Practice Report 8/13

The Notre Dame football team practiced outdoors this morning at Cartier Field. The weather was nice in South Bend. This session was the first of two for the Irish. The team was in full pads. Here are some observations:

(by Colin Burns)

*Scouts from the Broncos and NY Giants were spotted at practice.

*Good news: no one was seen on the exercise bikes through seven days of practice. The exercise bikes are where the injured players spend their days.

*As the team was talking in the huddle after the stretching exercises, the offensive coaches were running over to the other field. WR coach Rob Ianello was joking with offensive line coach Jon Latina about moving faster.

*As the running backs were doing the bag drills, coach Michael Haywood was overheard telling Robert Hughes, "You feel good this morning, 33? I feel great 33." Haywood pushes Hughes in practice almost every day. And if Saturday's practice is any evidence, the big freshman back will be used at the goalline and in short yardage situations.

*The wide receivers were doing their version of the gauntlet drills. Ianello was imploring his players to "Cut and explode" after making the catch and running through the bag line. Almost no dropped balls by any of the wide receivers.

*The quarterbacks were working on dropping back, taking padded hits from bags by other signal callers and then running off. Head coach Charlie Weis was getting a big kick out of this drill as the group of QB's hitting the other with a bag were really trying hard to knock the ball away. Justin Gillete actaully did fumble the ball, which brought out a loud roar from the group. Demetrius Jones, Evan Sharpley and Jimmy Clausen did not fumble.

DEFENSE (by Mike Frank)

I stayed on the defensive side of the ball today. Unfortunately, there was not a lot to report.

The most important thing is the bikes remain lonely. This is the place where all injured players hate, but so far nobody has been banished to the bikes yet. That's a good sign after going through the weekend of full pads.

On defense, they broke stretching with the usual pursuit drill. The entire 11 on defensive line up and puruse a ball carrier trying to take great angles to the ball. Nothing changed with the first-team D.

Justin Brown, Kuntz, Trevor Laws, Anthony Vernaglia, Mo Crum, Joe Brockington, John Ryan, Wooden, Zibby, Bruton and Lambert.

The second team D was interesting. Stephenson, Ian Williams and Paddy Mullen up front.

Linebackers were Morrice Richardson, Toryan Smith, Scott Smith, Brian Smith.

The secondary was Darrin Walls, Sergio Brown, Kyle McCarthy and Raeshon McNeil.

I don't know what that means. Have a few guys made a move recently?

I did notice a lot of chatter out there today as well. The team seemed to be in very good spirits, as were the coaches. The coaches were laughing with the team. The DBs seemed to be talking the most. Just seems to be such a different team compared to last year. A lot more joy out there.

I also don't hear a lot of yelling at guys. Everyone seems to be more teaching than yelling at this point. Hopefully that's another good sign.

I also took a look at Gary Gray. He's kind of the forgotten man with his injury, but he goes full go during the drills. He's taller than I thought. Probably just a shade under Raeshon McNeil. He's also bigger than I thought. I had heard he reported fairly thin, but he looks like he's in pretty good shape. I'd say probably 5-11 185. He looks like he's another guy who can really help. He moves well. Comes out of his backpedal nicely. I was impressed.

linebacker broke into two units today--inside and outside. Scott Smith was with the inside backers. It seems that's where he'll likely play the most.

That was about it today. As the practices accumulate, there will be less to report as we see the same thing over and over every day.


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