Practice Report: 9/17

Thursday was another warm day at the LaBar Practice Complex as the Fighting Irish had their third day of practice as they prepare to play at Michigan State this weekend. The Irish were dressed in full pads and the media was allowed to view the first 20 minutes, as always IrishEyes was there for your report.

Receiver David Grimes was back out there today after missing Tuesday's session with a stiff back. Earlier in the day Grimes said that he would play Saturday if he could and he looked like he could on Wednesday. Offensive guard Chris Stewart practiced again today after getting his leg rolled last week and reinjuring himself in the game against Michigan State.

Neither Stewart nor Grimes did all of the form running with the rest of the team. For example, while the rest of the team backpedaled, Grimes and Stewart jogged, but they looked healthy enough to play effectively.

Charlie Weis wore shorts with a large brace on his left leg, but he was his usual self. He pointed out that this weekend was Homecoming Weekend for Michigan State.

"You guys are Homecoming again," he shouted. "We must lead the nation in being a Homecoming team."

Apparently receivers coach Rob Ianello is an Art of War buff. He was eager to hear how Robby Parris did on a particular test and then made fun of quarterbacks coach Ron Powlus.

"Hey Parris, Coach Powlus doesn't know who Sun Tzu is," Ianello shouted to Parris. "He needs to Google it and report back to the staff."

Ianello then told Powlus that is what he makes his players do. Powlus then asked, "Is that the Art of War guy?"

The team split up into position groups and ran through their normal agility drills. The defensive line practiced getting off the ball and then using their arms against offensive linemen. The linebackers worked on getting downhill and then controlling opposing blockers. The defensive backs practiced their backpedals and breaks.

The quarterbacks did linework before getting their arms loose. The wide receivers worked on their starts, ball security and did some cone drills. I'm impressed with John Goodman's quickness every time I watch him. The running backs did some footwork over bags before working on their pass blocking techniques. The tight ends worked on ball security and then one-on-one blocking. Bernie Parmalee told his players to, "maintain a good base." The offensive line worked on run blocking against different schemes and practiced getting to second-level defenders. Stewart was working with the first group and freshman Trevor Robinson was with the second.

The assistant coaches are still hammering away at the players when they get the opportunity to make sure that the team does not get complacent. Mike Haywood made James Aldridge do a rep during the pass blocking drill three times until he was satisfied. Ianello took issue with the effort of Golden Tate saying, "If that's as fast as you're going to practice today you and I are going to have issues. Issues."

But both Aldridge and Tate responded to the criticism well and were better in their next reps.


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