Notre Dame Returns to Practice Field

Notre Dame Spring Practice 2013
(Photo: Matt Cashore / USA TODAY Sports)

Notre Dame returned to the practice field on Saturday for the 15th practice of fall camp 2014 and for the first time since news broke of the ongoing academic investigation at Notre Dame.   The Irish were inside Notre Dame Stadium again on Saturday as they continue to get used to their new playing surface and start to prepare to potentially be without four players pending the results of the investigation.

Practice video below along with some notes and observations based on various reports.

  • The first team offensive line was made up of Steve Elmer at right tackle and Matt Hegarty at left guard.  The other spots remained consistent with Nick Martin at center, Ronnie Stanley at left tackle, and Christian Lombard at right guard.  Brian Kelly hasn’t announced a starting lineup along the OL yet but considering Kelly said he wanted to have the OL identified last week, Saturday’s rotation could be a pretty clear indication.
  • As expected, Isaac Rochell stepped in for Ishaq Williams, Cole Luke for Keivarae Russell, and Will Fuller for Davaris Daniels as the three wait in limbo during the investigation.   Of note, freshman Grant Blankenship was getting reps with the 2nd team behind Rochell.
  • Notre Dame worked a lot on goal line situations because the defense needed the work,  Kelly joked that he wanted to trot out a 5-wide set just to annoy the media.  Obviously Kelly still has his sense of humor in light of the situation.
  • Linebacker Doug Randolph, tight ends Tyler Luatua and Durham Smythe, wide receiver Justin Brent, and Jacob Matuska did not participate in practice on Saturday.
  • Reports are that Greg Bryant was running with the first team offense, Tarean Folston with the second team, and Cam McDaniel with the third team.  Probably too early to read too much into this, but there are sure to be some happy to see Bryant and Folston 1-2 right now.
  • Mike Denbrock was on the field for all of practice on Saturday.  Kelly didn’t field any questions about Denbrock on Saturday as the media was a bit preoccupied with some other topics.
  • CJ Prosise and Amir Carlisle appear to be neck and neck at the slot position according to multiple reports.   Carlisle had a nice catch near the sideline from Golson in the practice video below.  Will Fuller had a nice sideline catch too.
  • James Onwualu made a nice play by the goal line but he still looks more like a safety than a linebacker at this point on film.

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  1. While I eschew the autobiographical, the Ric Flair reference is irresistible (by the way, robinson’s hair homage is to Balotelli, the striker for the Azurra)

    I was in the Queen City, Charlotte (MikeS if you’re reading this, Matty the C and I were recruiting the son of a former mayor of Charlotte to join Stephanie the G and others in our army). The recruiting dinner was at the Morton’s on the South Side of Charlotte. We got there early and “had” to wait at the bar. Who was there but Ric Flair!! Two things were surprising. He is very short and not even close to six feet, but he is thick. He was affable, approachable, almost humble, easy to talk to. Obviosly his in ring persona was an act, but a persuasive one.

  2. With the current AP poll coming out with HALF of our scheduled 12 games ranked in the top 25 is just crazy. Outsiders really get to see how hard our schedule truly is this year. We are going to have to average more points than any Irish team under Kelly has scored since he became Head Coach of Notre Dame. If not we could struggle to win 6 games. I don’t think Irish fans realize how much of a loss Russell will be this season. I have saw in a few early mock drafts of Russell being in the top 20. Kelly will have to learn very hard on our running game and O line if we have any shot at winning 10 games this season. Glad to see Bryant running with the first team. I think he is the more explosive runner.

  3. There’s one other cool thing about this coaching staff. They are mature men and this is not their first rodeo.
    They are grizzled and tough. Elliott survived cancer, Kelly has been through cancer in his household, and he and Pacqui reacted appropriately.
    Hiestand survived Da Bears and the SEC at Tennessee. Alford was as strong as oak in managing his ND duties and his brother’s family when his brother died.

    But my fave is Van Gorder, with a whole lot of scar tissue. When he was the head coach at mighty Wayne State, he was the ONLY coach. That will toughen you up. And he survived the Plains of Auburn under the last days of Gene “I won a national championship” Chizik. These guys are men and all men of a certain age have experienced adversity. You either repond or wither, and we ain’t go no witherers.

    There is a football subtext beyond the investigation. It is which players will respond as leaders in this crisis. Occasionally, the leadership cream rises to the top in such times; you know the saying “When things get tough the tough get going” While often glib, it occasionally describes a rising leadership scenario that is exhilirating and uplifting.

    You veterans know what I am talking about. You airlift out the corpses, say the prayers, set your jaw and march on to the next encounter.

    If college is to “educate” from the Latin root “educere” and the mission is to “lead out” the man from the boy, the women from the girl, the mature adult from the child, then this is just part of the drill.

    Yesterday’s deeds are gone, history. But tomorrow is a blank slate.

    There is a line in the dirt, just like the Alamo. Which side are you on?

    1. GREAT Writing: I have been a fan for 60 years and ND always get through the rough times. The men will show up again this year.

  4. With Blankenship now rising, the entire quartet of frosh DES has made some splash. Blankenship, Bonner, Williams and Trumbetti. They each have size and SEC athleticism. With Okwara and Rochell as the elders, Elston might have some fun getting these four ready to help in the October gauntlet of
    Stanford, North Carolina and FSU.

    Our future is bright, very bright at DE.

    On Onwualu, Frank, nice catch, but that entire position may be linebacker like with Onwualu and turner already there, and Tranquill seeming destined
    there in the future. I ask again, are we playing a 4-3-4 or a very thinly disguised 4-2-5? Kelly has reserved the right to have Councell take most of the snaps if some elephant squad like Stanford tries to shove it down our throats.

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