Notre Dame’s 5th practice of fall camp occurred on Saturday afternoon, the second full opening viewing for the media and the first practice in full pads. By new NCAA laws the team had to take Sunday off before resuming practices this week. Prior to the workout the University released an updated media coverage rule book of sorts that we’ll get to below. But first, the good and bad so far through the first week of workouts.
Nyles Morgan picked up best player on the field status on Saturday warming the hearts of many Irish fans. In fact, you can include most of the linebackers in this category especially Martini and Coney. It’s pretty clear everyone is very happy with the situation at the two “true” linebacker positions.
Everyone should be in show me on Saturday’s mode but by golly we may be getting a senior year renaissance from Andre Trumbetti. I don’t even want to jinx it. He’s apparently quick enough to work well at the weak-side again but much stronger and can handle himself quite well on the strong-side, too. A versatile veteran leader on this line could do so many wonders.
I’m still waiting to hear something amazing about Daelin Hayes but I have to remind myself he’s just a true sophomore. He’s looking good in tandem with Jay Hayes, though. At this point it’s clear these two along with Trumbetti are going to receive a vast majority of all defensive end snaps.
For true freshmen who haven’t been on campus for very long Kurt Hinish and Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa are looking steady enough to be noticed. True, that doesn’t take much with the depth on the defensive line interior. Still, if you take Kelly’s post-practice words at face value both of these youngsters are going to be receiving some snaps next month.
Donte Vaughn is just a tick under 6’3″ and believe me I’m just anticipating a lack of speed that will eventually get exposed in a couple big games. However, the reports are that he’s looked very good in both open practices and is pushing extremely hard for starting minutes. I’ll take it.
The offensive line appears pretty much set as the move to right guard for Alex Bars looks like an astute move by the staff. Early on, this group has gelled quite nicely. Saturday also saw Liam Eichenberg practicing with the second-team at left tackle with true freshman Robert Hainsey (struggling a bit) as the right tackle backup. This probably means Tommy Kraemer has essentially won the right tackle position and they are moving forward as such.
As an early enrollee redshirt freshman Tony Jones has been on campus for quite a while and it’s been forever since he didn’t look impressive in a practice. I still think the hype about the running backs is a tad bit much–Jones obviously has zero career carries and Dexter Williams has virtually zero big game carries–but the potential to bring these two on the field behind Josh Adams offers the offense a ton of potential. Let’s hope they can realize it.
Drue Tranquill is having a nice camp but maybe not setting the world on fire either. He’s still more than solidified as the Rover starter and needs the season to begin at his new position for further judgement.
I was excited to see if Jonathan Jones was going to make some noise during camp. Of course, it’s probably not very easy to get noticed when there are 5 other better and more experienced players at your position.
Much is expected of McGlinchey and Nelson and they are meeting the standards of top 5 players on the roster.
Alize Mack continues to rep with the first-team offense. He also tweaked his hamstring on Saturday. It doesn’t appear to be serious according to Kelly. Let’s hope he’s not slowed down for very long.
You can’t fault him too much due to injury as Nick Coleman has been dealing with an ankle injury. He didn’t participate much in the first media viewing and only a little more on Saturday.
Everything with the safeties is not good. As in they were shockingly bad during the first practice in pads. On one hand it’s still early, there are still several options to pick through, and they’re being coached by Mike Elko. On the other hand, it’s not a position group full of blue-chip talent and literally anyone who becomes a starter will have to be seriously developed quickly. Not a great sign for the season. It’s bad enough that corner Julian Love was getting some cross-training at safety on Saturday. He could be a great fit there but it’s not wonderful news for corner unless you think the remaining corners will A) be really good and B) stay healthy.
Also not a great sign, we’re heading into week two of camp and we still don’t know about the eligibility of Navy transfer Alohi Gilman. I’m sure we can fully expect both the NCAA and Navy to drag their feet in completing their ruling. For what it’s worth, Gilman was included in the safety struggles on Saturday too.
Darnell Ewell is either going to redshirt or play very sparingly and not in the rotation until late in the season. A combination of being overweight and/or out of shape added to a lack of defensive lineman fundamentals has made it a hard go for the Irish’s top recruit on this side of the ball. Following practice Kelly affirmed that Ewell is a bit behind and needs more time.
The trio of Bonner, Dew-Treadway, and Tiassum haven’t received positive reviews, especially the latter two. There’s been a little more positive talk surrounding Bonner but he’s a projected starter and really the lone guy in that group of the first team who doesn’t appear to be developing enough.
The saga with receiver Kevin Stepherson doesn’t look to be close to over. In the first practice with pads he was barely receiving reps. By way of a question from a reporter Kelly basically spoke directly about Stepherson and that he won’t reward talent over focus and attention to detail. How long will this last?
As mentioned in the intro Notre Dame released an updated media coverage rulebook for practices. They caused a tiny bit of controversy on Saturday afternoon. Do yourself a favor and don’t read the replies to this tweet:
— Tyler James (@TJamesNDI) August 5, 2017
On average, Notre Dame tends to be a little more open with their access during practice. Do they deserve the benefit of the doubt for trying to tighten things up a bit? Many of these rules are not new although some of them haven’t always been followed closely. Did the school add some new rules in order to counter this reality?
After Saturday’s practice there was already some give and take on these new rules that seem to be a lot more fair to reporters in attendance. That seems smart. If you’re going to open practices at least make it worth their while and not a waste of time.