Practice Report: 9/16

It was a warm day at the LaBar Practice Complex on Tuesday as Notre Dame had its second day of practice in preparation for the first road game of the season at Michigan State on Saturday. The Irish were dressed in full pads and the media was allowed to view the first 20 minutes. Includes a humorous back-and-forth between Brian Smith and head trainer Jim Russ.

Charlie Weis wore a large leg brace that was visible even with sweatpants on. The head coach moved around during the stretching period without the benefit of a cane, but when the stretching period was over he cruised around from position to position in a golf cart.

In accordance with what Weis said at his Tuesday afternoon press conference, offensive guard Chris Stewart was practicing, but receiver David Grimes was not. Weis said earlier in the day that Grimes' back had stiffened up again and that he was going to get it checked out today.

Offensive line coach John Latina and tight ends coach Bernie Parmalee talked during stretching with Will Yeatman and Kyle Rudolph about an outside zone play.

There was a humorous conversation between Brian Smith and head trainer Jim Russ toward the end of stretching. Russ told Smith that he had heard from an unidentified source that Smith was rather quiet in one of his classes today. At first Smith tried to get the source out of Russ, but he realized that it was not going to happen.

Smith: "Hey, I'm a quiet guy."
Russ: "Oh yeah, that's you. Quiet, reserved, humble."
Smith: "That's it. Those are all the words that describe Brian Smith, especially humble. I've never said that I was the best linebacker in college football."
Russ: "Yeah, you don't have to worry about that."

Weis brought the team together at the end of stretching to tell them how important the game against Michigan State will be.

The team broke into their typical individual drills. The quarterbacks did linework before getting their arms loose. The wide receivers worked on their starts before doing the figure-eight and four-cones drill. The offensive line hit the sled and then worked on staying low. Parmalee worked on ball security with the tight ends. Parmalee stressed how important it was to hold onto the ball. "It's not just your ball, it's everybody's ball. If you don't hold on to the ball then you'll be sitting on the bench next to me." The tight ends then worked on one-on-one blocking techniques.

The defensive line worked on moving their feet and changing directions before practicing using their upper bodies against offensive linemen. The linebackers practiced their downhill angles to the ball before working on angle tackling drills. The secondary started off working on their backpedals and then split up into groups of safeties and corners to practice getting off of blocks and making tackles.

Weis said earlier that he was going to rely on his assistant coaches to make sure that the players placed the same importance level on this week's game as they did on last week's and it seems like the staff got the message.

Parmalee made Yeatman go back after he called one of his reps during the blocking drill "soft." Corwin Brown marched around during stretching saying, "This is a big week." And there were more than a few choice words from linebackers coach Jon Tenuta.


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