On Saturday, Notre Dame had their first and only open practice of the spring. (Until the Blue-Gold game, that is.) With Loftus packed to the walls with a thousand high school coaches a a large group of local media getting their looks at an Irish squad three-quarters of the way through spring ball, there was plenty to see.
Let’s get into our breakdown of UND.com’s official look at practice, which features one impressive catch by freshman Corey Robinson and a few other revealing snippets that give you an idea of how the 2013 squad is shaping up.
0:09 — Kicker/punter Kyle Brindza was given the task of breaking down the squad. Brindza has a lot on his shoulders next season, with the place-kicking and punting jobs both his to lose.
Irish Illustrated’s Tim Prister reported that it was a rough day for the specialists, with Brindza only making two of five field goal attempts, which fifth-year senior Nick Tausch made just one of five. (Worth mentioning: The sky isn’t falling. Kicking in Loftus is far from the real thing.)
0:36 — It sounds like Everett Golson is mic’d up again. That’s a nice reminder that the NBC Sports Channel is airing another one-hour special on the Irish, in the lead up to the Blue-Gold game next Saturday.
0:39 — A little drill work to get us going. Sheldon Day (#91) tackles a fake ball carrier. Ishaq Williams (#11) drives a blocking sled. Bob Diaco coaches up the fundamentals.
0:45 — There’s a lot athletically to like about Daniel Smith (#87). This should be an interesting season for the local South Bend product. Will he be just another spring achiever, or will he play a significant role in the offense.
Remember, it wasn’t all that long ago that Brian Kelly was singing the praises of Deion Walker in spring ball. I think he ended up with one catch the season after.
0:49 — Here’s one of Brindza’s field goal attempts. The snap looked good — thanks to new long-snapper Scott Daly, who is taking over for departing veteran Jordan Cowart.
0:51 — What’s up, Manti?
0:54 — That’s a tough match-up for Austin Collinsworth (#28), trying to match-up physically with Alex Welch (#82).
0:59 — I’ve done my best not to rave about Cam McDaniel (#33) yet, but I’ve got to believe he’s going to get some significant carries in the offense this season. He seems to be a guy that has such a strong grasp of the game, and is too productive of an athlete to keep off the field.
1:05 — About the only guy that CAN keep McDaniel off the field is George Atkinson III (#4). Here’s Atkinson on one of those nifty stretch pitches, getting around the edge and running for a nice gain.
1:11 — Here’s your catch of the spring by freshman Corey Robinson (#88). That’s a heckuva play by a kid many didn’t expect to be ready to contribute. Now (if we’re jumping to conclusions), it’s going to be hard not to imagine a role for him in next year’s offense, especially with his height and ball skills.
1:20 — New receiver CJ Prosise (#20) just did bad, bad things to Eilar Hardy, burning by him for a big gain in one-on-one drills. Prosise is a really intriguing athlete. He’s a 220-pound guy that seems to have pretty good jets, too. (He was a 10.9 100m guy in high school.)
It’s too early to call him a poor man’s Percy Harvin, but it looks like Kelly and offensive coordinator Chuck Martin seem to have a guy they think can excel in the slot.
1:27 — Looks like Josh Atkinson (#24) got away with some interference.
1:35 — This looks like some eleven-on-eleven work, with plenty of talent getting after it.
1:38 — Ishaq Williams just plants Will Mahone here. From other reports, it sounds like freshman Mike Heuerman whiffed on his block.
1:45 — Don’t look now, but Tommy Rees has been showing some good touch on his fade routes. Here’s a nice conversion with Davaris Daniels (#10).
1:51 — Big Louis Nix (#1) just burns past Nick Martin on his way to a big hit in the backfield.
1:59 — This would be an exciting development. Golson buys time, keeps his eyes down field and throws a strike to Prosise, who gallops away from defenders for an easy touchdown.
2:04 — That’s a nice play by linebacker Kendall Moore (#8) who is fighting for his chance at middle linebacker. Right now, he’s slotted behind Jarrett Grace, but Moore definitely has the athleticism and physicality necessary to play.
2:10 — That’s Mahone bursting through for a nice gain.
2:12 — Rees throws another nice deep ball — this time it’s Chris Brown (#2) making the back-shoulder catch.
2:18 — Nice grab, Davaris Daniels.