Practice Report: 3/31

With sloppy rainy weather in South Bend, the Notre Dame football team held its fourth practice of the spring inside the Loftus Center.

The Irish Eyes staff had a few staff members in attendance. Here is what they saw.

Mike Frank

The players were in full pads.

Evan Sharpley, Golden Tate and Eric Maust were at practice today for the first time. Head coach Charlie Weis was busting Sharpley's chops about it being a rain-out and why they were at football practice.

Evan doesn't look overly big this year. Not sure he is as big as he was at this time last year.

Weis kind of wandered around busting chops all stretching period. He did talk with offensive line coach John Latina for a bit, but pretty much wandered around the rest of the time.

Latina was speaking with Bartley Webb quite a bit. For those that don't remember, Webb is a medical and is now being groomed as a possible future coach.

The defense broke the team meeting at the middle of the field after stretching and ran through the bags as usual. Harrison Smith as the first to get to the drills and ran through all the drills like a man on a mission. Not sure what he weighs, but he's got to be around 220. He's noticeably bigger than anyone else in the secondary.

I watched Sean Cwynar quite a bit. He's pretty big. Looks to be about as big as Paddy Mullen, who I noticed didn't look as big as Emeka Nwankwo. Cwynar was moving a tad slower than the rest. Not sure if it was uncertainty in what he should be doing, fatigue or what. He does have good size though.

After drills the DBs did their usual backpedal stuff. Once again. First unit was Terrail Lambert, Kyle McCarthy, David Bruton and Darrin Walls. Second unit was Raeshon McNeil, Jashaad Gaines, Sergio Brown and Gary Gray.

I did notice Kerry Neal was working with the DL today. I also noticed he wasn't with the LBs last Friday. Is that a tip for more 4-man fronts? I don't know. He was definitely working with the DL hitting the sled. Jappy Oliver was correcting him and helping him stay low. Emeka was helping Morrice Richardson with his technique. Emeka helped him a lot, which was nice to see. Morrice looked considerably smaller than Emeka, Cwynar and the rest.

Lorenzo Reyes

It's been a rainy, messy day, so the team was in full pads in Loftus.

When we walked in, the players were doing light footwork drills to warm up.

Evan Sharpley, Golden Tate and Eric Maust were in practice for the first time all spring. Coach Weis walked over and sarcastically joked with Evan. "We must have a rain-out today. We've got all our baseball players in. I guess football comes second around here."

As soon as stretching began, coach Ron Powlus went over to Jimmy Clausen and Sharpley talking a little strategy as he always does.

Coach Mike Haywood was doing his rounds, chatting with the whole row of players. He even went to the defensive side and greeted Raeshon McNeil with a hug.

Bernie Parmalee stopped to talk Jimmy and Evan for a bit as they shared a laugh.

Coach Rob Ianello stopped to joke with Golden Tate for a bit, and they seemed to talk about their plans for the upcoming practice.

Corwin Brown stopped by the defensive backs, who had been laughing and joking during the entire portion of the stretching, to offer his two cents.

The players huddled up and went over to their position drills afterwards.

The O-line was working on their footwork and agility, and coach Latina was especially animated today.

"Come on, Matt. Drop! Drop! Have soft feet!" Latina yelled to Matt Romine.

"Lower. Lower. Get down and bend those knees," he said to the group.

"Look for the power angles, Sam. There you go. There you go," he said to Sam Young.

The quarterbacks were working with the tight ends. Clausen and Mike Ragone were running as the first team, while Sharpley and Luke Schmidt were the second.

At first, they were running three-step drops while the tight ends ran quick outs and caught their passes. Jimmy and Evan both looked sharp throwing the ball with some velocity.

At first some of the tight ends had trouble catching the balls and dropped some.

Will Yeatman was looking on in sweats.

Bernie Parmalee was talking to the tight ends about gaining separation from the linebackers who would cover them in zone packages. He also mentioned to try and shake off the safety help from above.

"You've got to come across his face and pull him out of his zone," Parmalee told the tight ends.

Weis stopped over to supervise the drill.

"You've got to be moving quicker, Ragone," Parmalee barked at the tight end.

Powlus stopped by to instruct Clausen on something about his mechanics.

Parmalee was acting like a safety, as the tight ends ran short posts, allowing the QBs to pass them the ball.

Jimmy first through a beautiful strike that hit Ragone on the numbers and he hauled it in. "Good work," Parmalee said.

Evan then threw a ball that hit Schmidt in the shoulder pads, and Parmalee "picked it off," as he was playing zone. "Come on, Luke. Come on, that a pick," he yelled at Schmidt.

Nick Lezynski, a walk on quarterback was working with Kevin Brooks, a tight end. Brooks ran his route too far, behind Parmalee and caught the pass from Lezynski. Weis stopped the drill and asked Brooks, "Kevin, where's the safety?"

Once Brooks replied, "in the middle of the field," Weis said, "Exactly. He's in the middle. So why are you running you're route behind him? That's how an interception is thrown. Everyone's going to go 'boooo' and say, 'that quarterback stinks' but in the meantime, it's not his fault and an interception was thrown."

Jerry Strabley

The team was in full pads and once again practiced indoors.

Early in the stretching period Coaches Powlus, Ianello, and Brown had their heads together.

There was a lot of chatter and kidding going on today. Coach Weis was after Eric Maust and Evan Sharpley saying it must have been a rain-out today since the baseball players are here. He joked again that it is nice that football is the second sport around here. Sharpley was replying to this banter but couldn't pick up on what he was saying.

Coach Polian went over to Maust and loudly said, "Oh my goodness, look who is here." Maust just laughed.

Coach Powlus talked with Clausen and Sharpley for two or three minutes during stretching.

The running backs and tight ends started the running bag drills together. Comments from Coaches Haywood and Parmalee ran from positive to: keep your eyes up, run all the way through the cone, have quick feet, don't hit the bags, hold the ball tight, you can get that one out.

Armando Allen was impressive in this drill with his speed and agility.

The backs moved onto the blaster drill and some of the backs had to repeat their turns, which included Aldridge and Hughes. In fact Hughes had to start over three times before Haywood was satisfied. Hughes seemed to be a little out of sync at times today.

Coach Haywood showed no mercy during the drills and some of his comments: eyes up, accelerate, you need to hold the ball tighter, you have done this before.

Schwapp was impressive running through the blaster. He is a horse. Clydesdale type.

Observations: Reggie Brooks attended the early session of practice. John Carlson was working out in the weight room before practice. Coaches Weis and Polian and the specialist will meet with the media at 3:00 on Saturday.


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