Scrimmage, Special teams, 1-on-1

Notre Dame's defense enters its final quartet of training camp practices today in good health, ad with its final two-a-day session of training camp on tap.

Among scholarship defenders, only redshirt-freshman Doug Randolph was missing from practice Tuesday and head coach Brian Kelly noted the backup will linebacker would be back at it on Monday (concussed).

Change yesterday at cornerback with the sophomore tandem of Cole Luke (right) and Devin Butler (left) while Cody Riggs worked with the (No. 2) nickel unit.

Kelly noted Riggs as the team's best cornerback yesterday -- he's likely winding down his camp workload in the home stretch.

That said, Cole Luke has really come on during our two recent media viewings. Luke has all the measurables -- if he can get off to a fast start this fall and establish some baseline confidence, the sky's the limit.

Special Teams

Senior kicker Kyle Brindza booted home all six of his field goal attempts -- all right down the johnny -- the longest from 48 yards. Brindza + FieldTurf = Lou Groza Award contention.

Notre Dame's kick coverage unit was missing one key player in my opinion, former special teams player of the year and kick coverage maven Austin Collinsworth, but fans looking for Kelly to include some of his best players in an effort to bolster the unit will be pleased with what we saw Tuesday:

First Unit: In addition to Brindza: Elijah Shumate, C.J. Prosise, Drue Tranquill, James Onwualu, Greg Bryant, Amir Carlisle, Cam McDaniel, Devin Butler, and Cole Luke.

Second unit: Nyles Morgan, walk-on Connor Cavalaris, Greer Martini, Ben Councell, C.J. Prosise, Eilar Hardy, Tarean Folston, Josh Atkinson, Cody Riggs, and Nick Watkins.

The 10 lead blockers (we did not see alignment, it was a drill) for announced return man Amir Carlisle were the aforementioned Collinsworth (presumably subbing for McDaniel as the No. 2 return man), Bryant, Prosise, Folston, Mike Heuerman, Cavalaris, Councell, Shumate, Morgan, and Martini.

1-on-1 and More

The following observations were gleaned from 1-on-1; 7-on-1; pass-rushing drills, and scrimmage action at Tuesday's practice:

Because Anna Hickey focused on the offense (Click Here ) I've commented mostly with an eye toward the defense.

(The initial six are in off-man coverage. That is, the defenders offer a 5+ yard cushion, so no jam is possible.)

-- Shumate takes a false step and Folston earns five yards of separation
-- Walk-on S Connor Cavalaris is beaten badly by Carlisle on a post-corner; Cavalaris falls to the ground. (Cavalaris' role is on special teams.)
-- Nick Watkins doesn't stay with Justin Brent
-- Collinsworth is absolutely worked over by Heuerman down the seam
-- Same result for Matthias Farley vs. Prosise on a post-corner-post (great route, but one that needs time to develop)
-- Jalen Brown records a nice PD vs. a walk-on receiver and off the arm of third-string frosh DeShone Kizer. That's three PD in the last two practices by Brown, though all against freshman (Corey Holmes) or walk-ons.

"Blue Zone" battles (10-yard line in)

-- Chris Brown catches a slant near the goal line in front of Riggs (good play on ball late by Riggs who is a physical player as he closes)

-- Shumate battles tight end Ben Koyack, refusing to let the 255-pounder muscle him in the end zone. Of note, Koyack has been KILLING defenders not named Jaylon Smith in our practice viewings.

-- Will Fuller corrals a leaping corner route TD vs. Max Redfield. I believe it was Fuller's final rep of the day as he retreated to the bike (battling a lower leg injury as described by Kelly)

-- Cam McDaniel shakes Collinsworth badly in the end zone. Of note, McDaniel has used a similar move to get free vs. all comers throughout camp. He's a bit of a weapon on these short routes and admitted it's something he worked on diligently in the summer.

- Good defense by Devin Butler on a slant to Justin Brent

- Chris Brown beats Atkinson on a slant for the score.

-- The end zone wrap (outside receiver runs to the back pylon and breaks across the back line while the inside receiver runs out to the front pylon) continues to be featured inside the 10-yard line. Corey Holmes collects a touchdown as a result, though I couldn't see who he beat

-- Corey Robinson makes an amazing, contested catch with Joe Schmidt draped on him and roughing him up. Robinson gets up and hands the still fallen Schmidt the football. Good times…

Pass Rushing Drills

-- Sheldon Day blows through backup left guard #62 Colin McGovern. Holy Cow.
-- Mike McGlinchey holds out Andrew Trumbetti from his left tackle spot. And he might have literally held, too...
-- McGlinchey wins a good fight vs. Romeo Okwara
-- Jay Hayes eventually beats a battling Conor Hanratty, largely because he won off the snap but Hanratty recovered nicely.
- Nick Martin wins vs. Day; Martin receives a late high five from Day after the fact for a job well done…
-- Trumbetti murders Hunter Bivin on the edge. Then again, Bivin will be a guard this year.
- Day comes back to beat Martin late in the drill.

Scrimmage Action

-- Golson overthrows (badly) a WIDE OPEN Chris Brown down the right sideline. Brown had separated from Redfield but Golson's would-be 55-yard touchdown goes about 60 yards.

- Carlisle secures an accurate pass from Golson on a deep out to the near side. No need to dive I don't think, but Carlisle does -- he often goes to the ground to secure the catch, a sure sign he's working his way into the position.

-- Jaylon Smith pops Greg Bryant in the whole in a non-tackling drill. The two exchange either a look or words. (We're inside, they're outside).

-- Luke breaks expertly on short throw to Koyack

- Bryant bursts over a vacated left side. Joe Schmidt was charging hard, but that's not a tackle he gets to in space if this were fully live.

- Day would have had a backside sack/fumble against Golson but the rep is blown dead.

- Golson rips a beauty to Prosise on a dig route for 18 yards.

-- Collinsworth makes a diving PD vs. Koyack

-- Bryant beats a diving Smith on a short crossing route. Smith flew about four yards in the air to no avail.

-- Amir Carlisle high points an incredible 50-yard post pass from Golson. Carlisle not only secures the pass headed out of the end zone but keeps both feet in bounds. Easily the best play I've seen from Carlisle in two seasons viewing him and the best practice field pass thrown since Jimmy Clausen circa 2009.

Note: Assuming provides video (highlights) of the team's final four practices, I'll review each, or combine if not enough material exists as the Irish begin preparations for the season. Top Stories