After taking a serious look at Brian Kelly‘s post practice comments, here’s another closer than healthy look at the UND.com practice report. At this point, thousands of Irish fans are jumping to conclusions based on about thirty plays, handpicked by the FIDM staff and likely approved by the coaches.
Sure, it’s worth looking at, but any conclusion reached here is a faulty one, with the sample size being laughably small and the Irish not wanting to give any secrets away that could help out the opposition. Still, it’s our professional duty to over-analyze just about everything we see here, so I’ll take that badge and wear it with pride.
Without further ado, here’s today’s over-analysis of Thursday’s practice report:
0:30 — Come on, Jack Nolan! Yeah, we want practice highlights — but we need to know about the weather. How about this knowledge bomb: Humidity at Shiloh: 94% Dew Point: 69. Barometric Pressure: 29.91. (Last thing before we stop joking around and get to football… I’m glad we’re done with Shiloh Park or Camp Shiloh, which one is it? I’ll be just fine not mixing that up 40 more times this week.)
0:44 — That’s Amir Carlisle (3) looking the part of a smooth operator, working the position drills with receivers and running backs. The combination of the inside receiver / running backs coaching spot, taken on by Tony Alford, makes a lot of sense for a guy like Carlisle, who will certainly bring some much needed versatility to the position.
0:49 — Speaking of Alford, here he is getting after Cam McDaniel (33) and George Atkinson (4) as they work on some agility drills. In the spirit of looking way too closely at these videos, its interesting to note that the order the backs went through the drill was McDaniel, Atkinson, Carlisle…
0:52 — Swap the music out to something a little bit more racy, and you’ve got yourself a pretty funny ten seconds as we get a close-up of Andrew Hendrix and Tommy Rees‘ respective lower-halves, working their way through cones while wearing stretch shorts. Some excellent calf definition on the boys.
1:03 — Respect the floppy hat on defensive coordinator Bob Diaco, who puts the defensive through some up-downs.
1:07 — That’s outside linebacker Ben Councell (30) getting up and form-tackling in a drill.
1:12 — We’ve got Conor Hanratty (65) and Mark Harrell (75) going head up. Some creative editing gives us multiple looks at Harrell driving Hanratty back (which I think was the intention of the drill, not evidence that Hanratty was put on roller skates.)
1:20 — Starting quarterback Tommy Rees (11) delivers a strike to walk-on Nick Fitzpatrick (38) during 11 on 11 drills. If I’m Fitzpatrick, I’m ripping this video off the web immediately as a time capsule to show my kids one day.
1:24 — It appears the videographer has the same mantra as the coaching staff: Finish the rep. The epic conclusion to the four-part Hanratty vs. Harrell battle finally concludes, ten yards behind where Hanratty started.
1:26 — Big Lou Nix (1) works a pass rush move before trying a strip move on a QB dummy.
1:30 — Carlo Calabrese (44) gets in on the pass rush action, too. I’m going to dig into the game charting and see if Calabrese actually blitzed the quarterback last year.
1:34 — Camp Shiloh Catch of the Week awarded to Troy Niklas (85), who makes an athletic, juggling grab on a pass up the seam from Tommy Rees.
There are a few things worth noting, other than the great use of slo-mo by the FIDM staff. First is the obvious — a very athletic play by Niklas. Second, is the use of Niklas as an down-the-field pass catcher. While he may be built like a left tackle, don’t sleep on Niklas’ athleticism, and he’ll be a weapon in the pass game this season.
(Also the reaction of the team manager is pretty great, dodging a defensive back as he rolls by, while giving him a disapproving look after getting beat for a TD.)
1:42 — That’s an inside screen pass throw to Amir Carlisle. Has Notre Dame found its long coveted Z receiver? We’ll find out in three weeks.
1:45 — Andrew Hendrix and Will Fuller (15) connect on a similar inside route, before Malik Zaire (8) targets Fuller with a pass that’s broken up and then intercepted by Jalen Brown (21). Tough break for the freshman quarterback.
1:52 — Zaire must have rebounded because he makes a nice throw to TJ Jones (7), who beats Brown on a comeback route that Jones went up the ladder to catch.
1:56 — Dare I say that’s an extra gear in a Tommy Rees scramble? The Irish quarterback tucks the ball and runs for the goal line, tapping the speed burst button as he scores the touchdown. (Listen and you can hear offensive coordinator Chuck Martin give a, “Nice Job Tommy Rees!”)