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Practice report breakdown: Day Four

Aug 8, 2013, 11:24 PM EDT

South Florida v Notre Dame Getty Images

After taking a serious look at Brian Kelly‘s post practice comments, here’s another closer than healthy look at the 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!”)


  1. 25kgold - Aug 8, 2013 at 11:43 PM

    Everyone has a chip on their shoulders this year; I like our chances!

    Knuckle Up!

  2. oldschoollyons - Aug 8, 2013 at 11:49 PM

    Not a single video shot of Stanley in four days, yet one of Hanratty going backward on roller skates against Harrell. This on the same day an article appears in which Zack Martin calls Stanley “a freak of nature.” If we’re reading into the video, this might be a good place to do it.

  3. kansasirish - Aug 9, 2013 at 12:15 AM

    I know we’re only 4 days into camp and this far from real game time situations, but it did appear that Tommy “might” have a little burst that we haven’t seen before? Not getting too excited yet since we haven’t seen it in a game atmosphere.

    Nude where you at?

    • nudeman - Aug 9, 2013 at 8:54 AM

      Right here.
      Love Tommy.

  4. dermmite - Aug 9, 2013 at 12:53 AM

    Eyez gots da shizzle and wez getting a 5ize star dfence outa floda. Keps dat on da doun lo.

    • kansasirish - Aug 9, 2013 at 1:09 AM

      Can you please translate that into English?……just saying

    • alsatiannd - Aug 9, 2013 at 12:13 PM

      And, Twas brillig, and the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe: all mimsy were the borogoves, and the mome raths outgrabe, too.

      • nudeman - Aug 9, 2013 at 4:10 PM

        Jesus … is this the Kazakhstan ND board?

  5. onward2victory - Aug 9, 2013 at 2:27 AM

    Haha! I love the frame of the video that Keith chose! He knows we’re all gonna freak out about that scramble by Rees.

    But seriously, dude looked a lot faster! Remember TR was the only player to score a TD in the Michigan game!

  6. irishdog80 - Aug 9, 2013 at 9:19 AM

    Rees does look faster and they didn’t use that “speeded up” look that a lot of youtube highlight videos have. To a certain degree, speed can be “taught” through better strength, conditioning and work. Rees does not have to be fast, he just needs to maximize what he’s got. He did not look like he was running in concrete boots like he did agains Stanford in 2011.

    The real key to Rees being “faster” is whether or not he makes the quick read to the open receiver or if he chooses to lock in on his “favorite” receivers. If he uses the whole field, he will have more guys open and more time to throw. Rees has held on to the ball too long waiting for his guy to get open in the past. The result is 8 men in the box with double coverage on his favorites, the field gets smaller and Rees looks slower. This offense will be better than last year if Rees is a little bit faster with his running and reads. Yes, Golson made some plays, but he also missed some easier opportunities that would have had the same result.

  7. ndgoldandblue - Aug 9, 2013 at 2:02 PM

    I’m a big fan of the Rocky movies, and one of my favorite exchanges came in Rocky 2 between Apollo Creed and his trainer, Tony “Duke” Evers. Apollo asks Tony, “Do you think I won that fight?” Duke’s response: “You got the decision.” To which, Apollo replies, “Man, I won, but I didn’t beat him.” Quite a few games last year left me with this feeling (Purdue, Michigan, Pittsburgh, BYU, Stanford). As a fan, I was always elated with the win, but I didn’t feel I was justified in bragging to my friends about Notre Dame’s return to glory.

    Many of those games showed glaring weaknesses in multiple facets of the Notre Dame football team. For example, in some games, turnovers were a problem. In other games, blocking was the issue. The offense was always…so-so. In short, all five of those games could have gone the other way because the Irish weren’t all that impressive in some part/parts of their game. We were a couple of breaks, here and there, from being a mid-level bowl team, but we got almost every break we needed, and that’s why we ended up in the national championship game. I was fearful, and not nearly as confident as everyone else on this board, going into that game, though. I feared that Alabama would expose the Irish as being a level below them, and I guess the result might allude.

    That’s why I’m remaining much more cautious than everyone else here about this upcoming season. I really don’t know what to think about the Irish. Are we part of the nation’s elite? Or, did we just have the luck of the Irish last year? I guess we’ll find out. I will say this, though: We could be anywhere from 7-5 to 12-0 again at the end of the year, and to quote another great movie, Fight Club, “Neither would surprise me.”

    • seadomer - Aug 9, 2013 at 3:17 PM

      Yup, I concur and feel like you all last season.

      Could we have beaten the red elephants at the NCG, sure … if everybody … like that bad cop in “The Professional” says … that is EV ..ERY … ONE … shows up PLUS luck and also factor in one or two crucial mistake/s by the opponent for it to happen.

      Otherwise, we had very little chance, I was hoping for middle ground … lose but show that we belong.

      Of course, last year and this year alike, Go Irish … and to answer your question We Are Elite.

      • ndgoldandblue - Aug 9, 2013 at 5:46 PM

        Lane Kiffin to Brian Kelly: “My man gets creamed right here on your turf, and the Boilermakers tell me that the lineman was kind of the…Irish type. So we figured that Brian might know something. Wait, yer gonna’ love this. A little walk-on came up to my quarterback with the firm intention of sending him straight to the ground, and do you know who came and sacked the quarterback in the middle of the afternoon, right there in my backfield? The very…same…Irish lineman. I’m dying to meet him.”

  8. seadomer - Aug 9, 2013 at 3:42 PM

    Here’s a way too early hope … cut and dry

    1. NCG with whomever that makes it.
    2. Bowl game with either (loser of SEC championship game) or UCLA

    that’s it. Scenario 1. 13-0 or 12-1
    Scenario 2. 12-1 get it?

  9. fnc111 - Aug 9, 2013 at 6:02 PM

    Tommy. Future Secretary of State.

  10. scottatnd - Aug 9, 2013 at 8:07 PM

    Who is this douchebag fnc111? If he’s not a fan, why waste time here? Life’s too short.

  11. mediocrebob - Aug 9, 2013 at 8:47 PM

    Ahhh! Iove the new guys on here! FNC is a confused lad. Let him vent on here. He’s Blue and gold through and through !

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