3/21 Practice Report

Notre Dame was out for its second practice of the spring on Saturday morning and the Irish were again dressed in helmets and shorts. Christian McCollum and Lorenzo Reyes were among the Irish Eyes members there.

Christian McCollum

Daniel Smith, 2010 wide receiver commit from South Bend, was in attendance on Saturday.

While Trevor Robinson did trim his hair, fellow offensive linemen Eric Olsen and Braxston Cave still have locks hanging down from their helmets along with Harrison Smith, Sergio Brown and Ian Williams.

During stretching, defensive graduate assistant Bryant Young chatted with defensive end Morrice Richardson for a few moments.

Kerry Neal, Darius Fleming, Anthony McDonald and George West will all be limited at some point this spring, but all four were out there today. Neal and Fleming looked good, while McDonald and West were obviously slowed.

As the defense broke from stretching, the players got in two groups to do agility drills; one group was the defensive linemen while the other was the linebackers, defensive backs and specialists.

Corwin Brown was handing out compliments, but the majority went to walk-ons and kickers. Brown told the players they all needed to keep their eyes up as they went around and over the bags except for kicker Ryan Burkhart. "Burkie can do whatever he wants because he's my main guy," Brown said.

The secondary broke off on its own to do backpedal drills with Raeshon McNeil, Kyle McCarthy and Sergio Brown in the first group, Darrin Walls, Harrison Smith and Ray Herring in the next and classmates Jamoris Slaughter, Robert Blanton and Dan McCarthy in the third.

Walls showed some rust by turning the wrong way during one of the drills, but physically it looks as though Walls never left. He's moving fast and looks and sounds very excited to be back with his teammates.

Early enrollee E.J. Banks did not participate in the secondary drills, but does not have a brace after having offseason knee surgery, so that has to be a good sign.

Jon Tenuta put the linebackers through various drills to working on taking the proper angles. It was clear that Tenuta did not want to waste any time. At one point the coach told Steve Filer, "Get out of the way Filer. What do you think this is the (expletive) circus?"

Tenuta was not as forgiving with his new walk-ons as Brown and referred to one of them as ‘New Dude.'

But Tenuta did do a good job of making sure that he got his points across. Tenuta's attacking style was clear when he told one of the linebackers, "Don't drop-step. Everything we do is downhill," before telling the group, "It's all vision, fellas."

The drills were not full speed, but it was obvious that Brian Smith was going through them at a faster pace than anyone.

Charlie Weis watched from his cart as new defensive line coach Randy Hart put his players through various drills. It will be said many times, but Hart's energy is contagious. Hart kept the entire group alive as he put them through angle-tackling form drills and even had them excited when he had them run suicides.

Neal looked good when running although he was running with the defensive line, while Hafis Williams looked as though he could use some more conditioning.

Lorenzo Reyes

It was a bitterly chilly Saturday morning at the LaBar Practice fields and the team was in helmets and shorts.

Along with Notre Dame commit Danny Smith, Caleb Lavey, a class of 2010 OLB from Texas, was also in attendance. Coach Ianello and Parmalee stopped by to chat for a bit with both recruits.

Dayne Crist and Eric Maust seemed to be working on a new handshake, which they do prior to stretching.

Michael Floyd and Golden Tate were not present for the morning practice.

Duval Kamara had an elbow brace similar to the ones the O linemen were on their knees on his left arm, but it didn't seem to bother him too much.

I spent today looking at the offense, and right away, I noticed that Mike Ragone is moving well and seems fluid. However, he does have to shake off some rust, which is to be expected, in terms of route running and pass catching.

I watched the running backs, and I noticed that coach Alford is more of an observer during practice, while Parmalee is the more vocal of the two. "Keep the ball tight, and get off the bags," Parmalee shouted.

After some of the players stepped on the bags, Parmalee was bragging about how easy it was to do it: "See, it's real easy," he said as he ended up stepping on one of the bags. The players, of course, got a good laugh out of it. "Were you laughing too, Ragone?" Parmalee said to his tight end.

Kyle Rudolph has definitely spent some time in the gym and looks to be developing from last season.

John Goodman impressed me with his footwork, and has definitely been in the gym. He excels at the wide receiver drills and rarely drops a pass.

Alford wanted the running backs to perform this ropes drill, but once he saw that they were slow to start, he barked, "Let's go, you're wasting time."

Then I focused on Coach Verducci and his style. He's definitely intense and extremely analytical when watching his drills. One thing I noticed right off the bat is that he doesn't tell the players what to do, he asks them first to see if they can figure it out.

The unit was working on run blocking and finding the linebacker downfield and then engaging him. "That's it, good group," he said to one of the units.

"Focus, see it happen and relax and let it happen," Verducci said.

"Details, you've got to focus on the details. You're the last guy to go. 15 guys went before you, so pay attention," he barked at a lineman at the end of a rep.

"Don't square up, if you square up to me, it's not going to happen," Verducci told Chris Stewart.

"Nice, that's it. Everytime you strike, you've got to get balance off the explosion," he said.

An interesting exchange between Verducci and his unit involved Andrew Nuss.

First of all, even if some players aren't involved in the rep, Verducci has the entire group looking on, as a sort of mental rep. Once Nuss went through with engaging his blocker, Verducci asked, "Did anybody see anything there?"

Eric Olsen said something that I couldn't hear, but Verducci was quick to thank him.

"Thank you. I should have 15 assistant coaches out there." Then after Nuss tried it once more, Verducci was pleased. "Much better, Andrew."


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