KeiVarae Russell (6), though I’m not sure he came down with the football in bounds. (In many ways, maybe this rep encapsulates Hendrix’s first three seasons in South Bend.)

1:49 — Our first look at Jarron Jones (94), who does his best to do some damage to the blocking sled. 

1:52 — Ben Koyack (18) runs a nice route against air. It wasn’t too long ago where Koyack had the same type of upside potential as Kyle Rudolph or Tyler Eifert. After a disappointing sophomore season where Koyack got lost in the shuffle and lost confidence after a few early drops, expect him to have a bounce back season.

1:56 — It’s a nice open field run by Cam McDaniel (33) breaking into the secondary against what looks like the No. 2 defense.

2:01 — George Atkinson (4) takes a handoff from Tommy Rees and follows the inside blocking of what looks like his starting offensive line. Once he gets to the secondary, it’s not hard to see what’s so tantalizing about GA3’s speed. He’s a home run threat every time he touches the ball.

2:04 — Hendrix connects with Chris Brown (2) in front of Jalen Brown (21).

2:07 — Freshman Malik Zaire (8) delivers a nice pass to the flat and Will Mahone (32).

2:10 — Steve Elmer wins a rep against recruiting walk-on DL Marquis Dickerson (92).

2:13 — Hendrix hits TJ Jones (7) on the quick out cut. (Do I smell a QB controversy? Hint: No.)

2:16 — TJ Jones turns around DBs Cole Luke (3) and Eilar Hardy (4) with some fancy footwork, though it appears acting referee Brian Kelly signals the catch out of bounds. (Bonus footage — watching Jones nearly run into the forest after the catch.)

2:25 — It’s not lip service when Brian Kelly talks about throwing Malik Zaire into the deep end. Here the freshman quarterback throws a nice route to Davaris Daniels (10), who makes the catch in traffic.

2:30 — That beanpole running patterns is Corey Robinson (88), planting his foot in the ground and beating Josh Atkinson (24) and Austin Collinsworth (28). From the sound of Chuck Martin‘s voice, that throw was delivered by Rees.

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  1. 25kgold - Aug 7, 2013 at 11:48 PM

    I’ve said it before, players aside, our biggest X factor this year (and every year hopefully) will be coach BK & Co.! This coaching staff IS the best in the country!!! One thing BK has shown, is that when he makes a mistake, he owns up to it and gets better!! That National Championship Game–yes, we were just “happy to be there”, and given well over a month to prepare still wasn’t enough time to get ready for the big lights. NOT THIS YEAR! This staff knows how to coach up these young men and they will be ready this year…EVERY GAME!

  2. 25kgold - Aug 7, 2013 at 11:55 PM

    Isaac Rochelle might be our BEST D-Linemen by years end!! (sounds crazy now…Just watch)

    • ibleedirish - Aug 8, 2013 at 10:17 AM

      Thumbs up for optimism, but c’mon, Tuitt and Nix are first rounders. That said, I really like what we have heard about Rochelle. As in, very little. He wasn’t interested in the recruiting hype, didn’t care about the all-star game circuit and isn’t a twitter star. Seems like a great kid, and is looking like a beast, really quick with the size to play from day one. Makes me feel better about losing Tuitt after this year (possibly). Redfield, Smith, Luke, Bryant, Folston, Zaire really all seem to fall into that RKG category thus far. Low profile guys that are more go than show. Exciting time to be an Irish fan.

      • lambda02750 - Aug 8, 2013 at 2:23 PM

        Way to stick your foot in the ground…nice route Corey Robinson!

  3. 25kgold - Aug 8, 2013 at 12:00 AM

    I hope those extra pounds on Tuitt will end up being a good thing. -_-

    • nudeman - Aug 8, 2013 at 9:34 AM

      Speaking of extra lbs, BK … mix in a salad now and then, bro.

      • ibleedirish - Aug 8, 2013 at 10:19 AM

        Ya, he looked slimmer last year after his back surgery, but has packed it back on since. Of course, I could use a salad or two as well.

      • clearwall - Aug 8, 2013 at 2:31 PM

        Still trying to fill in Chaz’s old seat.

      • nudeman - Aug 8, 2013 at 4:15 PM

        I remember Fasano talking about how CW tipped him off to some amazing place in Jersey that had the best meat ball sandwiches.

        All I could think of was wtf is CW doing eating meatball sandwiches after a gastric bypass? Maybe BK discovered that place too. And took Tuitt with him.

  4. irishpuma - Aug 8, 2013 at 1:15 AM

    Zaire!

  5. yogihilt - Aug 8, 2013 at 6:42 AM

    Keith, can you please get the Vanderdoesn’t photo off the front page of the articles section… I think we’re all tired of looking at it. Great work, Go Irish

  6. gtizzo - Aug 8, 2013 at 9:27 AM

    I’m a huge Zack Martin fan. He is going to create some draft buzz with his play this season.

  7. dudeacow - Aug 8, 2013 at 10:11 AM

    Oh Tuitt… STOP EATING TWINKIES AND LOSE 20 POUNDS, ALRIGHT? Clowney has worked hard and runs a 4.46 now. You used to run a 4.5. What do you run now? A 6.7? You look fat, man. Stop copying Big Lou. Noseguards can be fat. Defensive ends can’t.

  8. tonyricearoni - Aug 8, 2013 at 11:27 AM

    FYI, Romeo Okwara turned 18 in June. Still, that’s incredibly young for a college sophomore.

  9. clearwall - Aug 8, 2013 at 2:30 PM

    Im just going to go ahead and say it…TJ Jones is even better than he was last year. Look out for an all-american year from that kid. Wow.

  10. 25kgold - Aug 8, 2013 at 2:51 PM

    I think Tuitt and Eddie Lacy decided to hook up after the national championship game and become dinner buddies! ^_^

  11. 25kgold - Aug 8, 2013 at 2:58 PM

    I just heard that bama (pardon the lowercase) is now including the contract amounts of their recent NFL draftees when they recruit, as apart of their “pitch” to get kids to go there. Just b/c your first round draft picks get paid high amounts doesn’t mean you can guarantee or showcase these big paydays to unproven high school players!! Pathetic if true! -_-

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