Practice Report: 8/22

The threat of showers forced the Notre Dame football team to practice inside the Loftus Center for the first time in 15 days of fall camp. The Irish were dressed in full pads for a single practice session before having their first day of camp off on Saturday. As always IrishEyes was in attendance.

Former Irish great Reggie Brooks and former coach Bill Lewis were also in attendance.

Linebacker Maurice Crum and defensive end Emeka Nwankwo have joined fullback Asaph Schwapp and offensive lineman Paul Duncan as players who practice, but are limited during form running sessions.

Charlie Weis talked earlier in the week about the team seeing the light at the end of the tunnel in the form of Saturday's day off and he seems correct as the team was full of energy this afternoon.

Receiver David Grimes and safety David Bruton performed a triple-handshake followed by a very high high-five at the beginning of stretching. A number of the players yell, "Da, Da, Doh" with others responding, "Da, Da, Day" at the start of stretching each day and today was no different.

Jimmy Clausen and Sergio Brown did their "Talk to me JC," "Talk to me Splurgio"-routine again. It's funny though because they don't say much to each other during stretching after that.

Count quarterbacks coach Ron Powlus among those in a good mood on Friday. Powlus was joking with offensive coordinator Mike Haywood, Clausen, Evan Sharpley, Bruton and Raeshon McNeil. I could hear Powlus telling Clausen and Sharpley that he had some new names for some of their drills.

Brian Polian and Weis also came by to share a laugh with team's top two quarterbacks.

While most of the other coaches spend their time walking around stretching and telling jokes, defensive coordinator Corwin Brown and linebacker coach John Tenuta are in the back discussing strategy.

Cornerbacks McNeil and Gary Gray talked about the recent passing of comedian Bernie Mac.

As the group broke from stretching, the offense put two full units to run plays against air.

With today's announcement that tight end Mike Ragone is out for the season, the number one offense looked a little different. The first group included Clausen, running back Armando Allen, Schwapp, receivers Grimes and Duval Kamara along with freshman Kyle Rudolph at tight end and Mike Turkovich, Eric Olsen, Thomas Bemenderfer, Chris Stewart and Sam Young up front.

I didn't see center Dan Wenger at practice. He might have been there, but he didn't run with the first group. Also, receiver George West is still out seemingly with a concussion and linebacker Anthony McDonald does not attend the first 20 minutes with a hamstring injury.

The second group was Sharpley, running back Robert Hughes, tight end Will Yeatman, receivers Michael Floyd, Golden Tate and Robby Parris with Matt Romine, Paul Duncan, Braxston Cave, Taylor Dever and Trevor Robinson up front. As the second group did more reps, running back James Aldridge and fullback Steve Paskorz worked their way through.

The defense also fielded units for a pass drop drill. The first group featured McNeil, Bruton, Sergio Brown, Kyle McCarthy and Terrail Lambert in the secondary with Crum and Brian Smith at linebacker and Kerry Neal, Pat Kuntz, Justin Brown and John Ryan up front.

The second group had Gray, Jamoris Slaughter, Jashaad Gaines, Ray Herring and R.J. Blanton in the defensive backfield with Steve Quinn and Harrison Smith at linebacker and Kapron Lewis-Moore, Ian Williams, Ethan Johnson and Darius Fleming down in three-point stances.

The team then split up into position groups to do their usual agility drills with the defensive backs working on their backpedals, the linebackers filling holes and the defensive line coming off the ball and sprinting around in a large circle.

The quarterbacks worked on drops and the receivers practiced their starts before doing the figure-eight drill. The offensive linemen hit the sled while the tight ends practiced blocking and catching. The running backs ran over bags after working on their cuts.

Haywood was tough on Hughes today. "That ball is on your hip Rob, get it off your him." Later Haywood made Hughes go through a drill that works on the running back's cuts.

Schwapp showed that his injury, whatever it is, is getting better.


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