Obviously, today’s news about running back Amir Carlisle and defensive end Chase Hounshell suffering significant injuries was a tough reminder that spring practice also carries with it some risk. But the Irish are hardly alone. Michigan lost its best defensive playmaker, linebacker Jake Ryan to a torn ACL last week, putting his 2013 season in doubt.
But as it happens during the fall, a football team charges on. For Carlisle, the injury won’t likely limit him past the spring. For Hounshell, that future is more complicated. Still, “Next Man In” continues as the mantra.
Let’s take a look at the second practice video, with a far too fanatical look at the footage captured during the Irish’s first few practices.
0:10 — Loving the mood music. Also enjoying head coach Brian Kelly talking about identity. Nice pep talk to get the guys ready to go. If you’re trying to read between the lines, you can see how BK and company are re-framing the journey.
0:38 — Fifth year senior Tyler Stockton (#92) breaks the squad down. If you’re looking for an interesting comment on the decision to bring players back for a final year, Kelly provided it on Saturday.
“Unless there’s reasons where you’ve got your degree and you don’t see yourself really being part of the success on the field, I’d want every fifth-year guy back,” Kelly said. “They know what I want from them, they can help in so many other areas. Even if they’re not playing a significant role.
“My feeling is that if I could get every one of those fifth-years back every single year, they have something to add to the overall team. That was the case again this year.”
For the record, only seldom used tight end Jake Golic didn’t return for a fifth season.
0:52 — That’s Everett Golson flipping the ball to running back Cam McDaniel (#33) on a swing pass. That might be a nice role for McDaniel this season, morphing into a third down, pass catching type threat.
0:55 — Tommy Rees and Golson work through some pocket presence drills as Malik Zaire looks on. When you consider Gunner Kiel’s decision to leave, you’ve got to wonder which of these two quarterbacks played into the decision more. Rees, who likely would’ve held onto the No. 2 job this fall, or Golson, who looks like a four year starter.
1:00 — Nice job by cornerback Lo Wood (#23) getting a good jam on DaVaris Daniels (#10) and then breaking up the slant. Getting Wood back healthy and athletic can only help this secondary.
1:03 — Talk about another nice comeback story, that’s Alex Welch (#82) looking good running down the seam. If he’s able to contribute next season, having three big bodies at the position will really help the Irish offense.
1:05 — That’s KeiVarae Russell (#6) and Justin Ferguson (#15) battling for a fade route, as Chuck Martin looks on.
1:10 — One of our first looks at freshman Corey Robinson (#88) beating walk-on cornerback Joe Romano (#35) on a deep pattern. The long-striding youngster did a nice job getting separation. (For those thinking Robinson ends up as a tight end, he’s got a lot of eating to do.)
1:15 — Rising sophomore Jarron Jones (#94) certainly looks the part. That’s a big dude.
1:23 — Some youth on the offensive line getting work in. From left: Mark Harrell (#75), Conor Hanratty (#65) and Steve Elmer (#79).
1:27 — Golson throws a bullet that Daniel Smith (#87) snags.
1:33 — Look, a Davonte Neal (#19) sighting! Neal makes a catch from Tommy Rees and turns up field. Perhaps an even better sighting is secondary coach Bobby Elliott, who is back on the field after a kidney transplant.
1:36 — Golson works a scramble drill, peels out and throws a bullet to new tight end Joey Brooks (#81).
1:42 — Hit pause and you see all four Irish quarterbacks. Zaire, Golson, Andrew Hendrix and Rees.
1:45 — Harrell (#75) goes one-on-one with Stockton.
1:51 — It looks like Justin Utupo (#53) gets the better of freshman Elmer (#79) with the edge rush.
1:54 — That’s big Lou Nix (#1) getting by Hanratty. (Don’t feel too bad, Conor. You won’t be alone this year.)
1:58 — Speaking of Utupo, he gets by starting tackle Christian Lombard (#74) with a nice pass rush move.
2:05 — That’s Chris Brown (#2) beating Josh Atkinson (#24) on the reception.
2:08 — That’s Utupo getting around Zack Martin (#70) as well. I think it’s time to a jump to a conclusion: Utupo had a nice practice.
2:14 — Chris Watt (#66) does a nice job handling Jarron Jones.