Charlie Weis said that he wanted to use the extra week before the season to get his players' legs back and that process started on Thursday as Notre Dame dressed in helmets, shoulder pads and shorts for its fourth practice of the week.
There were a few scattered showers earlier in the afternoon, but the sun started to emerge shortly before the Irish's practice as Weis kept his squad outside at the LaBar practice fields.
Yesterday also marked the return of a few Notre Dame players who have been slowed by injuries in recent weeks. Defensive end Morrice Richardson made his first return to practice in almost a week after being out with a sprained foot. Richardson seemed to be favoring his foot a bit, but he looked good and was definitely working hard.
Also back was receiver George West who has been out since suffering a concussion last week. Even freshman linebacker Anthony McDonald was back after injuring his hamstring in the first week of camp. McDonald, like Richardson, had a slight limp, but flashed some of his athleticism as the linebackers went through an interception drill.
Weis made a comment to strength coach Ruben Mendoza that there were guys all over the place now.
During the stretching period, Brian Polian schooled Jimmy Clausen on some of the best entrances in college football. I could not hear what school he was talking about, but he was excited about it and remarked that one of his teams got beat 52-10 there once. Clausen mentioned something about the entrance of Tennessee where his two older brothers played and Ron Powlus gave his thoughts on some of the coolest home entrances.
Polian finished the conversation by saying that the best entrance in football belongs to the Baltimore Ravens who come out to U2's "Where The Streets Have No Name."
Cornerback Raeshon McNeil asked Weis if he had received a call from Darrin Walls yesterday. Apparently Weis did not get the call, but said that he had tried to call his father earlier. McNeil says that he talks to Walls regularly and any rumors about Walls not coming back to South Bend as soon as he can seem laughable.
As the team broke up for agility, the position groups went through their typical drills. The quarterbacks worked on their drops before getting loose with short tosses. The running backs did agility drills over bags and then practiced blocking techniques. The tight ends worked on ball security and then one-on-one blocking. The offensive linemen practiced one-on-one blocking techniques and John Latina seemed pleased with what he saw.
Jappy Oliver put Morrice Richardson and the defensive line through a footwork drill that worked on changing directions and getting off the ground. Again, Richardson did not look 100%, but he is definitely getting better and trying to do everything he can at full speed.
The linebackers worked on their angles to the football before John Tenuta put them through a "bad ball" drill. The secondary worked on backpedals, angle tackling, stripping and defending the deep ball.