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Practice Report Breakdown: Day Six

Aug 13, 2013, 11:15 AM EDT

Chris Watt,  Zack Martin

As the second week of camp begins, positional battles are starting to take shape. At cornerback, any thoughts that Lo Wood could make a run at KeiVarae Russell’s starting job were put on ice yesterday by head coach Brian Kelly, who called Russell the clearcut starter. At quarterback, it’s looking very obvious that a 1-2-3 pecking order is being established, with fans of Malik Zaire likely waiting until ’14 for a chance to see him if all goes according to plan.

With interesting battles at safety, offensive line, running back and inside linebacker all continuing to play out, let’s get into the way-too-detailed breakdown of yesterday’s practice report courtesy of

0:13 — Great texture to Jack Nolan‘s ND golf shirt, with the face of getting a sneaky weather report in while teeing up the action. (For those sticklers, I am aware that Jack’s calling this the 8th practice while we’re calling it Day Six. I’m guessing it’s because the team did two two-a-day sessions.)

0:30 — It’s Sheldon Day breaking the team down before they get to work. A day after writing about Brian Kelly’s heaps of praise for the sophomore defensive end, I continue to be fascinated by what Day’s emergence could mean for this defense as a whole.

(Friend of the program, Rotoworld’s Evan Silva, compared Day to current Bengals star Geno Atkins. That’s high praise, and there are a lot of similarities between the two of them, including body type.)

From a personnel perspective, Day could add to the handful opposing coaches face when dealing with the Irish front seven. Everybody knows about Stephon Tuitt and Louis Nix, but sleeping on Prince Shembo is a mistake, and today’s video gives you an idea of the improvement of Ishaq Williams. Throw in a wildcard like Jaylon Smith, who could come off the edge with 4.4 speed, and the Irish might have their most vaunted pass rush in years.

0:44 — Almost on cue, Prince Shembo and Day run a defensive line stunt that gets Shembo to the fictional quarterback in a hurry. With Prince in a three point stance, it looks like Day would slide inside, giving the Irish the opportunity to have Day, Tuitt and Nix all be interior pass rushers while Ishaq Williams could slide down to the other end position.

0:49 — TJ Jones makes a nice catch on a deep ball to the end zone. We don’t have the benefit of seeing who actually threw the pass, but whoever did has nice touch.

0:55 — Sophomore receiver Chris Brown takes a quick pass from Tommy Rees and cuts up field. (That ball will likely come out faster during the actual games.)

0:57 — Fancy editing won’t slow me down: Walk-on Nick Fitzpatrick (38), Luke Massa (14), Corey Robinson (88), freshman Will Fuller (15), Massa again, and CJ Prosise (20) make catches.

1:01 — All-American Zack Martin (70) wins another one-on-one rep with Stephon Tuitt (7) in a pass rushing drill. (A quick soap box speech. Just because you’ve seen three reps of Tuitt vs. Martin this spring, all of which seemed like Martin victories, doesn’t mean anything is wrong with Tuitt. It could just mean that Martin is very, very, very good. Again, these are the problems with practice videos. One guy looking good means another guy looks bad.)

1:05 — Prince Shembo hunts for a quarterback. Cam McDaniel (33) bursts through a nice hole. Freshman wideout James Onwualu (17) has an inside step on Jalen Brown and beats him for the catch. Andrew Hendrix (12) pulls the ball down and runs. (Interestingly, he’s taking live hits.)

1:12 — Justin Utupo (53) gets stood up by a blocker. (Tough to tell who.)

1:16 — Here’s another good look at freshman wideout Will Fuller (15). You can tell he needs to put a little meat on his bones, but the staff thinks they’ve got a guy who can run the top off a zone that also catches everything.

1:21 — That’s an explosive rep by Ishaq Williams (11), beating what looks like Ronnie Stanley (78) off the edge, with a little help from Jarron Jones (94).

1:26 — That’s a really impressive move by Kona Schwenke (96), blowing by Christian Lombard (74) and getting to the quarterback.

(While listening to Irish Sports Daily’s Power Hour podcast last week, analyst Sean Mele pointed out that Lombard’s troubles come when he stops moving his feet. That looked to be the case again here, though credit Schwenke for a nice move as well.)

1:32 — Chris Brown (2) beats Max Redfield (10) off the jam in man coverage and connects on a deep throw. Redfield bit hard on the inside move, helping Brown get separation. It’s doutbful a young safety ever gets put on an island in man coverage, but the silver lining seems to be Redfield’s speed, as he caught up with Brown, who might be the fastest guy on the roster.

1:38 — There’s some nice zip on that deep out by Tommy Rees to TJ Jones.

1:42 — A lot of contact between Onwualu and KeiVarae Russell (6) on a pass that sails incomplete. From a defensive perspective, that’s a nice rep by Russell. From an offensive perspective, Onwualu might deserve a flag for contact down field. But it’s good to see Russell get physical with a bigger receiver, giving credence to the reports that Russell is bigger, stronger and more comfortable in man coverage.

1:50 — Center Nick Martin (72) does a nice job handling Louis Nix (1) in the trenches. We’ll get into it more later today, but it seems like Kelly already feels really comfortable with Martin at center.

1:53 — Matthias Farley (41) takes CJ Prosise (20) to the ground. Ishaq Williams (11) gets to the edge against Troy Niklas (85) in a pass rush drill. James Onwualu (17) and KeiVarae Russell (6) do battle in the open field. Isaac Rochelle (90) battles Ronnie Stanley (78). Lo Wood (23) stays tight on Davaris Daniels (10), before Daniels gets inside and makes the catch.

2:02 — That’s freshman Greg Bryant (1) cutting to daylight before being tackled, while fellow freshman Tarean Folston (25) makes a catch out of the backfield.

2:06 — Another Zack Martin (70) and Stephon Tuitt (7) battle. Martin holds up once again, though he gave up some room to Tuitt.

2:10 — That’s the type of explosive pass rush Irish fans want to see out of Ishaq Williams (11) as he blows by Ben Koyack (18) to the inside.





  1. NotreDan - Aug 13, 2013 at 11:18 AM

    YES! More video.

    18 Days boys.


    • NotreDan - Aug 13, 2013 at 11:24 AM

      I don’t know whether to be REALLY happy about Martin, or a little worried about Tuitt. My other thought is that CBK might be limiting video for competitive purposes?

      • lambda02750 - Aug 13, 2013 at 2:59 PM

        I think Martin v Tuitt is fighting fire with fire… agree with the article that those 1 on 1 battles just show how good Martin is because Tuitt is an absolute beast. If Martin can wrangle him, he can wrangle anyone. Tuitt will be on full display once he is paired up with someone not named Z. Martin. Good signs for both to be honest!

    • dickasman - Aug 13, 2013 at 4:08 PM

      Dan, try Trust me, they’ve got some great ones there!

  2. dickasman - Aug 13, 2013 at 12:46 PM

    I wasn’t really that impressed by lo wood anyways. Russell clearly outplayed him and should be the starter. Kid has a nose for the ball, whether be run or pass play. I

  3. jommy995 - Aug 13, 2013 at 1:18 PM

    I’m predicting another unbelievable year. Key ingredients are great coaching staff and time/continuity. If I’m right, how many All Americans at year’s end? Nix, Tuitt, Martin for sure. Jackson? Shembo? Farley? Day? TJ? Watt? Carlisle? Maybe I’m koolaid drunk, but none of those guys would surprise me. Haven’t felt like this since ’93.

  4. blowedout - Aug 13, 2013 at 2:15 PM

    Another burgeoning star: Keith Arnold. Great job with the updates! You’re quickly becoming my go to site for nd football.

    • Keith Arnold - Aug 13, 2013 at 2:34 PM

      Thanks! Only five seasons in the making…

      • bernhtp - Aug 13, 2013 at 2:53 PM

        I hope you apply to the NCAA for your sixth year of eligibility. Though they may be busy with Manziel.

      • lambda02750 - Aug 13, 2013 at 3:01 PM

        You’ve been my go to for quite awhile a ND fan living in OK, I greatly appreciate your efforts! IRISH!

      • dickasman - Aug 13, 2013 at 4:14 PM

        Annnnnd reporting once again live from Keith’s gluteus Maximus isssss. Blowedout, I kid I kid. More than anything else, Keith seems to be a great person. I wish him the best because of that. I also appreciate that he doesn’t call everything right down the middle.

        So tell us Keith, are you a republican or democrat?

  5. fnc111 - Aug 13, 2013 at 2:59 PM

    Notre Dame. 2013 National Champs! It does feel better now on the rose color glasses side.

    • bernhtp - Aug 13, 2013 at 3:27 PM

      The blood running down the back of your leg wasn’t as much fun as you thought it would be, huh?

      • dickasman - Aug 13, 2013 at 4:19 PM

        Bern I did not know that fnc was a female. Thanks for that revelation. FNC, when you bleed, please put the pads on, thank you ma’am.

    • andy44teg - Aug 13, 2013 at 3:36 PM

      Life is too short, fnc.

    • don74 - Aug 13, 2013 at 4:48 PM

      Don’t be fooled, the over/under for a “Kelly’s a jerk and the sky is falling” is Friday. I’m taking the under.

  6. ndgoldandblue - Aug 13, 2013 at 3:43 PM

    “…with fans of Malik Zaire likely waiting until ’14 for a chance to see him if all goes according to plan.” That would be a bad plan if you ask me. I’m not saying the kid should start, but he, not Hendrix, should be the one getting the snaps in mop-up duty. If he redshirts, our choices next year at quarterback will be between a guy who hasn’t played a college game since Jan. 2013 (Golson), a guy who hasn’t played a college game…period (Zaire), and a guy who hasn’t even taken a college class (Kizer).Yikes.

    • dickasman - Aug 13, 2013 at 4:39 PM

      I say put him in there some. What da hell is the point of red shirting at nd? half the guys can’t make it through 2 years. Throw him out there some in certain situation. lets see what he can do.

      Golson returning is no guarantee. Golson returning and playing good is no guarantee. Get in there kid show me your ball son!

    • mdirish - Aug 13, 2013 at 9:22 PM

      I agree that MZ should be very involved in the offence this year and get as many reps in practice as possible. More importantly he needs to play in some games for 2 reasons. One is the obvious as you pointed out but the 2nd is to help recruiting a QB next year. Not many guys are going to want to come here considering Golson may have 3 years left, Malik 4 and Kizer 4.

      • irishpuma - Aug 13, 2013 at 11:51 PM

        Golson will only have 2 yrs left. He loses a season for the expulsion.

    • irishpuma - Aug 13, 2013 at 11:50 PM

      Amen gold and blue Amen. That is what I have been a proponent of the whole time. Regardless of my TR distaste I don’t want to be in the same boat next year and I am more than willing grinding a year out with an eye towards the future because I do not believe TR can lead us to the promised land. Hendrix and TR are lame ducks and we at least need to invest some time with MZ!

  7. seadomer - Aug 13, 2013 at 5:36 PM

    Nix, Tuitt, Day = No Touch Downs

    I agree ndgandb, we need Z at QB for mop up or even change of pace when we are up by 3 tds …so next year we have 2 QBs with playing time to chose from.

    Hell, put in Nix at QB for a change.

  8. mdirish - Aug 13, 2013 at 9:06 PM

    Not to suck up to Keith any more but this has been my go to site for ND football for the past 3 years. Also my place for entertainment and insight thanks to the likes of guys like Nude, Bern, Don74 and more.

  9. dutch31 - Aug 13, 2013 at 9:36 PM

    The fact that they have now shown Zach Martin absolutely dominating Tuitt 3 different times is no coincidence. I love Tuitt, but coaches sending him a message to step it up. Maybe Tuit resting on his laurels a bit too much.

    Go Irish!!!

    • hbmichael9 - Aug 14, 2013 at 12:50 PM

      Little dutchy – This is an example of my fellow over-___ (fill in the blank… excited, depressed, optimistic, pessimistic) ND fans. We have seen 3 clips of Tuitt, approved by the ND staff, out of likely 1000s of reps. He is fine. He will be fine.

      • dutch31 - Aug 14, 2013 at 6:42 PM

        I agree with you. There has to be many shots of Tuitt dominating someone in drills. So why do they pick those 3?? Plus I dont wish I was little, but would love to lose 50 lbs.

        Go Irish!!!

  10. camimfajardo - Aug 14, 2013 at 12:46 AM

    I always enjoy reading these articles. Great Job!

  11. irishdog80 - Aug 14, 2013 at 1:57 PM

    It is great to see great talent going against great talent. The Tuitt-Martin battles are great for both. From the looks of it, the two snippets of action might actually be the same battle with the second one being a closer in version of the first one. What do you think? If not, Tuitt needs to work on some new moves. That said, they are just a small sample size of many. I would rather have other teams look at a video of Martin winning battles than video of Martin losing battles. Even the best d-linemen in the country will get only a sack per game… o-linemen should “win” most of the battles.

  12. tsombanj - Aug 14, 2013 at 8:05 PM

    Great points on Zaire. I think he needs reps now. But that has always been the problem with QB at Notre Dame. They never give a viable backup the needed experience for him to play well when it counts. Handing the ball off in mop up duty with 3 mins lef in the game doesn’t cut it.

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