New York Jets Portrait Session

Spring Practice: Practice six breakdown

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After a few quiet days from our friends at UND.com (wonder if they were at home eating cheeseburgers), we had a video explosion yesterday afternoon. So without further ado, let’s get to the over-analysis!

A few things to keep your eyes out for:

  • A great weather breakdown from Jack Nolan.
  • Everett Golson throwing with — and without! — the seams.
  • Comments from Brian VanGorder and Mike Denbrock
  • Some new defensive drills.

Check back in later today for some additional thoughts on Denbrock’s comments from yesterday, but until then let’s start breaking it down and chopping it up.

0:08 — Vintage start by Jack Nolan. And another dusting of snow in South Bend? That can’t make too many people happy. As we look forward to the spring game in a few short weeks, Notre Dame’s sports blogger Aaron Horvath tweeted out a photo of the field, which is still a natural grass surface.

Get the spray paint out. A late spring in South Bend can’t make people too happy.

0:15 — Everett Golson makes that throw without the laces. That doesn’t mean he’s reverted back to the habit of just grabbing the football and throwing it, but rather that it was a quick throw with a zero step drop. When I spoke with George Whitfield a few months back, his tutelage of Golson included throwing with the seams when there’s time and adapting when there isn’t.

0:19 — A nice route by Corey Robinson (88) who catches a ball that was delivered on the money. That’s Max Redfield coming up in skeleton to close in coverage.

0:24 — We get a look at Brian VanGorder (BVG) here, looking the part of a QB. From an apples to apples comparison, VanGorder looks better as a fictional QB than former defensive coordinator Bob Diaco did, though Bob had the presence of a 1940s style whirling dervish, which was always fun.

0:28 — And there’s our look at Mike Denbrock. One of the more interesting subplots with the transition to Denbrock’s leadership will be his organizational skills directing the offense. No, he’s not calling plays. But he’s got a lot of responsibility as the unit leader while continuing to coach the wideouts.

0:39 — By the look on the faces of the reporters, Denbrock must’ve just gotten done telling a joke.

1:11 — VanGorder brings up an interesting point in that he only watched the Irish film to evaluate personnel, not to understand the scheme and assignments.

If you want a datapoint that tells an awful lot about Brian Kelly, it’s that he’s willing to bring in a coordinator with a very different philosophy on defense and let him install his system, rather than forcing him to fit what Kelly has done successfully for four seasons.

“No matter what you do, you need to succeed,” VanGorder tells Nolan. “We’ll be different, but the expectations will be the same.”

2:14 — Golson throwing with the seams. Crisis averted.

2:20 — Joe Schmidt, Notre Dame’s starting middle linebacker? Man — I’m honestly excited for the 400 features we see on him next year. The New Rudy!!! (Except good at football!)

2:23 — This is an interesting new drill, and I like the addition of the ball to simulate keeping blockers off the feet. Well executed by Jaylon Smith, who might just be the best looking player in an Irish uniform since Justin Tuck.

2:30 — After BVG gives some instruction, we see John Turner (31) go through the drill. He’s a pretty thick kid. What an interesting transition he’ll have. Physically he looks the part, it’ll be up to his instincts and ability once the game is real.

2:35 — Chris Brown (2) takes a rep.

2:38 — Lefty Malik Zaire (8) polishes a pretty nice throwing stroke. It’s certainly not the quickest motion in the world, but he spins it pretty well.

2:44 — James Onwualu (17) looks good on the fly as well. He goes downhill quickly until he’s at BVG in a position drill.

2:47 — Perfect pass beats good coverage. Will Fuller (7) makes a slick adjustment on a perfectly thrown ball that Cole Luke (3) can’t stop. After freeze-framing things, the pass was thrown by Golson.

2:52 — Greg Bryant streaks down the field vertically and beats a linebacker in coverage. That play happening on the actual field would make a lot of Irish fans very, very happy.

I like the comparison of Bryant to Theo Riddick, only a supercharged athlete and more physically dominant.

2:58 — Sheldon Day (91) applies pressure in the pass rush. It looks like he’s overpowering Steve Elmer (79), knocking him back to the quarterback. (Won’t be the first or last time Day does that this year.)

3:00 — Jaylon Smith flows with traffic before making the stop on Tarean Folston (25).

3:02 — That’s Justin Utupo (53) making Conor Hanratty (65) look silly with a nice pass rush move. Utupo is one of those guys that might be an under-the-radar performer, especially in a one-gap, up-field system. He’s looking like a player with a chance to be a productive fifth year guy.

3:06 — The more we see of Amir Carlisle (3), the better he looks in space. His running style makes him look a little bit like a mini-Michael Floyd, especially wearing No. 3. He beats Max Redfield on a shallow out cut, making a nice catch on a low throw.

3:10 — A battle for tomorrow: Jacob Matuska (89) goes up against Hunter Bivin (70) in a spirited rep.

3:15 — Nice pattern and catch by Tarean Folston, in front of Nicky Baratti (29).

3:19 — Jarron Jones (94) overpowers Mark Harrell (75) one-on-one.

3:23 — Here’s Carlisle creating separation from Matthias Farley (41).

3:29 — Colin McGovern (62) gets the better of Romeo Okwara (45). We haven’t seen much of him, but McGovern’s done a nice job in the limited snaps we’ve seen on UND.com footage.

3:32 — Durham Smythe (80) gets open. He’s another young player that looks good on tape.

3:35 — Speaking of young players that look good on tape, we see Greg Bryant and Malik Zaire, Tarean Folston and Zaire slash up field on consecutive snaps. Get ready for your 2016 Fighting Irish.

3:40 — Chris Brown looks like he’s still got sprinter speed in the open field. Would be good to unleash him in 2014.

Kizer named MVP at annual ECHOES awards

echoes
@NDFootball Twitter
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DeShone Kizer was named the Monogram Club’s Most Valuable Player for the 2016 season at the 96th annual Notre Dame football awards banquet. Kizer was voted team MVP by his teammates, after throwing for 2,925 yards and 26 touchdowns and rushing for 472 yards and eight scores.

He was one of 15 players honored with an award at the “ECHOES,” with the following accolades being given:

Equanimeous St. Brown, Offensive Player of the Year.
James Onwualu, Defensive Player of the Year
Greer Martini, Next Man In award
Drue Tranquill, Rockne Student-Athlete Award
Cole Luke, Nick Pietrosante Award
Isaac Rochell, Lineman of the Year
Quenton Nelson, Offensive Lineman of the Year
Scott Daly, Special Teams Player of the Year
Alex Bars, Newcomer of the Year, Offense
Nyles Morgan, Newcomer of the Year, Defense
Ben Stuttman, Scout Team Player of the Year, Offense
Jonathan Jones, Scout Team Player of the Year, Defense
Mark Harrell, Father Lange Iron Cross
Tyler Newsome, Irish Around the Bend

 

 

Notre Dame names 7 captains for 2017 team

SOUTH BEND, IN - OCTOBER 17: Quenton Nelson #56 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish celebrates after a 10-yard touchdown reception by Corey Robinson against the USC Trojans in the fourth quarter of the game at Notre Dame Stadium on October 17, 2015 in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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Notre Dame named seven captains for the 2017 season, the most to wear the ‘C’ in school history. Quarterback DeShone Kizer, linebackers Greer Martini and Nyles Morgan, offensive linemen Mike McGlinchey and Quenton Nelson, safety Drue Tranquill and walk-on receiver Austin Webster were all given the honor.

McGlinchey returns in the role, the 22nd different two-time captain in the program’s history. New to the job are the rest, including Kizer, who has yet to make a decision on if he’ll return for 2017 yet.

After worries about the team’s leadership heading into the 2016, the naming of captains in the immediate aftermath of the season is a change—Brian Kelly not naming his team’s official leaders into August training camp last year. It’s not an unprecedented move for Kelly (he named Harrison Smith and Michael Floyd team captains at the banquet following the 2010 season), though it points to some changes—some subtle, others not—that’ll likely take hold after a four-loss season.

Webster, a rising senior reserve wide receiver from California who has yet to register a stat in a Notre Dame uniform, made his debut as a sophomore in 2015 against UMass, is the first active walk-on to receive the honor.

 

Irish land blue-chip OL Aaron Banks

aaron-banks
Tom Loy, Irish 247
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Notre Dame received the commitment of 4-star offensive tackle Aaron Banks on Friday afternoon. Picking the Irish over a national offer list that included Michigan, Tennessee, and local programs USC and UCLA, the 6-foot-7, 335-pound Banks reminded all that even if the Irish only won four games this season, Harry Hiestand is still one of the premier offensive line coaches in the country.

Banks made the commitment from a ceremony at his high school in El Cerrito, California. And when he picked the Irish, he added to Notre Dame’s impressive offensive line haul, joining Dillan Gibbons, Joshua Lugg and Robert Hainsey — a key piece of the puzzle moving forward.

Banks is a consensus 4-star recruit and a Top 200 prospect. He took an official visit to Michigan in November, but has been a long-time target of Hiestand’s, visiting South Bend in September and welcoming Brian Kelly and Hiestand into his home after the USC game.

As a big recruiting weekend gets started at Notre Dame, the annual Echoes Awards will serve as the beginning of an important home stretch for a program without a bowl game. As Kelly still looks to lock in a defensive coordinator, not to mention other staff changes still in the air, Banks takes back some of the lost momentum, a key commitment heading into a holiday dead period before a furious finish leading into the first Wednesday in February.

Banks is No. 18 in the Irish recruiting class. He’s an early-enrollee, ready to hit campus within weeks and compete on the interior of the offensive line during spring ball.

Zaire says thank you to Notre Dame

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - SEPTEMBER 12: Quarterback Malik Zaire #8 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish rushes past defensive end Mike Moore #32 of the Virginia Cavaliers in the third quarter at Scott Stadium on September 12, 2015 in Charlottesville, Virginia. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish won, 34-27. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Getty
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Big week for The Observer. Not just for its advertising revenues, but for the classy gesture that outgoing senior quarterback Malik Zaire made this week.

Thursday’s edition included a letter to the editor from Zaire, who took to the student newspaper not to make headlines around the internet, but rather to thank the university for his experience in South Bend.

While Zaire’s time at Notre Dame is drawing to a close, he will leave as a proud alum. So while he’ll play football next season at another university, Zaire wrote the following in Thursday’s issue:

Dear Notre Dame students and staff,

My life changed for the better the moment I stepped onto the University of Notre Dame’s beautiful campus. The one goal I had set in my mind to achieve was to become a better man, a Notre Dame man. After growing through many trials and triumphs, the thing I’ve learned most from my experience was that if you don’t believe in yourself first, then no one else will. I believed in becoming a better man and succeeding through any circumstance, and I can say that I’ve truly accomplished that. I often refer to the famous quote from the movie “Catch Me If You Can” that was well put by Frank Abagnale:

“Two little mice fell in a bucket of cream. The first mouse quickly gave up and drowned. The second mouse wouldn’t quit. He struggled so hard that eventually he churned that cream into butter and crawled out.”

I’ve put my heart, soul and passion into the University, the football program, the South Bend community and the Irish community worldwide. I have the unbelievable honor to represent this University to the fullest as a student and soon-to-be alumni. Thank you to the amazing students and staff that I’ve met through the years for helping me grow into the person I’ve always wanted to be. I love the Irish and will always be an Irish alum no matter where I go! I look forward to keeping in touch. Let’s change the world!

Go Irish!

Malik Zaire

Senior
Dec. 7

Zaire is expected to compete for a starting quarterback job next year as a graduate transfer. He’s reportedly taken a visit to Wisconsin and plans to visit North Carolina as well, just two of several programs on the radar as Zaire looks to step in and win a starting Power 5 job.