Wednesday Practice Update

Brian Kelly's Irish battled the elements for spring practice No. 5 today at the LaBar Practice Complex.

Pleasant spring temperatures and a light rain provided an early backdrop for Notre Dame's first practice in seven days. Heavy rain, wind, and a bout of lightning (causing a brief respite inside) gave head coach Brian Kelly yet another teaching tool as his team embarked on practice No. 5 of the spring session.

Per usual, Kelly emphasized special teams interspersed with group work in his opening five-minute session. Taking kick-off return reps were the following duos:

I wouldn't read too much into the pairings. As noted last week, nearly every skill position player on the roster took turns returning punts; the weeding out process remains in its infancy.

Intermixed with the kick-offs was an unexpected onside kick that caught front line blocker David Posluszny off-guard. Poz turned to run, but was bailed out by an alert Dan McCarthy as the junior pounced on the surprise onside kick.

"You turn and run when the ball's over your head!" barked special teams coordinator Mike Elston to the exposed Posluszny.

Following the aerobic stretch, Kelly separated the squad for team sessions, with one end of the feature practice field highlighted by field goal units and attempts by Nicholas Tausch.

Tausch missed his first offering short-range offering before drilling kicks from 35, 45, and 50 yards (punter Ben Turk was Tausch's holder).

In the opposite end zone, the quarterbacks worked with the receivers and running backs sideline/go routes. The drill's objective was to catch the undefended pass at its highest point, which brings us to the line of the day by offensive coordinator Charley Molnar:

"Two hands, Michael," as Michael Floyd effortlessly snared a deep ball with one paw. "Not impressing anyone..."

Five to Score

Brian Kelly's early practice drill featured the following groupings:

First Unit (we assume): QB Dayne Crist with Robert Hughes as the lone 'back in the backfield; Duval Kamara, Michael Floyd, Theo Riddick and Kyle Rudolph as his pass targets. The OL from left to right featured Zach Martin, Chris Stewart, Braxston Cave, Chris Watt, and Trevor Robinson (note: Robinson was indeed at RT rather than his customary RG).

Second Unit: QB Nate Montana with Jonas Gray as his lone 'back; Shaq Evans, John Goodman, Tai-ler Jones, and Mike Ragone as the pass targets. The LT through RT offensive line showed Matt Romine, Andrew Nuss, Dan Wenger, Taylor Dever, and Alex Bullard (Dever, like Robinson in Unit 1, moved from RT to RG).

Third Unit: QB Tommy Rees with Cierre Wood in the backfield. Pass targets were Roby Toma, Deion Walker, Barry Gallup, and Bobby Burger. The OL comprised Martin again at LT; Stewart at LG, Mike Golic at C and Dennis Mahoney at RT (I missed the RG's # as the drill ended at the five-minute bell).

None of the groups made it through the five plays without a mental error, though the first unit was much more crisp than the second. Montana, in particular, was taken to task by Kelly for a sloppy effort, including a dropped shotgun snap.

Lightning in the area sent the team inside and the media on its way, though one notable group activity included a drill with a shotgun snap followed by an option roll (left during my viewing) by the quarterback with his offset running back as the pitch man outside, and the backside tight end flowing across the line of scrimmage (from the right side of the center to the left) to serve as a shuffle pass/pitch receiving target (the best visual I can give you: it was similar to Urban Meyer's "Tim Tebow" play).

Not at practice today (at least not during the media viewing session): running back Armando Allen.

Jimmy Clausen, Robby Parris, and Kyle McCarthy attended today's practice (at least the later portion) as did former Irish offensive lineman Sean Milligan and current friend of Irish Eyes, Lo Wood Sr. Top Stories