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Spring Practice: Skill position breakdown

Apr 1, 2014, 1:18 PM EDT

Steffon Batts, Corey Robinson AP

Over the weekend, took a closer look at the skill position battles during spring practice. Let’s take a closer look at their closer look as we over-analyze their most recent practice report.

With the Irish halfway done with their work before the Blue-Gold game, we’re starting to see more and more of the team’s identity reveal itself.

0:07 — A sensible V-neck sweater for Jack Nolan, who is going to need to replace that Adidas wear come summer. I think we need to force Jack to have the best garage sale ever. (I’m starting this up on Twitter today. Tell @NDJackNolan you’d be interested.)

0:16 — Polar Vortex. In addition to being the face of ND athletics, he’s a better meteorologist than the crew we have out here in Los Angeles. Did Jack mention that Loftus is Notre Dame’s indoor football practice facility?

0:22 — To the drills. CJ Prosise (20) and Matthias Farley (41) do some hand-checking.

0:24Chris Brown (2) gets a free, inside release on Rashad Kinlaw (26).

0:28Will Fuller (7) looks like a smooth operator here, beating Cole Luke (3) on an in-cut.

0:32 — Nice job by Eilar Hardy (4) breaking up a pass to Tarean Folston (25) after the ball hit his hands.

0:42Cam McDaniel (33) gets his chance to break the squad down.

1:02Everett Golson and Malik Zaire take turns throwing to walk-ons.

1:07Jalen Brown (21) doesn’t get a good jam on Corey Robinson (88) and Big Bird adjusts to the under thrown ball and makes the catch easily.

1:11Everett Golson rips an inside post throw to Prosise who makes the catch on Brown. Perhaps we were all just a year early on Prosise breaking out in this offense. He’s a big, physical kid.

1:12 — Red Face Alert: If Golson tries to float this ball over the middle of the field in a game, you’re going to see a TV camera focused on Brian Kelly really quickly. Golson dangerously floats a ball to Ben Koyack that Joe Schmidt breaks up.

1:16 — Prosise makes a nice catch on Matthias Farley.

1:18 — Folston looks smooth catching this pass out of the backfield.

1:20 — Zaire winds and fires to Amir Carlisle (3) for what looks like a simulated touchdown.

1:24 — Brian Kelly watches some form tackling drills as we see former Irish captain and current graduate assistant Kyle McCarthy coaching ’em up.

1:29 — BVG and Bobby Elliott work some flow drills as Jaylon Smith shows some nice hip swivel.

1:35 — Zaire misses his intended receiver.

1:43 — Chris Brown gets a step on KeiVarae Russell (6) with a nice stutter step and makes an excellent catch for a touchdown. Not sure who made the throw but it was on the money, too.

1:51 — Great play by Matthias Farley, getting a hand on the pass to break it up before Ben Koyack could get to it. But that’s a roughly 35-40 yard missile that Golson flicked off his back foot.

1:53 — Torii Hunter Jr. (16) hits the jets and blows right by walk-on Connor Cavalaris.

2:00 — Nice big bodied move by Koyack, breaking away from Austin Collinsworth (28), who really didn’t have a chance.

2:05 — That’s Farley again, this time in run support. That’s the kind of “outside in” crash into the box tackling that Kelly was talking about when making the move.

2:07 — Great touch by Zaire on the roll, floating a pass over the defender and into Mike Heuerman‘s (9) arms. The rising sophomore is an interesting test case for this offense. He’s not big enough to be a mauler on the line of scrimmage, but could be a really tough match up in space.

2:11 — Golson fires a rocket on the role to Brown, who can’t quite come up with it.

2:13 — Golson hits Will Fuller at the pylon, beating Jalen Brown to the outside for a touchdown in red zone drills.

2:18 — Nowhere to go for Cam McDaniel into the teeth of the Irish defense.

2:23 — Farley getting his hands on Prosise doesn’t stop him from making the catch and winning the 1-on-1 battle.

2:30 — Hey there, Greg Bryant (1). Don’t think we didn’t see that fancy one-handed grab you made. Or that you broke away from Eilar Hardy and got up field for some more yards.

2:32 — Corey Robinson is getting mugged by someone here.

2:34 — Max Redfield (10) breaks up a pass heading for Carlisle.

2:39 — See that 6-foot-5 gazelle trotting down the field, Irish defense? That’s Corey Robinson. You’re going to want to cover him. Robinson rolls into the end zone for a touchdown to end the highlights. (It looks like Rashad Kinlaw fell down and Elijah Shumate was hung out to dry as he came over late to cover.)





  1. mattnef - Apr 1, 2014 at 1:21 PM

    0 for 2 linking spring practice videos. Lack of sleep?

    • mtflsmitty - Apr 1, 2014 at 1:56 PM

      What the hell? Did BVG shave the stache? Dude looks soft without it.

    • Keith Arnold - Apr 1, 2014 at 3:00 PM

      It’s bizarre. New feature on YouTube that changes the video as I’m breaking it down. But yeah — I think the lack of sleep is also part of the problem.

      Should be fixed.

  2. 4horsemenrideagain - Apr 1, 2014 at 2:58 PM

    chris brown, will fuller and prosise all look great getting off the line and into their breaks. i’m trying resist the temptation to get really excited this early on, but this doesn’t even include daniels, “he-who-catches-everything” (corey robinson) or koyak.

    if this team can hang up 35+ points/game, I wouldn’t mind so much the defense giving up some big plays, so long as it is also making some big plays of its own. the defense could be hard to watch, but it will be fun to watch too, at least at times.

    on a different note, I read where snoop dogg’s son, highly touted receiver cordell broadus, states “I have to figure out if the school benefits my personality.” if by benefiting his personality, this young man means helping him be accountable, develop academically, develop his character and work ethic, then ND should be in the running. if he means “help me meet girls,” well then it would seem UCLA and USC are going to have an obvious leg up on that one, no slight to ND/SMC ladies intended.

    • ndirish10 - Apr 1, 2014 at 4:31 PM


      I’m thinking it’s “help me get my own.” He left Diamond Bar HS, CA after losing in CIF-SS Southeast (formerly D7) divisional playoff v La Serna (SE Div. Champs), 51-7. Yeah, he had 6 catches for 90 yards and one TD but most those yds, and TD, came in garbage time. We’ll see how he does with Randall Cunningham’s son at QB in Vegas. He didn’t do much vs La Serna’s 5’8″/5’9″ corners or safeties.

  3. goirishgo - Apr 1, 2014 at 4:45 PM

    Fuller looked good today.

  4. 25kgold - Apr 1, 2014 at 5:05 PM

    What’s up with all the holding??!!!! Geez! I see A LOT of pass interference called on us if we don’t fix this! I hope the refs will be fair and call ALL of these holding calls during the spring game just to show these guys they need to get it together!

    • onward2victory - Apr 1, 2014 at 6:58 PM

      Michigan State just went 12-1 playing defense like that with a very mediocre offense. And I love it. Play aggressive, get the opponent frustrated, and force the refs to make calls. They won’t call everything.

    • heartofgoldandblue - Apr 1, 2014 at 9:28 PM

      I don’t see pass interference with the exception of maybe one play. Your can have your hands on them until the ball’s in the air. I like the physical nature of the man to man that we’ve been seeing. If we’re going to be playing a lot of man which it sounds like we are, have to be physical. I’m curious to see w BVD if there is going to be a HUGE emphasis on working on turning back to the ball. You’d think it would be one of the red flags you’d see after self scouting the secondary.

  5. chaunce922 - Apr 1, 2014 at 6:01 PM

    Im so ready for football..

  6. fnc111 - Apr 1, 2014 at 7:02 PM

    Eddie Vanderdoesnt is out for spring ball at UCLA. Won’t practice, injured. This means he will be spending time up in No Cal with his grandma I assume.

    • irishdog80 - Apr 2, 2014 at 7:49 PM

      By the looks of him in this picture, he may be a Zombie or is about to pass gas…or is just gassed. Tough choice.

  7. yaketyyacc - Apr 2, 2014 at 6:05 AM

    if practice makes perfect, this team needs much more to live up to the saying, get a move on guys and rise to the level of men,

    • c4evr - Apr 2, 2014 at 4:33 PM

      I think you mean to say, ‘Practice makes PERMANENT.’ What they’re doing now will show up on the field next Fall.

  8. mediocrebob - Apr 2, 2014 at 9:13 AM

    Sure this team needs work still. There isn’t a team in the country that doesn’t at this point in spring. But it’s impossible for anybody to tell where this team is at from the 3 minute clips we’re allowed to see.

  9. ndgoldandblue - Apr 2, 2014 at 9:24 AM

    Hey Keith, I’ve read from bloggers on other sites, who supposedly have more access to the goings-on at practice than I do (which is absolutely nothing), that BK is spending the bulk of the offensive practice time focusing on the passing game and very little time on the running game. Since you (most likely) have more inside information than contributors to a blog, would you say that those claims are true? If so, can we really expect a greater emphasis on the running game in 2014?

    I’m no coach, so I have no expert opinion on what makes the best game plan. Heck, if Kelly wants to go all air-raid, a la Mike Leach, that’s his prerogative. Whatever leads to wins will make the fans happy (well, this fan anyway). I just wouldn’t want to see talent like Folston and Bryant go to waste.

    • Keith Arnold - Apr 2, 2014 at 6:58 PM

      What writers see and what’s actually happening are two different things. Media viewing windows are restricted, so if local press gets to see two-minute drill offense or passing skeleton, that’s what they see. Last time in, they saw stretching and individual work.

      With Notre Dame’s running backs and a quarterback that can anchor the zone-read running game, I think RBs are going to be much more important in the offense this year. So I don’t think there should be any worry that the passing game is going to take things over.

  10. joeschulz - Apr 2, 2014 at 10:44 AM

    I don’t mind someone impugning another man’s masculinity when he is standing in front of you and able to punch you in the face; but I sure don’t like calling anyone less than “man” when he can’t respond physically.

    • heartofgoldandblue - Apr 2, 2014 at 11:11 AM

      Shulzie ….what are you talking about?

    • goirishgo - Apr 2, 2014 at 1:07 PM

      100 thumbs up if I could.

  11. cpfirish - Apr 2, 2014 at 1:07 PM

    What about field turf in the stadium? Has anybody heard. I think would help out bunches cause our natural grass surface is lacking.

  12. danirish - Apr 3, 2014 at 7:45 AM

    Why does this secondary give me the shivers? Why does everyone of these videos make me skeptical of Cole Luke’s ability?

    Am I the only one?


  13. danirish - Apr 3, 2014 at 7:51 AM

    Also, I’d love to see a few times this year (perhaps a lot of times this year) a wideout catch a ball in stride, not coming back for it, not off the back shoulder, not leaping up and out-manning the defender.

    Sorry, I feel so negative, didn’t get any sleep last night.


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