10/14 Practice Report

It was a gorgeous day at LaBar fields Tuesday for an afternoon practice session. Charlie Weis let the media watch for a full hour.

Players were in full pads with the exception of Jimmy Clausen, David Grimes, Michael Turkovich, Pat Kuntz, David Bruton, Terrail Lambert, and Justin Brown who all had uppers but shorts. Lambert was sporting a soft cast on his left arm.

Jonas Gray and Robert Blanton high fived each other prior to the stretching, as Grimes and Bruton did their typical bow.

Weis, poking fun at the players in shorts said, "notice all the prima donnas without pads on."

Coach Mendoza was not leading the stretches today, as an assistant took his place.

There wasn't too much overall chatter today between the players, although the mood was light.

For some reason, I assume to joke around, some of the halfbacks switched their numbers. James Aldridge was sporting the number 30, Robert Hughes had 44 on and Asaph Schwapp had 33. Coach Ianello seeing Hughes with 44 said, "We've got Ernie Davis in the house today."

As coach Haywood tossed the ball high in the air, Jonas Gray motioned for a fair catch and hauled it in as the runningbacks broke off to their position drills. "I'm glad to see you fair caught it this time," Haywood joked in reference to Gray's fumble at UNC.

"Number 5, ball to the body, bend your knees, bend your knees, there's nothing wrong with your knees," Haywood barked at Armando Allen.

Talking about the rubber particles on the grass, Aldridge was complaining to Haywood when he had to dive. "I don't want them things in my eyes," to which Haywood replied, "close your eyes then."

During the beginning of the practice, the wide receivers were working on their downfield blocking and taking the legs out of potential blockers. "Come back again, Deion. Don't hesitate. You've got to punch."

Since I last saw practice, John Goodman looks to have added some noticeable bulk.

Since Grimes was in shorts, he was throwing some passes to the receivers during their drills. "I wasn't expecting knuckleballs thrown my way," Duval Kamara said of Grimes' throws.

Kyle Rudolph goes through his with ease as he fluidly makes his cuts and rarely lets the ball hit the ground.

I watched Anthony McDonald for a bit and he looks fairly comfortable in practice, but it's clear that he's still learning and picking up on the ins and outs of the game.

Coach Tenuta may be my favorite coach to watch. He always makes sure that he explains his point and continuously asks his players questions to keep them on their toes. He gave Harrison Smith an in-depth explanation about keeping his vision on his side of the field during pass coverage in the flat.

Defensive backs were working on the cover 2, and Corwin stopped to explain to Raeshon McNeil how to defend when two receivers ran crossing routes up the middle.

Michael Floyd dropped an easy pass, to which Ianello yelled, "oh fudgecicle," getting a laugh out of most receivers on hand.

The wide receivers were working on routes similar to the quick out Floyd caught for a touchdown pass at UNC. I expect this route to be used often when the Irish are within the 10-yardline or if short yardage is needed for a first down.

Then we got to see 1-on-1's as the defensive backs took on the wide receivers.

Robert Blanton apparently was talking trash to Golden Tate and some of the receivers yesterday, so they wanted to repay him. Corwin Brown shouted out to Blanton, "remember that s*** he was talking yesterday. Get after his a**." On the first rep, it was Tate vs. Blanton, and Blanton jammed him at the line forcing Tate to catch a three-yard slant. Blanton exploded, "couldn't get off the line." There would be more to come of this match up.

McNeil had a nice deflection going against Robby Parris.

Kamara caught a nice 10-yard in, but he didn't finish the play and Kyle McCarthy forced a fumble. This set Ianello off and made Kamara do up downs, "I decide when the play is over, not you," he barked.

Sergio Brown had a pass break up against Goodman.

George West had a crisp route against Jamoris Slaughter, faking the slant but then heading for the sideline on an out for a nice grab.

Floyd dominated Blanton at the line, breaking free on a slant, but dropped the ball.

Parris got the best of McNeil on a nice comeback route.

Tate completely ran by McCarthy on a fly for an easy touchdown catch.

Goodman made a nice adjustment on an underthrown fade, hauling in a touchdown over Sergio Brown.

Kamara caught a slant for about 10 yards over Slaughter.

West may have had the catch of the day as he went for a go route against Blanton and had to make an adjustment towards the sideline and hauled it in as he was falling to the ground for a touchdown. This fired up the offense instantly.

Then the action moved to the 5-yardline. McNeil had a nice breakup of a ball thrown to Parris.

Tate faced Blanton again, and beat him again. This time, he faked the slant to the inside, but then cut to the short pylon for the touchdown snag. Tate got in his face and yelled, "Get up of the ground. Get up off the ground."

Kamara had a solid fade catch over McCarthy as they battled all the way to the ground for possession.

Slaughter had good coverage on a pass to West, who dropped it.

Tate once again caught a pass over Blanton for a touchdown. This time it was a fade to the corner. As Tate passed the ball to Blanton, he said, "here, I know you want to touch it. Talk some more s***."

I've noticed that Corwin pays special attention to Slaughter, and as they walked away, he said, "you're going to be alright kid. You'll be alright."

Then the squad broke out into special teams coverage and worked on shedding blocks and making tackles.


IrishIllustrated.com Top Stories