Mar 27, 2014, 2:19 PM EDT
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.
- Pregame Six Pack: Finishing spring practice strong 3
- Even without guarantee, Kelly expects Golson to return next season 107
- Grace opens up about the long road back 44
- Irish QB battle with (understandably) head into fall camp 12
- In a time of change, Denbrock a constant 35
- How does Will Fuller follow up his monster 2014 season? 33