Allow me to sit on the front-porch rocking chair and wax nostalgic. Back to the days of practice reports with minutes upon minutes of footage, a chance to pause and rewind dozens of times, getting a glimpse at the future of Notre Dame’s football team.
Sure, we jumped to some terribly misguided conclusions. (I’ll let you guys remind me of those.) But they also provided some wonderful clues.
Nine practices in, it feels like a return to the good old days. While I miss Jack Nolan‘s weather reports and unending Adidas swag, yesterday’s practice update from FIDM and young gun Jac Collinsworth was a winner.
So let’s dig way too deep into it and see what we can pull out.
0:15 — It hard to miss the monster in the middle of the team huddle. But with his jersey tucked into his shoulder pads, you might not have noticed Jarron Jones (94). But having one of the keys to the Irish defensive line in uniform has to be one of the biggest victories of the spring season, as Jones’ recovery from lisfranc surgery must be on track.
Don’t expect to see him taking heavy reps or even playing in the Blue-Gold game, but it’s great to have him on the field.
0:58 — Jones wasn’t ready for a team breakdown, though. That honor went to walk-on senior running back Josh Anderson (48). Get ready to see that little bowling ball get some reps during the Blue-Gold game.
He reminds me of a young Timmy O’Neill.
1:13 — There’s a lot to like (including the slo-mo) in this collision between Daniel Cage (75) and Steve Elmer (79). After playing much sooner than many expected, Cage looks the part of an impressive nose guard.
1:21 — Speaking of young players, we watch tight end Tyler Luatua (13) lock onto a block with Romeo Okwara (45). Watch Jerry Tillery (more later) give Nick Martin (72) all he can handle, while Jay Hayes (93) gets turned inside by Mike McGlinchey (68).
1:29 — So that Tillery kid (99)? There he is in the backfield meeting Greg Bryant (1), though Malik Zaire (8) pulls the ball out on the read and finds his way up field.
1:33 — In the spirit of 50-50, the next snap is Everett Golson (5) running the football. Red jersey or not, tuck it away, Ev!
(Blink and you might have missed it: After missing a few days, Andrew Trumbetti (98) is back at practice.)
1:39 — Ronnie Stanley (78) 1, Isaac Rochell (90) 0. On the opposite side, McGlinchey gets a nice lock on Okwara. Gotta love O-line drills.
1:42 — Amir Carlisle (3) catches an out-route from Zaire with linebacker Greer Martini (48) asked to make a tough cover.
1:45 — Justin Brent (11) holds on in the corner of the end zone for a nice catch outside. Brent’s season will be an interesting one to watch. Kelly certainly has challenged the Indianapolis native who made headlines for all the wrong reasons last season.
2:00 — Interesting comparison by Collinsworth: C.J. Prosise as TJ Jones from the 2013 offense.
Though Prosise’s size at 220 pounds makes him more of a battering ram capable of moving the pile in short yardage, race-to-the-boundary runs. He’s also probably faster than Jones, adding an even more dynamic element.
If you can’t tell, I’m bullish on Prosise in 2015.
2:13 — Is this the year Bryant explodes? It feels like we’ve been saying this forever, but he’s entering just his sophomore season of eligibility.
2:25 — Remember the Chris Brown (2) that had everybody so excited after going long against Oklahoma in 2012? Well, it’s time to see the finished product.
Talking with Collinsworth yesterday, he’s convinced Brown is primed for a breakout season. He certainly has the physical tools to do so. (Remember, Brown would’ve been the Big East triple jump champ… as a high school junior.)
He’s fast enough. He’s got legit size at 6’1.5″ and 195. But there’s no time to waste in the battle for the No. 2 receiver spot across from Will Fuller.
The drops are what’ll kill Brown’s productivity. Because beating Jesse Bongiovi (34) on an out-and-up certainly isn’t going to be what it’s like against Texas come September.
2:46 — We’re talking about the safeties here, but that’s sophomore Nick Watkins (21) running with the No. 1 secondary.
3:13 — Another nice catch by Carlisle, this time on Matthias Farley (41) in the red zone. Any thought that a guy like Carlisle might have been on the bubble to return for another season looks to have been a silly one.