Almost Scary

Standing off to the side, inside the Loftus Center on Saturday afternoon, Notre Dame verbal commit Christian Lombard watched closely, as the Irish football team got after it in full pads during a spring practice.

Christian Lombard also couldn't help but picture himself running along side and taking reps with the likes of Trevor Robinson, Braxston Cave and the rest of the Notre Dame offensive line in the fall of 2010.

"It's weird," the four-star prospect and future U.S. Army All-American said. "I'm going to be there in a year, so I'm just getting a feel for it, a feel for what I'm going to look like out there.

"It's cool, but it's almost scary because I'm going to be out there."

The Palatine, Ill., product admitted it will be a little scary feeling the wrath of Notre Dame offensive line coach Frank Verducci for the first time.

"Yeah, but I think it's good he can push me and push all those guys," the 6-foot-5, 290-pound Lombard said. "I think that's what they really need as an offensive line as a whole."

From Wm Fremd High, Lombard gave his verbal commitment to Charlie Weis and the Notre Dame football program on Jan. 3rd at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Later that month, Lombard returned to South Bend for the Irish's junior day, and this past Saturday, he and his Dad drove in so they could watch the team practice and scrimmage.

"I got to see coach Verducci do what he did," Lombard said. "I liked it, but not to critique them, but they looked a little rusty on offense, but that's expected, it's early. I thought the defense looked real solid.

"Coach Weis talked to me after practice saying they were making a lot of mental errors and stuff.

Lombard did however see signs of improvement.

"They didn't run the ball a lot when they scrimmaged, but when they did they pounded. But they were at a disadvantage because they couldn't cut, and they didn't have Golden Tate, Michael Floyd and the No. 9 tight end (Kyle Rudolph), so they were overall at a disadvantage.

"From what I saw from (Jimmy) Clausen, he showed a lot of leadership. I think they have some tenacity in them now. I think they're going to be able to run the ball this year pretty well."

While in town, one of the main things Lombard was looking to see, was how Verducci worked with the offensive linemen.

"I think the difference between (former offensive line) coach (John) Latina and coach Verducci, is that coach Verducci got more in their faces and corrected them a lot, and coach Latina was more laid back, and I think that's what we need, is for him to get in our faces and tell us what we did wrong. I think he's good.

"I didn't really get to talk with him as much as I would've liked to, because they were going to watch film as a coaching staff, but I got a lot out of it just watching him."

Lombard also liked how Verducci would ask players taking a mental rep off to the side, what someone running the actual play did right or wrong.

"I think that's really good because you have to be paying attention at all times, watch your position," Lombard explained. "They scrimmaged (Saturday) and the twos were motivating the ones, and the ones were motivating the twos, so I think there is good leadership there."

Lombard got a chance to catch up with Weis, who he emails with regularly, and he also talked to recruits Zach Fulton and Matt James, who attended practice as well. Lombard thought both had a good time, and went into detail about his short conversation with James, who is a 6-7, 285-pound offensive tackle from Cincinnati, that also holds an Irish offer.

"I just introduced myself and asked him what he thought of the place, and he shook his head and said he really liked it. I think he likes it, and I think he saw what I saw, and what I saw was good, so hopefully it's good in his eyes too."

Lombard will be back at Notre Dame on April 18th for the spring game.


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