Building Depth: Offensive Depth Chart ProjectionsThough movement will likely occur after the final three practices and Blue Gold Game next week, below is our best shot at the current spring depth chart for the Irish:
- Quarterback: Dayne Crist, Nate Montana, Tommy Rees
- Running Back: Armando Allen, Jonas Gray, Cierre Wood
- Fullback: Robert Hughes, Bobby Burger. Burger appears to be the choice as a lead blocker in short yardage situations.
Tight End: Kyle Rudolph, Mike Ragone, Tyler Eifert, Bobby Burger, Jake Golic.
Purely an observation, but it appears Eifert would play ahead of Burger as a true tight end. Burger has carved out his niche as a fullback/H-back/backup TE.
- Wide Receiver (X): Tai-ler Jones, Theo Riddick/Deion Walker
- Wide Receiver (Y): Michael Floyd, John Goodman, Barry Gallup
- Wide Receiver (Slot): Duval Kamara, Shaquelle Evans/Roby Toma
Note: The former regime denoted the slot receiver as the "F" – I'll find out the Kelly/Molnar terminology on Monday.
- Wide Receivers (5-Wide set-up from left to right): Tai-ler Jones, Duval Kamara, Kyle Rudolph, Armando Allen/Robert Hughes, Michael Floyd (1st Unit). Deion Walker, Roby Toma/Shaq Evans, Mike Ragone, Cierre Wood/Jonas Gray, John Goodman (2nd Unit).
In each case a player is listed first in tandem (Allen/Hughes; Toma/Evans, etc.) because he received more reps (Saturday). Walker and Jones received nearly every rep at the X today when the offense's five-wide sets battled the LB/DB units (No linemen were involved in the otherwise live drill).
John Goodman exited practice with ice applied to his foot/ankle. He walked off under his own power.
- Left Tackle: Zach Martin, Matt Romine
- Left Guard: Chris Stewart, Andrew Nuss
- Center: Braxston Cave, Dan Wenger, Mike Golic
- Right Guard: Trevor Robinson (today), Chris Watt, Taylor Dever
- Right Tackle: Taylor Dever, Trevor Robinson, Alex Bullard (absent today due to family matter), Lane Clelland (who showed well in limited action).
Notes: Robinson would likely slid to RT if Dever were to succumb to injury, thus the second-string listing over Bullard. I doubt Dever would move to guard if Robinson were to go down (that spot would likely go to Nuss or Watt). Robinson could certainly still start at RT with Dever at RG…that just wasn't the case today.
Defensive Depth Chart ObservationsI'll have more on the defense with a full notebook tomorrow. .
- Defensive End: Ethan Johnson, Hafis Williams, Tyler Stockton
- Defensive End: Kapron Lewis-Moore, Emeka Nwankwo, Brandon Newman
- Nose Tackle: Ian Williams, Sean Cwynar, Brandon Newman
Note: Newman took Hafis' Williams place as the No. 2 DE behind Ethan Johnson today. Williams was withheld as a precaution today after tweaking his knee in Friday's practice. Coach Kelly mentioned today that he was extremely pleased with Emeka Nwankwo's improvement and that he believes Nwankwo sees he has a chance to contribute and that "It's important to him now. I don't know how important it was to him prior to this season. But it is now, and he's done a nice job."
- Outside Linebacker: Brian Smith, Steve Filer, Dan Fox
- Outside Linebacker: Darius Fleming, Kerry Neal, Martin Quintana (walk-on and former DE)
- Inside (Middle) Linebacker: Manti Te'o, Steve Paskorz, David Posluszny
- Inside Linebacker: Anthony McDonald, Carlo Calabrese, Sean Oxley (walk-on)
- Strong Safety: Harrison Smith, Zeke Motta, Chris Salvi (walk-on)
- Free Safety: Jamoris Slaughter, Dan McCarthy, Chris Badger
- Field Cornerback: Darrin Walls, Robert Blanton, E.J. Banks, Spencer Boyd
- Boundary Cornerback: Gary Gray, Robert Blanton, E.J. Banks/Lo Wood.
Defensive Notes/Thoughts: Kelly mentioned today that SS Zeke Motta moves to the "Buck" Linebacker role when the team is in its Nickel and Dime defense (that presumably takes Anthony McDonald off the field). My guess for the nickel role is Robert Blanton, replacing either Fleming or Brian Smith, depending on the defensive play call.
Kelly noted the defense would have upwards of "15-16" rotational contributors. I can surmise the 11 starters listed above, plus Motta, Blanton, Neal, Filer, and Hafis Williams to round out that group.
We'll have a heavy focus on defensive personnel, including Kelly's observations of the group as a whole, on Sunday and again Monday morning.