Irish Rewind: Look out for Miles Boykin

After nearly a week break, Notre Dame posted another round of behind-the-scenes practice highlights. Miles Boykin stole the show and two key defenders returned. Here’s what else we learned.

Rep 1: Nic Weishar diving catch

What happened: DeShone Kizer, avoiding pressure from Number Five and C-3PO, fires a pass to tight end Nic Weishar on an out-breaking route toward the sideline. Te’von Coney plays good coverage, but Kizer’s throw is better. Unless the linebacker in question has the range of a Jaylon Smith, this kind of ball is tough to stop.

What’s interesting: Last week Weishar said this: “The quarterbacks are always doing a great job with their reads, but lots of times tight ends, it looks like we're covered but they can still throw it to us. And I think we're starting to build that trust with the quarterbacks and that's kind of the first step in building up to throwing to us in games.” That’s exactly what happened on this route because under most sane definitions, Coney has Weishar covered. But Weishar is 6-foot-4. Coney is not. No linebacker is. This completion requires a tight end who knows how to use that physical advantage <I>and</I> a quarterback who trusts his teammate will. Notre Dame didn’t have either last season. Now maybe they have both.

Rep 2: Hey, it’s Lincoln Feist!

What happened: Sophomore walk-on Lincoln Feist reps with the defensive line. The 6-foot-1 ¾, 315-pound athlete arrived at Notre Dame last season as a preferred walk-on alongside quarterback/safety Rob Regan, linebacker Brandon Hutson and linebacker Devyn Spruell. All four opened camp with the team going into their sophomore years.

What’s interesting: Feist is from South Dakota, not exactly a recruiting hotbed. He held an offer from Air Force out of high school. He also has family connections to Notre Dame through his sister (undergraduate) and mother (law school). Feist played varsity football as a seventh grader.

Rep 3: Cole Luke pass breakup

What happened: With Optimus Prime in his face, Malik Zaire fires a wobbling pass in 7-on-7 at Javon McKinley. Luke simply stands his ground and should have made the interception. That shows a second later as he does pushups after the drop, which has been a regular thing in fall camp.

What’s interesting: Would love to know how Zaire read out this 7-on-7 rep, but it’s difficult to see how Luke baited the senior into this one. Regardless, this is the kind of pass an experienced quarterback can’t let come out of his hand. Brian Kelly is looking the other way in the background. Mike Sanford is not.

Rep 4: DeShone Kizer big run

What happened: DeShone Kizer runs a traditional option play with Tarean Folston to the right, one blocked well enough that one defender is left to account for the quarterback and running back. Kizer fakes to Folston and Troy Pride Jr. flies right by. Josh Barajas and Te’von Coney scrape across toward Kizer, but too late to impact the play. Brian VanGorder is all over the defense in the background of this rep from start to finish.

What’s interesting: This is the first-team offense as Mike McGlinchey, Sam Mustipher, Alex Bars and Quenton Nelson all show up. Did you notice right guard Colin McGovern getting first-team work over Tristen Hoge? The guards rotated during Saturday’s open practice. Daniel Cage shows up on this rep too after missing nearly a week with a hamstring pull. He didn’t practice last weekend and is repping with the second-team defense. Love that Notre Dame ran this option look out of a two tight end set, with Nic Weishar and Tyler Luatua in the mix.

Rep 5: Miles Boykin acrobatic catch

What happened: Miles Boykin is bigger than Ashton White. The sophomore receiver also knew how to put that to use. Boykin’s build has always seemed longer than he is tall, meaning his arms seem to have more range than his 6-foot-4 listed height. For a player Brian Kelly said didn’t always track the ball well, Boykin nails this one. White would haven’t had a chance even if he’d turned his head.

What’s interesting: Notre Dame is desperate for receiver help and Boykin can be part of that solution. Right now he’s backing up Equanimeous St. Brown at the W and St. Brown has been good during camp. St. Brown wins that competition if we’re talking speed, but Boykin is better built. Both have had injuries in their first years, so not sure if there’s an advantage in durability either way.

Rep 6: Miles Boykin beats Donte Vaughn

What happened: Another strong rep from Boykin, who elevates over freshman corner Donte Vaughn to catch a touchdown from Malik Zaire. Like White on the rep before, Vaughn doesn’t turn his head. But Vaughn actually plays this rep just fine, getting both arms inside the receiver. Usually that length will net a PBU. Great concentration by Boykin to not let that happen.

What’s interesting: Nice to see Devin Studstill back in action after sitting most of camp’s opening week. As discussed on Monday’s podcast, Studstill may have been pushing the line of missing too much camp. The freshman needs a strong run of consecutive practices. Forget beating out Max Redfield, Notre Dame just needs a reliable back-up free safety. With spring practice in the books, Studstill should still have an edge. Did you notice Daelin Hayes work a two-man game with Julian Okwara, then move hard inside on second-team tackle Tommy Kraemer? Brian Kelly says Hayes is getting some work against the starting offense, although we haven’t seen it. The Irish will need Hayes opening night at Texas. He’s too good to sit.

Rep 7: Troy Pride Jr. pass defense

What happened: Not sure if this would go down as an interception or a pass breakup, but Troy Pride Jr. gets inside position on Kevin Stepherson and prevents the completion. The quarterback’s identity will remain a mystery.

What’s interesting: When Brian Kelly listed off the freshman cornerbacks ready to play he listed Pride during a press conference. While that’s not ultra-revealing, Pride was the highest rated of those cornerbacks and seems built to contribute. It’s hard to imagine Pride, Donte Vaughn and Julian Love all being needed this season considering the Irish have Shaun Crawford, Ashton White and Nick Coleman available in the sophomore class.

Rep 8: Torii Hunter Jr. over Nick Coleman

What happened: Notre Dame’s No. 1 receiver makes a No. 1 style catch. Hunter not only grabs the ball at its highest point, he barely needs two hands to secure it. No problem.

What’s interesting: Little point in reading too much into receiver-cornerback pairings in one-on-one periods, but Coleman should take it as a compliment that the coaches put him against Hunter. This matchup doesn’t happen at all if the staff doesn’t rate Coleman highly enough to think he can’t compete.

Rep 9: Max Redfield tackles walk-on Buster Sheridan

What happened: Odd matchup of players with Redfield on Sheridan. Seems Redfield is taking second-team work here as Jonathan Jones, Josh Barajas and Asmar Bilal all flash on the screen. Although it’s not entirely clear what the scrimmage situation or period setup is. It looks like Durham Smythe is involved in this rep too.

What’s interesting: Sheridan might be a walk-on, but Redfield definitely savored the stop. Hard to conclude much else about this last clip. Top Stories