Weekend Practice Highlights

Weekend Practice Highlights

Though both Anna Hickey and I have detailed practice reports from Saturday, the media was ushered out when Notre Dame scrimmaged. UND.com remained to shoot the following:

Saturday Scrimmage highlights from UND.com

0:35 -- Offensive coordinator Mike Denbrock back in the trenches after recent surgery.

0:49 -- Nice use of hands by junior #2 Chris Brown to extricate himself from the jam of Cole Luke (#36). Brown became one of Notre Dame most important players over the last few days (if he wasn't already).

0:54 -- C.J. Prosise (#20) overwhelms #41 Matthias Farley in man coverage from the slot. If Cody Riggs isn't the team's nickel defender in September, I'll be forced to change my 4-0 projection.

0:57 -- Will Fuller (#7) wearing Riggs (#2) like a suit on a deep post. GREAT coverage by Riggs against a player that blows by most in the Irish secondary.

1:03 -- #12 Devin Butler holding, then interfering, against freshman #15 Corey Holmes (this was referenced in my practice report linked below.

1:07 -- #21 Jalen Brown goes hands-on to slow down #81 Omar Hunter, then breaks quickly on a late throw for the PD. Looked like interference to me, but I'm not a trained official.

1:12 -- Nice use of hands by #88 Corey Robinson to break free of freshman Nick Watkins (#19)

1:19 -- #87 is walk-on wide receiver and Fort Wayne, Bishop Dwenger product Keenan Centlivre catching an end zone fade against #47 Connor Cavalaris, who returns to lend special teams aid to the Irish coverage units. Cavalaris was a regular prior to suffering a concussion last September, then fought back intermittently but not to his previous impact level.

1:22 -- #18 Ben Koyack schools rookie Drue Tranquill #23 on a quick post route. Some day, young man…

1:26 -- Touchdown Chris Brown, who creates space with a quick step to the slant against #12 Devin Butler before breaking to the corner for the fade route. Butler never found the ball and Brown caught it as a result.

1:33 -- Looks like #24 Josh Atkinson with no chance against The Venus FlyTrap, #88 Corey Robinson who one-hands a jump ball "fade" for the score. QB Malik Zaire could have made it easier on his receiver with better ball placement outside.

1:43 -- Bobbled by #2 Chris Brown but caught. He'd have been lit up by Cole Luke (#36) in live action…

1:46 -- Amir Carlisle with a diving grab early in practice from Golson. Carlisle beat Riggs on the play.

1:50 -- Riggs allows Brown too much space to Chris Brown on a comeback route completion from Golson (the last two reps were very close in real time and earned Riggs a lecture on the sidelines)

1:54 -- Another Chris Brown comeback route for the catch. That'll be a major weapon for Brown and Fuller for defenses that fear their speed (For instance, if Notre Dame were to play, say, Connecticut.)

2:01 -- A wide open C.J. Prosise (#20) courtesy a blown coverage by #10 Max Redfield (happened while I was in attendance.)

2:09 -- Toe-tapper on the sidelines by Corey Holmes #15 and a PD by #9 Jaylon Smith vs. Koyack.

2:18 -- First taste of scrimmage (tag-off) action and Tarean Folston #25 takes the zone read handoff over the right side and encounters #38 Joe Schmidt after about 4 yards…

2:21 -- That's #9 Jaylon Smith murdering #25 Folston in pass protection. Holy Moses…Nice coverage thereafter by #31 John Turner on the smash route against the tight end.

2:26 -- Junior DT #91 Sheldon Day deposits redshirt freshman Mike McGlinchey (#68) on the turf. That's senior #56 Anthony Rabasa coming around the edge from the other side…

2:32 -- #8 Malik Zaire eludes #23 Drue Tranquill in space, signals first down after the play is blown dead.

2:39 -- Great zone movement by SLB #17 James Onwualu who reads #5 Everett Golson's options on a scramble to the left, moves his feet and records an end zone PD.

2:48 -- Zaire's designed roll left and end zone offering to #82 Nic Weishar is picked off by #22 Elijah Shumate

2:57 -- Golson let's it rip to #18 Ben Koyack for the score. #88 Corey Robinson runs my favorite route, an end zone "wrap" behind Koyack -- that's a tough cover for a zone defense -- and if it's man, Robinson is a tough cover, anyway.

For all material viewed prior to the scrimmage, click the links below:

Anna Hickey Reports on the Offense

Tim O'Malley reports on the defense

Friday…on the field

Media was not allowed inside the walls for Friday's practice on August 15 (of course, media was famously outside the walls taking roll), but UND.com produced video of the team's linebackers.

A blow-by-blow is detailed below with a video link courtesy UND.com

Friday (Aug. 15) practice feature

0:29 -- Joe Schmidt (#38) and Jaylon Smith (#9) appear to execute the correct run fit inside, but DE #45 Romeo Okwara is controlled by LT #68 Mike McGlinchey and an outside rush lane forms as a result…

0:33 -- In zone coverage #5 Nyles Morgan follows movement to his right, effectively (and needlessly) doubling the slot receiver, #81 Omar Hunter -- RB Cam McDaniel finds a passing lane inside to split Morgan and fellow inside 'backer Greer Martini for a solid gain. #4 Eilar Hardy fills to make the tackle on McDaniel from his safety position.

0:41 -- Schmidt fires through his assigned lane against QB #5 Everett Golson as Golson runs an option play to the right side. Hands off, so we don't know if Schmidt would have wrapped up or been a tick late…

0:48 -- #9 Jaylon Smith in short zone coverage -- he won't pick off seven passes as did Manti Te'o as a senior in 2012, but Smith will ranks as the program's best cover linebacker since Courtney Watson reigned supreme in 2002.

1:10 -- Linebackers coach Bob Elliott discusses Smith's new role inside and out as a will linebacker -- lot of ground to cover, and a lot of action inside for Smith this fall.

2:00 -- Elliott discusses Joe Schmidt, and when a walk-on isn't really a walk-on. Elliott notes he recruited Schmidt to Iowa State during the latter's prep career at Mater Dei (). Elliott notes of Schmidt: "What makes Joe special is, he's the smartest player on the field. And that includes all positions, in my opinion." Elliott adds, " Joe's also intelligent when it comes to angles and how you play the game...Maybe he's not the best athlete, but he's one of the best football players. There's a big difference between the two. Being a football player and being an athlete aren't always the same thing."

3:15 -- Elliott on SLB James Onwualu, who, by recent accounts and words uttered, appears to have pulled ahead of junior John Turner for the lead role. "When he was a senior in high school (at xxx Cretin-Durham), he not only played wide receiver, but he also played a version of strong safety where he was down in the box or on the edge which rivals an outside linebacker position. When I came back from that game, I was convinced we could use him on defense at some point."

Elliott offers that though Onwualu was moved to safety in the winter, he worked as an outside linebacker in the spring (as reported here). Elliott adds that Turner is very competitive at that position and that he'll receive ample snaps as well. The veteran sage includes Ben Councell as a role player against power teams as widely projected.

4:40 -- Elliott on Nyles Morgan and Greer Martini, "Unexpected. Morgan is a great physical specimen. He can run, is physical, tackles. All those things are good. Nyles is playing the mike 'backer which is the most complicated, communication-oriented of all the 'backer positions. So this is going to be difficult for him. He's working through the issues right now. It's completely different for him…he's trying to master the details. That part of it is hard. The physical part…he's got that down.

"What I like about Nyles right now is he understands that he's way off. And he has a long way to go. He came in having been the top dog on his team for years and he understands now that he has a long way to go to get to the position he's going to get in.

Near the 6;00 mark -- Elliott compliments Martini for better athleticism than the staff thought he had and that he's really picked up the system quickly. Martini will back up Smith at the will. "A long smooth athlete, a much better athlete than we expected."

6:20 -- Fascinating stuff from Elliott (per usual). Martini didn't get any reps at Culver. He moved into contention because of his demeanor in meetings. "He appeared to be picking up the system quickly, so we fed him a few reps. He looked good. We fed him a few more, and now he's with the second unit. He's a quick learner, a good athlete. Very instinctive player. We'll put (both) on position where they can play on special teams and they can have an impact on his team.

6:45 -- Elliott to new defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder: "This is like having a team of rookies in the NFL. There's no two-year or three-year veterans in this scheme. They have to be able to digest this stuff quickly. The really faster learners are in front right now."

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