The team will have a morning workout session on Thursday before being dismissed for a long weekend on Friday. The Irish will have to be back on campus sometime Monday before getting back to practice next Tuesday.
Offensive coordinator Mike Haywood asked if I ever smiled. When I replied that I smile as often as him, he said that he couldn't smile because the players would think he was soft.
Ruben Mendoza was back leading the team in stretching after a day off yesterday. Robert Blanton and Jonas Gray unveiled a new handshake to start stretching. Jimmy Clausen made a comment to Blanton, but I could not hear what it was.
The quarterbacks spent the individual portion getting their arms loose. The wide receivers practiced catching, ball security and running routes around cones. It has been said before, but for as hard as he works, Michael Floyd really makes things look easy.
The tight end position is officially down to a pair of scholarship freshmen with the loss of Will Yeatman. Kyle Rudolph and Joseph Fauria lead the group, which also includes a pair of walk-ons. The offensive line worked on combination blocking against different fronts with a number of guys being mixed in together and freshmen working with starters. As the media was exiting, the linemen took of their helmets and broke into groups of tackles and guards/centers. The intensity did not go down without the headgear as the tackles worked on shuffling in space and the interior guys working on their initial jabs.
The running backs worked on agility drills over bags, cutting against cones and catching the ball. For the most part, the backs have pretty good hands, Robert Hughes even made a sweet one-handed grab. Gray looks like he is ready to get a shot on Saturdays with his big body and athletic ability. Gray also displayed nice hands catching the ball.
The defensive backs worked alone on backpedals and stripping the ball. Sadly, there was no interaction with the receivers, preventing reporters from seeing a rematch of yesterday's Blanton vs. Golden Tate battle. The defensive linemen worked on their starts and getting off of blocks. Much like the offensive line, Sean Cwynar, Kapron Lewis-Moore and other freshmen saw more extensive action.
The linebackers worked on tackling, picking off passes and picking up fumbles. Brian Smith picked up a loose ball and high-stepped his way to the end of the drill before doing a slight dance. Fortunately, Smith proved in the Michigan game that he has an understanding of what he can do in practice versus what he can do in a game.