New York Post

Back to football: Video breakdown

47 Comments

Notre Dame plays Rice in less than two weeks. While that might take a backseat to the interest following the academic investigation that’s underway, the Irish are preparing for a football game, and 15 practices into camp, things are starting to come together.

With Media Day Tuesday, I’ll have a better opportunity to poke and prod and see things for myself. But here’s another breakdown of the Irish’s practice, taking a look at Saturday’s open practice inside Notre Dame Stadium.

***

***

0:16 — Notre Dame Stadium is shaping up… And look close enough and you see another slick Under Armour shirt for UND.com’s Jack Nolan. (Not to mention the Irish coastal grasses, or whatever we’re calling the thick rough I lost my golf balls in.)

0:21 — Look closely and you see Doug Randolph (44) and Durham Smythe (80) riding the stationary bikes.

0:35 — Welcome back, Mike Denbrock.

0:39 — That is some artistic trolling… Look at that beautiful synthetic shag.

0:41 — He may have lost his starting job, but I don’t want to see Romeo Okwara (45) coming off the edge at my blind side.

0:44 — That’s DeShone Kizer (14) and Malik Zaire (8) working some agility drills.

0:47 — Defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder coaches up freshman Nyles Morgan (5), who looks to have dinged up his thumb this camp.

0:52 — Nice coverage by Cole Luke (36), but Chris Brown (2) gets inside and makes a well-contested catch.

 0:56 — Maybe Matthias Farley (41) is the defense’s version of Tommy Rees. Just when you think he’s buried, he finds a way back to life. Here Farley gets beat to the corner by C.J. Prosise (20).

1:01 — Not sure if that was underthrown, but you know Cody Riggs (2) has pretty good jets when he’s running stride for stride with Will Fuller (7). The pass falls incomplete and Fuller looks a little bit gimpy.

1:05 — I’m all for tight coverage, Devin Butler (12). But that’s 10 yards the easy way for Corey Holmes (15).

1:11 — Not sure if Jalen Brown (21) gets away with that one, either…

1:15 — Nice move by Corey Robinson (88) to break that route off. He hits the breaks and Nick Watkins (19) flies by him.

1:20 — That’s walk-on freshman Keenan Centlivre (87), a 6-foot-6 wide receiver boxing out senior walk-on Connor Cavalaris (47). That’s some intriguing size.

1:22Ben Koyack (18) when one way, Drue Tranquill (23) went another. Koyack just ate Tranquill up, as the young safety tried to squat on the route.

1:28 — Maybe I’m going to start buying what BK is selling on Chris Brown. That’s a pretty impressive catch in the corner of the end zone that the refs gave him. (Now would the replay officials?)

1:35 — That doesn’t seem fair. It looked like Robinson was wearing those velcro gloves when he reached out and snatched that throw over Cole Luke. (Nice ball by Malik Zaire.)

1:42Everett Golson throws a rocket to Brown, who juggled the ball before catching in underneath the Irish coverage.

1:46James Onwualu (17) would’ve had the sack, but Golson drills a deep corner to Will Fuller, and then another rep shows him hitting Brown again, this time in front of Cody Riggs.

1:55 — This time it’s Zaire’s turn to hit Brown.

2:04 — Gotta think that’s broken coverage. C.J. Prosise was wide open behind the defense, keeping his feet and jogging in for a touchdown.

2:11 — Zaire shows some nice zip, hitting Holmes on the sideline in front of Brown.

2:14 — If you’re looking to start some Jaylon Smith All-American reels, here’s the first of two pretty good plays. A nice breakup on Koyack.

2:18 — Fancy feet by Tarean Folston (25), who runs through a shadow defense.

2:22 — Unfortunately, Jaylon runs through Folston who was trying to pass block him, with Smith literally de-cleating Folston the blocker on his way to the quarterback.

For the love of football, I hope we get a chance to see Smith blitz a bit this season.

2:27 — Speaking of steamrollers, Sheldon Day (91) just put one on Mike McGlinchey (68), who was filling in at left tackle. Day got the sack with Anthony Rabasa (56) coming off the other edge.

2:40 — Decent pass rush by “starter” Andrew Trumbetti (98), working against McGlinchey. Golson steps up to buy time, scrambles until his pass is knocked down by Onwualu.

2:48 — Those freshmen mistakes that Kelly talked about with Zaire? This is one of them. Rolling right, throwing across his body into the end zone, Zaire is picked off by Elijah Shumate, a killer turnover that would’ve got some steam to come out of BK’s ears.

2:58 — That’s some red zone success for the 1st team offense, with Golson connecting with Koyack.

 

 

Notre Dame gets 10 invites to NFL Scouting Combine

2013 NFL Combine
Getty Images
5 Comments

Notre Dame will send ten former players to the NFL Scouting Combine. The annual event in Indianapolis serves as the unofficial apex of draft season, a meat-market where the best professional prospects are poked, prodded, questioned and tested in a variety of on- and off-field drills.

Heading to the festivities from Notre Dame are:

Chris Brown, WR
Sheldon Day, DT
Will Fuller, WR
Nick Martin, C
Romeo Okwara, DE
C.J. Prosise, RB
KeiVarae Russell, CB
Elijah Shumate, S
Jaylon Smith, OLB
Ronnie Stanley, OT

For a prospect like Smith, it’ll be teams first opportunity to talk to the elite prospect and check his progress medically as he returns from a Fiesta Bowl knee injury. Russell will also be a non-participant in physical drills, waiting until Notre Dame’s Pro Day to go through testing.

Invites to Chris Brown, Romeo Okwara and Elijah Shumate are crucial in finding their way into the draft, as the three former Irish starters participated in the Shrine Bowl, where scouts had an early look at them. Likewise, Nick Martin and Sheldon Day continue their ascent, both coming off strong Senior Bowl weeks.

For Irish fans, it’ll be fun to watch early-enrollees Fuller and Prosise test. Both are expected to be some of the fastest players at their position. Brown may also have the ability to surprise teams, with his track background and leaping ability capable of earning him an extended look. Offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley will look to impress as well, hoping to check out as one of the draft’s most impressive athletes at offensive tackle.

Ohio State led all schools with 14 invites. National Champion Alabama had nine former players invited.

 

WR Corey Robinson named Notre Dame student body president

Notre Dame v Florida State
6 Comments

On Wednesday, wide receiver Corey Robinson added another impressive title to his resume as a student-athlete at Notre Dame: Student Body President.

The junior, paired with classmate Becca Blais as his vice presidential running mate, won a majority of the votes cast by his fellow students, a runaway winner with 59.4% of the votes, nearly triple the next highest vote getter.

Robinson posted the following on Twitter, thankful for the opportunity to serve his fellow students:

Robinson’s time at Notre Dame has been filled with accomplishments both on and off the field. He was named an Academic All-American as a sophomore. He’s a six-time Dean’s List member in the prestigious Program of Liberal Studies and is also pursuing a sustainability minor. He’s won the team’s Rockne Student-Athlete Award as well.

That’s quite a bit on the plate of Notre Dame’s lone senior wide receiver. But as you might expect, Robinson is well prepared for the next challenge ahead.

“I’ve planned ahead, gotten all of my hard work out of the way this semester, and I’m finishing up my senior thesis,” Robinson told The Observer. “I’m doing all the hard stuff now so in the fall and the spring, I just have to take two classes pretty much.”

Robinson’s other contributions as a student-athlete at Notre Dame include One Shirt one Body, an opportunity for college athletes to donate their athletic apparel to local communities. Robinson has presented the plan to the ACC as well as the NCAA, earning immediate support from both organizations.

 

Mailbag: Now Open (scheduling input requested)

UNIVERSAL CITY, CA - JUNE 01:  Actors Mike Myers (L) and Dana Carvey as Wayne and Garth from "Wayne's World" onstage during the 17th annual MTV Movie Awards held at the Gibson Amphitheatre on June 1, 2008 in Universal City, California.  (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Getty Images
11 Comments

Okay folks, we’ve had enough semi-positive encouragement to keep the video mailbag going for another week. With that said, I’ll need some reader participation to keep this thing rolling on.

As always, submit your questions below or on Twitter @KeithArnold. You can also ask your questions live via Facebook. You’ll need to LIKE THIS PAGE first, and then at the appropriate time, head on over to watch and participate.

To that point, let’s pick a time that works for everyone. Right now, here are the options that work at Inside the Irish HQ.  Weigh in and the best time wins. (How’s that for a democracy?)

***

 

Restocking the roster: Offensive Line

Notre Dame offensive line
9 Comments

When Notre Dame takes the field this spring, there’ll be two very large holes in the offensive line that need filling. All-American left tackle Ronnie Stanley is gone. As is captain Nick Martin at center. Both three-year starters leave Harry Hiestand with some big decisions to make in the coming months as the Irish look to fill those key positions and still field a unit with the ability to dominate in the trenches.

The Irish have had incredible stability at left tackle, with Stanley sliding in seamlessly after four seasons of Zack Martin. Perhaps the best six-year run in the program’s storied history at the position, Stanley will likely join Martin as a first-rounder, back-to-back starters at a key spot that often dictates the play of one of the most important units on the field.

Replacing Nick Martin could prove equally tricky. Rising junior Sam Mustipher served as Martin’s backup in 2015, filing in capably for Martin after an ankle sprain took him off the field briefly against UMass. But Mustipher will face a challenge this spring from rising sophomore Tristen Hoge, the first true center recruited by Hiestand and Brian Kelly since they arrived in South Bend.

Kelly talked about 2017 being a big cycle on the recruiting trail for restocking the offensive line. You can see why when you look at the depth, particularly at tackle. Let’s look at the work that’s been done the previous two classes as Notre Dame continues to be one of the premier programs recruiting in the trenches.

 

DEPARTURES
Ronnie Stanley
, Sr. (39 starts)
Nick Martin, Grad Student (37 starts)

2015-16 ADDITIONS
Tristen Hoge
, C
Trevor Ruhland
, G
Jerry Tillery
, T
Parker Boudreaux
, G
Tommy Kraemer
, T
Liam Eichenberg
, T

PRE-SPRING DEPTH CHART
Hunter Bivin, T
Quenton Nelson, LG
Sam Mustipher, C
Steve Elmer, RG
Mike McGlinchey, RT

Alex Bars*, T
Colin McGovern*, G/T
Mark Harrell*, C/G
Tristen Hoge*, C
John Montelus*, G
Jimmy Byrne*, G
Trevor Ruhland*, G

*Has an additional year of eligibility remaining. 

ANALYSIS:
It’ll be a fascinating spring up front for the offensive line. We’ll get our first look at potential replacements and see if the Irish staff values a veteran presence (as it has done in the past) or puts former blue-chip recruits in position to become multi-year starters.

For now, I’m putting last season’s backups in line to ascend to starting spots. That’s not to say I think that’s what’ll happen. Hunter Bivin may have been Stanley’s backup last season, but as long as Alex Bars is fully recovered from his broken ankle, I think he’s the best bet to step into that job. Sharing reps at guard—not a natural spot for Bars to begin with—was more about getting him some experience, with the aim to move him into the lineup in 2016. That allows Bivin to be a key swing reserve, capable of playing on either the right or left side.

At center, the decision is less clear cut—especially since we’ve yet to see Tristen Hoge play a snap of football. Size and strength is a genuine concern at the point of attack for Hoge, not necessarily the biggest guy hitting campus. But it sounds like he’s had a nice first season from a developmental standpoint, and if he’s a true technician at the position, he could be a rare four-year starter at center if he’s able to pull ahead of Mustipher this spring.

On paper, the other three starting jobs don’t seem to be in question. Quenton Nelson and Mike McGlinchey are ready to step to the forefront. Concerns about Steve Elmer’s buy-in will certainly be answered by spring, there’s little chance he’ll be on the field in March if he’s not going to be around in August. I’m of the mind that Elmer’s too good of a character guy to leave the program, even if his life doesn’t revolve around football 24/7. Now it’s time for him to clean up some of the flaws in his game, the only starter from last season who held back the Irish from being a truly elite group.

Depth isn’t necessarily a concern, but there isn’t a ton of it at tackle. That happens when you move a guy like Jerry Tillery to defensive line and lose a player like Stanley with a year of eligibility remaining. That could force the Irish to cross-train someone like Colin McGovern, a veteran who can swing inside or out if needed. McGovern seems to be a guy who would start in a lot of other programs, but has struggled to crack a two-deep that’s now filled with former blue-chip recruits, all of them essentially handpicked by Hiestand and Kelly.