Here’s some thoughts from the Blue/Gold game on the defensive side of the ball.
- Ethan Johnson – Johnson was a force to be reckoned with Saturday. He got pressure on the QB and got good penetration on running plays. Johnson could be in for a breakout season and could be one of the best defensive linemen for Notre Dame since defensive current graduate assistant Bryant Young.
- Hafis Williams – Williams drew a lot of praise this spring from Weis, but was not very noticeable in the Blue/Gold game.
- Ian Williams – Williams showed more pass rushing ability in the Blue/Gold game than we’ve previously seen out of him. If he can provide a push in the middle of the defensive line things will open up a lot easier for the defensive ends.
- Brandon Newman – Brandon Newman had himself a great day and should find himself in the playing time mix this fall. He made a couple nice stops in the running game.
- Kapron Lewis-Moore – KLM didn’t play in the game because of an injury, but by all accounts had a fantastic spring.
- Kerry Neal – Neal didn’t play either.
- Morrice Richardson – Looked very fast off the edge and could emerge as a pass rushing specialist for Notre Dame this fall. Richardson has all the tools to be a good pass rusher and might be able to put all of the pieces together for a strong senior season.
- Tyler Stockton – The freshman early enrollee made one really nice play in the backfield Saturday and showed he should be in the conversation for playing time.
- Steve Filer – Very active and moved around well, but it looks like he still needs some work. When he puts everything together, he has the potential to be very, very good.
- Brian Smith – I’d be shocked if Smith wasn’t one of the captains for 2009 – he’s the clear leader of the defense and was all over the field Saturday.
- Darius Fleming – Didn’t play after being limited this spring.
- David Posluszny – Was very active and had his noise in the action when he was in the game. He probably still needs some time in the weight room before he’s ready for regular minutes, but he had a nice game Saturday.
- Zeke Motta – Motta ended up leading the team in tackles with 7 and showed why he’s gotten some praise from Weis. He should be a special teams mainstay from day one.
- Toryan Smith – Smith was better in coverage than he’s been in the past. He was also a very sound tackler Saturday. If he can step up at MLB, Brian Smith could slide over to the WILL.
- Darrin Walls – Walls wasn’t really noticeable on Saturday which means he was doing a good job. Most of the passes were not thrown in his direction.
- Robert Blanton – Blanton took home MVP honors after registering a pick 6 of Clausen. He and Floyd went head to head a couple of times and he more than held his own. Looks like he and Walls are the top two corners right now.
- Raeshon McNeil – McNeil played well and came up and provided some nice support in the running game.
- Leonard Gordon – Gordon really surprised me with his downfield coverage. He was step for step with John Goodman a couple times and showed he’s got some talent.
- Jamoris Slaughter – Slaughter also played very well in coverage. This group of corners could honestly be one of the better units in the country once Gary Gray comes back this summer.
- Kyle McCarthy – McCarthy was his normal fundamentally sound self. He doesn’t miss tackles and is always where he’s supposed to be.
- Dan McCarthy – The younger McCarthy showed some promise on Saturday. He was solid in run support including dragging Armando Allen down inside the 10 when it looked like Allen was destined for the end zone.
- Sergio Brown – Brown wasn’t as noticeable on the field as he was in 2008 in the game. This was probably because the game plan was so run oriented.
- Harrison Smith – Smith’s transition back to safety seems to be pretty seamless. Smith played very well as the starting free safety and should fill in nicely for David Bruton this year.