Apologies on falling behind a day with the practice reports. (If you didn’t notice, simply carry on…) As the Irish defense deals with the voluntary departure of one of the team’s most talented players, in seasons past, this could have been a death sentence.
Yet the loss Aaron Lynch has overshadowed a lot of the impressive depth the Irish have put together along the defensive line, and while it’s foolish to say Lynch won’t be missed, there are capable back-ups ready to take the field.
Almost on cue, the guys at UND.com gave us a look at defensive line coach Mike Elston’s troops. Led by fifth-year senior Kapron Lewis-Moore, who is all-the-way returned from a knee injury that ended his season early, the Irish should have plenty to offer along the defensive line.
As usual, here’s the practice report, with some thoughts and observations along the way.
- 0:13 — While Jack Nolan tees up the particulars of this weekend’s Blue-Gold game (watch it live on NBC Sports channel, where you’ll get an appearance from some schmuck blogger…), you see the Notre Dame stadium crew
putting in new field turf— just kidding, they are finishing up some drainage repair and laying new sod along the outside of the field.
- 0:48 — It’s amazing to see the transformation of Kona Schwenke. The guy is just a monster now. It’ll be interesting to see if he’s merely one of those spring all-stars, or if this momentum carries into some significant stats next season, where he’ll likely benefit from the loss of Lynch.
- 0:56 — We’ve already seen this play, but it’s impressive work by Kapron Lewis-Moore against Zack Martin. KLM looks all the way back from his knee injury.
- 1:05 — “The Irish defensive line is a position group that remains one of the deepest and most talented units on the Notre Dame football team,” Jack Nolan unequivocally states (while sticking needles into his #19 voodoo doll).
- 1:15 — Nothing not to like about Mike Elston. Smart guy, good guy, and a coach who took some lumps last year for the Irish special teams, maybe for reasons outside of his control.
- 2:12 — Gotta love Kappy pushing to get blocker duty in special teams drills. Seniority is still seniority even in major college football.
- 2:40 — Exchange of the video: “I don’t have swag?” Elston says (to what I’m guessing is linebacker Jarrett Grace). “What are you talking about? I’m dripping with swag. You don’t even know me.”
- 2:52 — Of course, you’ve got to get defensive coordinator Bob Diaco into it. The guy might as well be the king of swag.
- 3:06 — A good look at the two dog linebacker candidates, with Ben Councell and Danny Spond working some basic leverage drills. They both certainly look the part.
- 3:56 — The transition “from speed to power” is a good fundamental to see in action. Especially with a 6-foot-7, 300-pound defensive end.
- 4:10 — It’s amazing that Tyler Stockton, at six-foot, 285, looks small out there. He’s a product of a different recruiting system, and looks a little bit like strolling out a Walkman instead of a iPod when you match him up with Tuitt.
- 4:26 — Great to see Chase Hounshell back out there, after missing practice earlier with an injury. With Lynch gone, Hounshell,who many thought would redshirt last season, will now be a contributor if he can work into the regular rotation.
- 4:40 — Elston coaching a basic sled drill, but drilling in the practical usage to Tuitt. Nicely done.
- 5:07 — Seen this already, but Louis Nix does a great job beating Mike Golic, then tackling Cierre Wood.
- 5:45 — Looks like we’ve got to work on the “club and slip” move again.
- 6:20 — KLM puts Nick Martin on roller-skates.
- 6:40 — Freshman Sheldon Day looks like he’s more than holding his own out there, doing some good work against Tate Nichols.
- 6:52 — Call me crazy, but if I had to lose one defensive end out of Aaron Lynch and Stephon Tuitt, I’d rather lose Lynch. For the scheme the Irish run, Tuitt is more than the prototype, he’s next generation. Coming off the edge and snatching up that football is pretty ridiculous athleticism, as even Elston (and the UND.com slo-mo replay) acknowledged.