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Spring Practice: Day Two report breakdown

Mar 5, 2014, 11:33 PM EDT

Greg Bryant

The Fighting Irish took the field Wednesday morning for their second session of spring practice. With two weeks off and the university’s spring break sandwiched between practice two and three, it’s certainly an interesting time for the football program to get work done.

Yet it’s clear that there’s work to be done and the team is eager to get started. After our deep dig into episode one of’s spring coverage, here’s another over-analysis of a spring practice report:

0:08 — Jack is back and rolling in with a vintage Adidas track jacket. Perhaps one of the least discussed parts of the transition from Adidas to Under Armour is Nolan’s wardrobe. Does the Adidas gear just get pitched? Is there some island country that can wear it? It’d be a shame to see all that issue gear go to waste.

0:24 — Head coach Brian Kelly spends a little warm-up time talking with quarterback Everett Golson.

0:31 — New turf in the Loftus Center. Knew it looked spiffy.

0:45 — Took 45 seconds, but Jack didn’t let us down. Another coat of snow for campus this morning. A mighty tough winter. Spring break couldn’t come fast enough for this crew.

1:15 — That wonderful mood music setting the scene for practice? Icescape A by John Charles Fiddy & Sammy Burdson. (Thanks, Shazam.)

1:20 — Let’s start the Greg Bryant (1) highlight reel! Here’s the sophomore running back catching a slant across the middle and breaking into the open field.

1:24 — That’s Will Fuller now wearing TJ Jones’ No. 7 jersey. He gets behind Matthias Farley (41) on a vertical route and makes the catch on a ball that looked pretty well thrown. Lotta speed there.

1:28 — Bryant breaks another long run up the middle!!! Oh wait, everyone’s in shorts and just touching. (Get the paper bag out and start breathing if you find this too exhilarating…)

1:30 — Ishaq Williams (11) goes against Mike McGlinchey (68) in one-on-one drills. McGlinchey holds up until a late move helps Williams get past him.

1:33 — Justin Utupo (53) against Steve Elmer (79). You can see physically how much size Utupo gives up to large interior lineman. But he does a nice job getting up field.

1:35 — Frankly, any catch made by Corey Robinson (88) in spring that doesn’t include acrobatics or a one-handed grab doesn’t rate. But it’s still a pretty smooth route by the rising sophomore, beating Cole Luke (3) who was very tight in coverage.

Not the best highlight to make the claim, but I think Luke is going to be a VERY good cover corner for the Irish.

1:38 — Sheldon Day (91) 1, Christian Lombard (74) 0. That’s a pretty impressive move by Day from an inside spot on the defensive line.

1:40 — Mike Heuerman (9) hits the out cut and makes a nice catch. Heuerman’s a pretty fascinating test case for the undersized tight end. Could he be used as an H-back type of a player? There’s snaps to be had.

1:42 — That’s not gonna get it done, Romeo Okwara (45), who gets stuffed by Ronnie Stanley (78) at left tackle.

1:46 — Blink and you might miss it, but that’s Chase Hounshell (50) going against rising sophomore John Montelus (60). Both appear to be healthy, which is good news.

1:48 — If I swung and missed on a projection last year, it was Amir Carlisle (3). That said, I still think he’s going to be a very productive player for the Irish this season. Getting him in the slot could solve some problems. But Notre Dame’s got to commit to making the slot receiver a priority in the offense, carving out opportunities for Carlisle, Torii Hunter Jr., or whoever ends up winning the job. 

1:50Matthias Farley does his best to earn 15 yards, but Corey Robinson beats him anyway. We haven’t seen Farley’s two best highlights, but it’s still an intriguing position switch that could be a good one.

Farley’s most likely going to be asked to be a Cover 2 cornerback, so you’re not going see him going one-on-one all that often.

1:56Cole Luke baits a bad underneath throw and cuts under Robinson. I think Irish fans would sign up for more of that.

1:58 — That’s redshirt freshman Colin McGovern (62) doing a really nice job standing up Romeo Okwara. That’s an impressive rep from a young player.

2:01 — Tricky pattern by Ben Koyack, who shakes off Max Redfield (10) and gets up field.

2:04 — Notre Dame fans have to be happy seeing Everett Golson outside the pocket, running away from Anthony Rabasa (56) and turning up field to square off with John Turner (31).

2:09 — Wearing two knee braces, you’d think Chase Hounshell was coming off knee surgery, not two shoulder injuries. But he looks athletic getting past Steve Elmer. 

2:19 — Nicky Baratti (29) is back and practicing. Here he takes on Mike Heuerman (9) who makes the catch in front of him on the out route.

2:22 — You can understand why Brian Kelly says his defense doesn’t like tackling Greg Bryant. He looks like a load cutting up field. Any worries about hesitation from Bryant after injuring his meniscus can be forgotten.

2:25 — A nice move upfield by rising sophomore Isaac Rochell (90), getting past McGovern on this rep.

2:29 — Looks like Anthony Rabasa might have gotten a sack there on Everett Golson. Rabasa could be an intriguing wildcard, especially playing as a 4-3 defensive end, a position more in line with his body type and skillset.

2:32 — Brian Kelly teaches Malik Zaire. New quarterback coach Matt LaFleur looks on.

2:40 — Great coverage by Josh Atkinson (24). Better catch by Will Fuller. 



  1. mtflsmitty - Mar 5, 2014 at 11:52 PM

    Off topic. But interesting I thought.

    Some discussion last week re the 2014 defensive front-7. Will ND stick with 3-4, or will VanGorder install the 4-3. The except below from a recent Eric Hansen article (SB Trib) on a 2015 recruit who participated in Junior Day:

    “Through conversations with the coaching staff, the 6-foot-3, 212-pound prospect learned his projection as an out-side linebacker in a new 4-3 defense.
    Neither Kelly nor VanGorder have publicly committed to running a base 4-3 defense, but recruiting pitches like the one reported by Barajas indicate a likely evolution.”

    • onward2victory - Mar 6, 2014 at 4:02 AM

      Looks like Keith answers your question over at his mistress, Bleacher Report.

  2. irishinmich - Mar 6, 2014 at 12:00 AM

    “Is there some island country that can wear it?” That’s gold, Keith. I immediately pictured a dried up riverbed near the equator. A young man in a “2013 Tigers NLCS Champs” shirt catches a chill. What to do? Wisely he pulls on his $235 Adidas ND windbreaker.

    All kidding aside, Bryant is the only part of that vid that moved the needle.

    • irishinmich - Mar 6, 2014 at 12:05 AM

      *ALCS ha! (Thanks again, Prince)

  3. fnc111 - Mar 6, 2014 at 1:45 AM

    If I see Farley on defense I will be shocked. Good luck to him on special teams.

  4. onward2victory - Mar 6, 2014 at 2:08 AM

    One of my people “in-the-know” overheard the following conversations in the locker room after practice:

    Ben Koyak to Max Redfield: “They gave you how many stars??”

    Farley to Coach Kelly: “Can I move back to safety?”

    Jack Nolan to weatherman Al Roker: “are you still going to put in a word for me when you retire??”

    • 4horsemenrideagain - Mar 6, 2014 at 9:21 AM

      wait and see, redfield is no slouch. then again, neither is koyak. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to see koyak average 6-8 catches/game and end the year with over 10 TD(s). the kid can move laterally and get downfield and he has soft hands.

      • onward2victory - Mar 6, 2014 at 11:54 AM

        Yah I think (hope) Redfield will be fine, but the dude got scorched on that route by Koyak. I mean he bit hard. And yah Koyak is no slouch, but he doesn’t have WR speed and quickness.

  5. NotreDan - Mar 6, 2014 at 11:08 AM

    Wow Farley looks slow, which will be a bigger problem at corner than it was at safety. I hope some of the younger guys can be ready in time for the fall.

    • dudeacow - Mar 6, 2014 at 12:28 PM

      He was covering the fastest guy on the roster who was also running a go route…

      • ndirish10 - Mar 6, 2014 at 12:59 PM

        Covering? He looked like he trained with that damn sherman! Grabbing, pulling, mugging on the wr’s jersey just to keep up (at 1:50). And the receiver still caught it!

  6. ibleedirish - Mar 6, 2014 at 2:15 PM

    Wow. Farley.

    Nothing else to say here…

  7. sendmejunk77 - Mar 6, 2014 at 7:46 PM

    Not sure if this is just a practice thing but did anyone else notice we’re not wearing the yellow pants anymore? This gold is a better match for the helmets which admittedly are not the shiny gameday helmets. The pants still have the adidas logo so the change isn’t due to Under Armor but I like it.

  8. knuterocknesghost - Mar 6, 2014 at 9:10 PM

    My “wow” award for this peek at ND’s practice goes to Corey Robinson. Size, hands, concentration, …. can’t wait for the “Little Admiral” to begin making his own statement on the field.

    • knuterocknesghost - Mar 6, 2014 at 9:31 PM

      Second thought, let’s make it Fuller. There is going to be a lot of talent for Golson to throw to this season, including Bryant coming out of the backfield.

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