Got word from Notre Dame SID on the absence of center Dan Wenger from yesterday's practice. Apparently Wenger was sick and spent the day in the infirmary, he was not out there for the start of practice this morning, but I got word from Hardin just before leaving that Wenger had been released and was inside changing for practice.
Fullback Asaph Schwapp and offensive lineman Paul Duncan continue to be hampered by leg injuries and neither participates fully in the form running sessions at the start of practice. Fifth-year senior linebacker Maurice Crum also looked to be a little banged up.
Not many, if any, visitors to practice as far as former players, scouts, recruits, or players' parents.
For the most part the team was quiet during the stretching period. I say for the most part because quarterback Jimmy Clausen seemed particularly chatty, kidding cornerbacks Raeshon McNeil and Gary Gray about something before doing his, "Talk to me Splurge" routine with Sergio Brown.
On their other side of the field, sophomore linebacker Brian Smith is still singing and he gets stretching partner defensive end Justin Brown to join in with him. Defensive line coach Jappy Oliver came over to say, "That's a good song now." But Oliver seemed to be warning Smith not to abuse it rather than complimenting the sophomore's vocal cords.
When the team broke from stretching, the defense did not go through its usual pursuit drill, so we did not get to see if there were any changes to the first group, or at least the first nickel group that the Irish usually puts out there. The defense went through agility drills with bags together while the offense split into groups of linemen, running backs/tight ends and quarterbacks/receivers.
Offensive line coach John Latina seemed to be in a good mood and had pleasant things to say about almost all of his troops as they went through drive blocking drills. One group of linemen would work on staying low and blocking while the other hit the sled.
"A little tempo. How about a little pizzazz?" "That a way, Braxston (Cave). That's better Braxston." "Good Mike (Turkovich)." "Good 70 (Matt Romine)." "Good 75 (Taylor Dever)." "There you go Sam (Young." "Good 59 (Chris Stewart)." "Good job Thomas (Bemenderfer)." "That's it Michael (Golic)." "That's good Andrew (Nuss)."
The quarterbacks got loose working on their drops and rolls while the wide receivers worked on getting off of the line and the running backs practiced cutting against bags. The tight ends worked on cutting, catching and blocking."
Jappy Oliver put the defensive linemen through a drill that worked on them firing out and changing directions. Oliver playing the role of a quarterback would snap the ball and back up before giving each group a direction, but on one rep Oliver slipped and fell leading to a bunch of laughter from the players, led by Pat Kuntz. Oliver looked over to some of the media members with cameras and ordered them to erase it while one of the players mocked, "No wasted reps."
The linebackers practiced their angles when filling holes before working on angle tackling. The defensive backs did their usual agility/backpedal drills before doing inside-outside combination tackling drills with the safety playing inside and the corner outside. As we were leaving the defensive backs worked on shedding a blocker and getting to the ball carrier.
The running backs went through their figure-eight drill again while the wide receivers did their four-cones drill.