It’s good to have football back. Not that I haven’t been enjoying my slog through the entire Irish scholarship roster, but actually watching the guys we read and write about is a little bit better than determining their upside potential and looking back at their recruitment.
With Notre Dame opening up fall camp on Monday at the Culver Academies, that meant another UND.com practice report. And who better to over-analyze them than the original practice report over-analyzer himself?
Before we get into the frame-by-frame breakdown, if there’s one thing that’s fairly striking, it’s the physical condition of this football team. This is a lean, powerful, in shape group of football players. That’s a credit to Paul Longo’s staff and the work this group put in over the summer.
As we watch the professionals in NFL training camp, you see guys that are “working” their way into shape. That doesn’t seem to be the case here, and even in jerseys and helmets (and shorts that would make the pilots in Top Gun envious), this team may be young and inexperienced, but they look pretty good.
On to the video…
0:30 — And we finally see the apparel transformation that really matters: Jack Nolan in Under Armour. Looking pretty fresh, Jack.
0:42 — Luckily, no Irish football players were harmed touching the logos on the new FieldTurf. (Those gray ND shorts are pretty snazzy, too.)
0:56 — That’s equipment manager Ryan Grooms getting the practice helmets geared up. And also sporting new U/A sunglasses.
1:16 — Corey Robinson (88) still looks really tall, and his hands appear to be in midseason form.
1:22 — Ishaq Williams (11) is just a gigantic human. Can he play up to expectations finally? Who knows. But he certainly looks the part.
1:34 — Senior Ben Koyack (18) gets the chance to break down the Irish first. Telling of his leadership role.
1:44 — Pretty ball and heckuva catch by DaVaris Daniels (10). He and Everett Golson (5) connecting on deep passes wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. (Daniels got behind Cody Riggs (2) who was in pretty good position.)
1:50 — Golson tried to jam a throw to Koyack between Joe Schmidt (38) and Jaylon Smith (9). It was very nearly intercepted. Throwing between those two guys isn’t a recipe for success.
1:55 — Sophomore Tarean Folston‘s (25) burst looks in midseason form. Folston ran with the first-team offense to open practice, as I’ve been saying since the spring.
2:00 — Nice job by freshman Justin Brent (11), running a good route to beat senior cornerback Jalon Brown (21).
2:07 — Our first look at Greg Bryant (1). Yep, he looks pretty explosive.
2:15 — That’s Folston split wide, with Austin Collinsworth (28) making a nifty play to break up a pass.
2:17 — He isn’t listed as lighter in the fall roster, but Cam McDaniel (33) looks slimmer to me.
2:22 — That’s Durham Smythe (80), guys. Get to know him.
2:28 — Koyack gets separation after being split wide across from freshman Drue Tranquill (23).
2:30 — If you were wondering if the zone read would play a large role in the running game, consider every carry we’ve seen thus far has had a quarterback playing out the fake. That’s going to open things up fairly quickly.
2:26 — Chris Brown (2) 1, KeiVarae Russell (6) 0. Very nice catch by the junior wideout, who goes up the ladder and elevates above Russell to make the catch. Brian Kelly spoke very highly of Brown during his opening press conference.
2:51 — Some nice wheels showcased by Golson here.
3:06 — New in No. 7, Will Fuller dusts walk-on safety Tyler Price (36).
3:18 — Brent gets nice separation from freshman corner Nick Watkins (19) on a short route.
3:22 — If you ain’t cheatin’, you ain’t tryin’ Matthias Farley (41), who holds onto C.J. Prosise‘s No. 20 jersey for dear life. Farley makes a nice play on the ball, but might have been flagged for a five-yard holding call.
3:50 — Devin Butler (12) does a nice job playing Fuller aggressively on the slant route.
3:54 — Even if Corey Robinson can’t beat the bump, he still makes a nifty catch on a quick out route.
4:00 — In the immortal words of Harry Dunne, “Look at the butt on that.” Freshman Tyler Luatua (13) has legs that look like tree trunks.
4:15 — From a general observational standpoint, this sure doesn’t look like a first practice. Even in just helmets, it’s pretty clear that this team is ready mentally on both sides of the football.
(Also, it’s pretty clear Joe Schmidt is going to be the man in the middle of it all for the Irish defense.)
4:23 — Good news: Max Redfield (10) makes a big play! Bad news: Everett Golson can’t throw that pass. Redfield stepped in front of Ben Koyack and pranced in for what could’ve been a defensive touchdown.