Notre Dame kicked off the 2009 Training Camp this weekend with the first official practice of the season on Saturday. After watching the practice videos on und.com, here are a few early observations.
- It’s only practice, but Theo Riddick looks like the most athletic running back on the team. Fast and light feet and plenty of effort in every drill.
- On the contrary, Armando Allen looks like he is going through the motions a little too often.
- Robert Hughes’ right quad or hamstring was wrapped up. If it is a muscle strain, those can haunt a player an entire season. Hopefully he is getting plenty of treatment and there is no serious problem.
- Teo is huge. He is very fast and extremely athletic for a linebacker. He should start from day one. Frank agrees and sees Toryan Smith as the odd man out. If that is the case, the question to be answered is who plays the Mike linebacker – Brian Smith or Manti Teo?
- The Irish team has the appearance of being in much better overall shape than the recent past.
- Shaq Evans is a beast for a freshman and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him get some action, particularly around the goalline.
- Gary Gray looks great in agility drills. I am wondering what is holding him back, and if him being three deep on the depth chart is just to motivate him.
- Darius Fleming had impressive footwork in the drills on Saturday.
I hope Te’o starts from day one. I think Armando Allen will be fine, but I’d like to see Theo Riddick/Cierre Wood/Shaq Evans on return duty. I think Hughes and Aldridge would be productive at fullback, while Allen and Jonas could be used at tailback.
I saw Riddick play in the NJ state playoffs. I agree, he’s very light on his feet. He has pretty good speed but he is extremley shifty. He is one of the quickest backs I’ve ever seen.
I agree that Te’o probably ends up starting sooner rather than later and the odd man out would be Toryan. I think Toryan will see plenty of playing time even if Te’o starts though. Toryan’s Notre Dame’s best defender against the run among the linebackers and will be in almost all short yardage situations.