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Practice Report Breakdown: Weekend edition

Aug 18, 2013, 8:36 PM EDT

Carlo Calabrese, KeiVarae Russell, Bennett Jackson

Things are starting to shake out as the season gets closer and closer. Just like every team, the Irish are getting their share of bad breaks. In addition to Danny Spond’s serious injury, Brian Kelly announced that Tony Springmann suffered a high ankle sprain, keeping him out against Temple.

True freshman linebacker Doug Randolph will miss the season as well, having surgery to repair a shoulder injury that he brought with him to South Bend. Randolph was a redshirt candidate to start with, but the front seven numbers aren’t quite where Kelly and company want them yet.

Much more to dig into this week, but let’s walk through yesterday’s practice report.

0:20 — Jack Nolan reports it’s the fifteenth practice of training camp. With “installation” all but complete, expect the depth chart to start working itself out shortly as the team begins preparation for Temple.

0:44 — Senior Prince Shembo gets really into breaking the team down, adding a bit more flair to the daily standard. Shembo is a downright terrifying football player.

1:09 — An interesting passing drill being worked on here, as Tommy Rees (11) hits Davaris Daniels (10) with an outside shoulder pass. Ball placement seems to be the key here and Rees puts the throw in perfect position.

1:11 — It looks like Romeo Okwara (45) is working on his drops into coverage, with Bob Diaco doing his best to play quarterback. With Danny Spond injured, it could mean more time for Okwara, who did slide over to the weak side of the field early last year when Spond was out.

1:13 — Tommy Rees steps up into the pocket and delivers a strong throw to Troy Niklas for a red zone touchdown.

1:17 — Rees hits TJ Jones on a crossing route in traffic.

1:21 — Bennett Jackson breaks up a corner route thrown into the end zone for Luke Massa (14).

1:24 — Davaris Daniels gets a step on Jackson in one-on-one coverage.

1:27 — Rees delivers a bullet to the back of the end zone where freshman Corey Robinson makes an incredible catch. While he still hasn’t suited up or played a game yet for the Irish, Robinson is already putting together a highlight reel filled with circus catches.

1:32 — A very nice play by Jalen Brown (21) breaking up the deep ball headed towards Daniels.

1:35 — It’s tough to make out who delivered the throw, but it’s a perfect one to Daniels who gets a step on Brown this time before Eilar Hardy (4) can come over to help. That’s a big play downfield by the offense.

1:39 — Not the best throw by Rees, who throws behind Jones in a goal line passing drills. 

1:43 — That’s a much better toss by Rees, who delivers a strike on the roll for a big gain. (Maybe to Ben Koyack?)

1:47 — It looks like the Irish ran that play out of the pistol formation, with Rees in the shotgun and handing it to George Atkinson (4). Shembo came crashing off the edge like a man on fire.

It looks as if Jaylon Smith has slid into the starting lineup, running with the No. 1 defense in this rep.

1:54 — We’re getting quite a serving of red zone reps here, with Rees throwing a strike to Chris Brown (2) for six points. 

1:57 — Another nice catch by Davaris Daniels, who comes right into your living room as he nearly takes out the camera man.

2:00 — Corey Robinson lined up on the outside and Amir Carlisle (3) lined up in the slot. The Irish could do a lot worse than that… especially with Robinson looking really, really lethal in the limited reps we’ve seen.

That’s the true freshman beating Bennett Jackson deep down the field.

2:05 — Some interesting twists on a standard handoff to George Atkinson, with Daniels coming around end selling the fake.

2:09 — Heckuva play by Lo Wood (23) going up over the top of Chris Brown to break up the pass.

2:10 — It looks like Greg Bryant has some room to work in the middle of the field. A nice run against the No. 1 defense.

2:15 — Eilar Hardy comes down hard in the box and makes a play in the backfield, getting Bob Diaco fired up.

2:22 — That’s another big time catch by Corey Robinson, beating Bennett Jackson again with the circus play. 


  1. onward2victory - Aug 18, 2013 at 8:59 PM

    1:11 – Diaco’s pass… I guess that’s why he coaches defense!

    Can’t wait to see how they use Corey Robinson this year, kid looks amazing!

    • schuey73 - Aug 19, 2013 at 8:52 AM

      I was able to attend the practice and that diving catch in the back of the end zone by Robinson happened right in front of me. The video doesn’t really show it, but Lo Wood had pretty good coverage on him. It was a really good throw, and an even better catch. Every time I watched Robinson, he caught everything thrown to him. Keith is certainly not giving him too much praise, I think he’ll be special.

  2. jerseyshorendfan1 - Aug 18, 2013 at 9:11 PM

    Agree on Robinson, he looks like he may really be something special. TJ dropped his pass but would’ve drawn the flag. I can’t look at GAIII without thinking “pad level”. Daniels seems very fluid in his moves with a great pair of hands. I think we’ll be ok with our receiving corps and Rees looks, dare I say it, very sharp in this video. Getting excited to see what this offense can do.

  3. 25kgold - Aug 18, 2013 at 9:22 PM

    People (on this board, mind you…) thought I was crazy awhile back for saying Corey Robinson will be better than Michael Floyd–guess I look less crazy with every video footage that passes. -_-

  4. jerseyshorendfan1 - Aug 18, 2013 at 9:24 PM

    Also, with regard to the last play shown on the video, IF Tommy didn’t have his red jersey on and IF this was a game situation, the very next footage would’ve been BK trying to decide who is going into the game for Rees. He would’ve been blasted by whoever that was that a had an unobstructed path to the QB. Jeez I hope we don’t see that too early in the year.

    • goirishgo - Aug 18, 2013 at 10:07 PM

      Pretty sure that was Shumate. And as much as I also don’t want to see Tommy in that situation I can’t wait to see Elijah lay the lumber to a Wolverine or two in 20 days. Not that I’m counting down or anything….

      Go Irish!

      • ohioirish - Aug 19, 2013 at 10:42 AM

        @jersey, I have to agree with your assessment, but I am pretty sure the last pass in the video was made by Hendrix. Look a little closer and you will see 12, not 11 on the jersey. Doesn’t change the fact that Shumate had a clear path to the QB, but AH is a little bigger than TR and might be able to take that kind of contact.

        Go Irish. 12 days.

  5. 25kgold - Aug 18, 2013 at 9:39 PM

    Next year, I can see Corey Robinson & Davaris Daniels on the field together…You can pick your poison at whoever is slot receiver and tight end! Scary!!

  6. mediocrebob - Aug 18, 2013 at 10:21 PM

    A little premature comparing Corey Robinson to an all-time great at Notre Dame in Mike Floyd. Especially on just a few clips from spring and fall practices.

    • 1historian - Aug 19, 2013 at 9:28 AM

      Good ;point – we’ll have to attribute it to the well-known malady of PSO – pre-season optimism.

  7. ndgoldandblue - Aug 18, 2013 at 10:22 PM

    Have to play the role of Debbie Downer for a second. Keith mentioned the injury issues as of late, and I’m starting to worry about any problems the Irish might have with quality depth. How much trouble will Notre Dame be in if a couple (or any) more guys go down? Yes, yes, I know. That’s not for a fan to worry. That’s for the coaches. They get paid to worry about these things.

    But I just keep thinking back to that class of 2012. Indeed, it was talented, but it was also thin with just 17 commits. And of those commits, only 12 could contribute to this year’s squad. Ferguson, Neal, Shepard, and Kiel are gone, and Baratti is out for the year with an injury. The 24 commits to this year’s class was huge (well, 23 now that Vanderdoesn’t is out), but the Irish are going to need another big class next year to rebuild the quality depth.

    And on the topic of depth, I’m reminded of a d-line recruit from a couple years ago that the Irish liked at first (in fact, they offered him a scholarship), but they rescinded the scholarship because he didn’t fit their preference for height and weight. He was still a four-star recruit, so I didn’t understand the point of walking away. I think they were holding out for a bigger fish at the time (which they got, I think), but why not go for both of them? This is where you build depth.

    If you don’t pull the trigger because there are more appealing prospects out there, you might end up empty-handed when Signing Day comes. If a good-looking girl asks you to the prom, it’s not always the wisest choice to turn her down because you think you’re a catch and you’re holding out for the prom queen. After all, she’s got the pick of the litter, and you’re just one guy. I don’t know…as a fan, I just don’t want to see a bunch of Luke Massas (quarterbacks playing different positions yet never seeing the field) because the staff feels the need to recruit one or more quarterbacks a year. Maybe he could help on the d-line.

    • NotreDan - Aug 19, 2013 at 12:10 AM

      For real dude, go downtown and buy a blowjob, you’ll feel SO much better

      • dickasman - Aug 19, 2013 at 2:47 AM

        WHAT? Blow job for sale? WHERE? Address? Phone number?

      • ndgoldandblue - Aug 19, 2013 at 9:49 AM

        Whoa…I guess that puts me in my place. No need for one of those, but you’re right, I should probably just take a break from commenting on Keith’s entries. I don’t want to go the route of fnc after all. Temple’s not for another two weeks. See you fellas then.

      • dickasman - Aug 19, 2013 at 12:15 PM

        Tell me where can I buy a blowjobs guys, PLEASE!!!

  8. irishaggie - Aug 18, 2013 at 11:21 PM

    And I thought we were doing great with injuries…… Oh well that’s part of the game. We’re fortunate it hasn’t been one the big guys. Corey will be a situational guy. Sideline and red zone guy. He’s not bulky enough to go across the middle yet, and BK has addressed that. When he gets bigger he will be a load to defend.

    • notredameirish1980 - Aug 19, 2013 at 4:48 AM

      Is that ‘situation’ making Bennett Jackson look bad? This kid is repeatedly beating one of the better cornerbacks in the next NFL draft in practice highlights. I think it will be hard to keep him off the field if this keeps up.

  9. blowedout - Aug 18, 2013 at 11:25 PM

    Have you seen Massa lately? He probably could play the dline.

    On a more serious note, I believe it’s mahone who has the high ankle sprain and is in danger of missing the opener. However, I believe Springman has a knee injury and is in danger of missing the entire season. Kelly said in his presser that he’d have info next time he speaks to the media, but that we’d would probably get the scoop before that.

    • martyhealy - Aug 19, 2013 at 8:54 AM

      Springman would be a loss. I think we need depth at the Nose.

      Oh well, probably a week left of hard contact practice. Keeping my fingers crossed.

      My thought on Massa was that he might switch back to QB with only three.
      Probably will if a QB gets hurt.

      At 6’4″ 237, he is bigger than the two incoming freshman TE’s.
      Eifert was 6’6 251.
      Massa would appear a loss as a WR, Not BCS type speed.
      But add a few pizza’s and he looks like that hybrid WR/TE that can cause matchup problems to a defense not knowing if he is intended to be a WR or TE. Kid probably has very good speed for a TE and great hands.

      He still has two years. what a feather in Kelly’s hand if he were to develop Massa. what a feather if TE Univ sent another to the next level. Just speculation!

  10. 25kgold - Aug 19, 2013 at 12:50 AM


  11. 1historian - Aug 19, 2013 at 9:35 AM

    ND has been sending tight ends to the NFL since the 1940s, beginning with Leon Hart, also known for being the last lineman to win the Heisman. There is also Jim Mutscheller, who played for the BALTIMORE Colts way back when.

  12. mediocrebob - Aug 19, 2013 at 9:45 AM

    I’m not arguing whether or not Robinson has beat Bennett Jackson in practice or not. The comparison to Mike Floyd is absurd though.

    • notredameirish1980 - Aug 19, 2013 at 10:37 AM

      I think the comparison would be more along the lines of Jeff Samardja. He was buried on the depth chart until his junior year and then caught everything coming his way with his leaping ability and body control. Based on the limited video and comments from the staff, this is a more valid comparison, though again, a bit too early for any definitive predictions.

      • bernhtp - Aug 19, 2013 at 11:48 AM

        Robinson has always reminded me of Samardzija, though Corey has developed faster than Jeff did. It won’t take two more years for Corey to emerge from the bowels of the depth chart at his current rate.

        He’s not Floyd, though. MMF totally abused defensive backs with his size, speed and strength. He went where he wanted. Corey still needs to put on a bunch of muscle to have anywhere near that capability.

  13. scottatnd - Aug 19, 2013 at 11:35 AM

    I agree. Way to early to compare him to Floyd. But, I sure hope by the end of the year he gives us plenty of reasons to compare.

  14. irishdog80 - Aug 19, 2013 at 2:23 PM

    Imagine if Robinson followed the same growth pattern as his Dad. He could add 4-8″ and end up being unstoppable. David Robinson was 6’6″ in high school and grew to 7′ in college. Has there ever been a 6’10” WR? Harold Carmichael was around 6’8″ and Morris Stroud was around 6’9″ at TE. Talk about a mismatch in the red zone. Even if he does not grow another inch, he is still a big target.

  15. irishspartan1 - Aug 19, 2013 at 8:19 PM

    I see the Michael Floyd comparison, as far as style of play, Michael was so good with his body control and ability to high point the football. I think Robinson has the skill set to be that outside receiver who can win every jump ball, Michael was definitely a way more well rounded receiver who was stronger and faster, however I think Robinson could get close to where Floyd was by his senior season, and this kid is not going to be buried on the depth chart. He will be a situational guy this year and a solid contributor next year. I mean the kid has given Bennett Jackson all he can handle, and Jackson is one helluva football player, not too many guys make bennett look like that. Now I know that we just get little glimpses here and there but dang Robinson is impressive.

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