Notre Dame’s Troy Pride Runs Blazing 40 Yard Dash

Notre Dame junior cornerback is an accomplished collegiate track athlete in his spare time.  The speed that’s made him an asset in the Notre Dame track and field program was on full display in off-season workouts.  Notre Dame post a video of Pride running an electronically timed 4.3 40 yard dash on its Facebook page earlier this week.

Here’s Pride torching the turf on his way to a 4.3 time (some more thoughts on Pride after the video).

Speed Kills. 4.38 40 for Troy Pride 😤#GoIrish ☘

Posted by Notre Dame Football on Tuesday, May 22, 2018

After taking over for Nick Watkins in the starting lineup at the end of 2017, Pride continued his ascent with a strong spring that pretty much cemented his spot in the starting lineup and resulted in Watkins’ eventual graduate transfer.

From day one Pride displayed the speed everyone knew he had, but by the end of last year he was starting to use that speed to be a very effective corner for the Irish.  He recorded his first career interception against in a close win over Navy and started the final four games of the year including the Citrus Bowl.

Pride, Julian Love, and Shaun Crawford will give Notre Dame one of its best starting combinations (assuming the Irish are in the nickel) at corner in a long, long time this fall.  Behind the trio Notre Dame also boasts perhaps the most talent and potential they’ve had at corner in more than 20 years too with incoming freshmen Tariq Bracy, DJ Brown, Noah Boykin, and Joe Wilkins and early enrollee Houston Griffith (though it appears that safety is his future).

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  1. Super speed is great for KO returns, but punt returners really don’t need it as much as they need a great first move. Also, there are a lot of other differences between punt returns and KO returns. If the opponent is punting from deep, a fair catch is often the better choice: starting first and ten on the 45 after a smart fair catch is as good as a 45 yard KO return from the endzone!
    And on a punt, the returner is often the only guy on your team who does not have his back to the ball…he needs to make quick decisions on vacating himself, and getting a bunch of other guys (who are essentially running blind) out of their lanes on a short punt…something we have not done too well recently until last year (except when we screwed up bigtime in the Citrus Bowl – AGAIN!) These are things that KO returners never have to deal with. That’s one reason why you sometimes see different guys return kicks than return punts.

    BGC ’77 ’82

    1. Bruce,

      I agree and honestly Finke is perfect for it. He went to my high school and had several returns both on punt and kick returns. This is his specialty and he actually has some pretty good moves and vision. The problem with punt return isn’t Finke. It’s the fact that our coaches never put two guys on each gunner which Finke either has to fair catch the ball or get hit as soon as he makes the catch. I’ve been complaining about this forever. Almost every NFL team’s return setup that I see has two guys on each gunner. It’s obviously hard to do this when teams run that spread punt formation but not too many do this. We simply don’t give our returners the time unless the punter blasts one so far downfield that they outkick the coverage. It is nearly impossible to block a gunner one on one with all of that space and at full speed. The best thing to do is double them off the line preventing them from getting a clean release downfield.

      1. Bruce , ChrisJ , good comments. Still , Irish could use some scoring from Kick off returns and punt returns –not just field goals from SPECIAL TEAMS. Need that extra juice to break the backs of opponents—especially the Big Boys on the Irish schedule.

  2. Always thougt Yul was miscast as Chris “ cowboy “ Larabee. Yeah, He fit in King and I. Hope we don’t have any miscast in our d backfield. Lots of guys in the casting call.

    1. Greg , the word “miscast” is perfect. Let’s hope the Irish coaches find “A – Lister” performers to fit D backfield for Grand Opening September 1st.

  3. It’s nice to see Troy Pride make progress in the D-back field. He is one of “The Magnificent Seven” recruited in 2016. A heralded seven players were recruited to shore up the Irish safety , corner back positions. Julian Love , Jalen Elliot , Devin Studstill , Donte Vaughn , Spencer Perry , D.J Morgan and Troy Pride. Some of them were thrown into service in that dismal 4-8 season–got their feet wet/got their ass kicked. The “turn around” 2017 season — much better for 5 of the 7. Perry and Morgan –not much contribution. As the Irish prepare for 2018–5 of the 7 “Magnificent Seven ” still in the battle to start — against Crawford , Alohi Gilman , Nick Coleman. To further fierce competition is arrival of in -coming freshmen Houston Griffith , Tariq Bracy , Noah Boykin and others. All hell is going to break loose on who wants to start in D-back field this summer and leading into the opener vs Michigan. I’d say only Julian Love is a guaranteed lock as a starter. — For those of you too young to remember “Magnificent Seven”—it was a popular movie in late 1960’s — where seven tough American dudes/gunslingers were “recruited” by a poor Mexican village–to help rid the town of Mexican Banditos –who controlled the poor farmers.

    1. To compare that with the Rocket, we’d need to see Tony do it in pads – Rocket style.

      BGC ’77 ’82

  4. Which is why Dexter Williams didn’t score on his long run during the spring game haha!

    Can this guy return kickoffs for us?

    1. ChrisJ , I remember you bringing up a kick off returner last season-and a punt returner. It sure would help to see some touchdowns from SPECIAL TEAMS during a 12 game schedule. Or at least more frequent run backs with quality yardage–to put O in good field position.

      1. I say give Dexter a shot at kick-offs and punt returns. One shake and bake —and he’s gone brother ! What are these latest rumors involving Dexter Williams in trouble and maybe suspended start of season ? For what ? “Missing his blocks?”

      2. Southside,

        Yes, I have mentioned before that I don’t understand why our coaches don’t pick our most elite, dynamic, speediest guys to return kicks and punts. Just because they are a starter on O or D doesn’t mean they shouldn’t return for you because they might get injured. I mean CJ Sanders, really? He had poor vision, lacked a burst through the hole, and went down with arm tackles every time. He also looked scared to actually go full speed as well which having no fear as a returner is a must.

        I agree with you that Dexter Williams would be perfect for kickoffs with his combination of speed, vision, and the ability to break tackles. He used to be back there with Sanders at times but they would always kick to Sanders knowing he is less likely to do damage. I always though Will Fuller should have returned kicks for us a few years back. But if you have a guy like Pride running a 4.3, that is elite speed that doesn’t come around too often. I say give him a shot as a returner.

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