Notre Dame defense practice notes 4-1-16

IRISH STEW

Eric Hansen
South Bend Tribune

SOUTH BEND — It’s likely still in the tweaking stage, but Notre Dame’s alignment for its dime package, seven spring practices in, looks intriguing.

Starting strong safety Drue Tranquill turns pass rusher and joins Andrew Trumbetti, Jerry Tillery and Isaac Rochell on the defensive line.

Two linebackers stay on the field — middle linebacker Nyles Morgan and strongside ’backer James Onwualu.

Cornerbacks Shaun Crawford, Nick Watkins and Cole Luke were joined by an all-freshman duo playing the deep safety positions, Devin Studstill and Spencer Perry.

In ND’s traditional alignment, Watkins and Luke took the first-team reps at corner during the 45-minute media viewing window on Friday. Studstill lined up at safety with Tranquill, though senior Max Redfield did rotate in some for Studstill.

Throughout practice No. 7 of 15 this spring, defensive backs coach Todd Lyght kept imploring his group to play physical, a recurring mantra since spring drills kicked off.

The top linebacker tier remains Morgan in the middle, flanked by Onwualu and redshirt freshman Asmar Bilal. The starting defensive front remains Rochell, Tillery, Jarron Jones and Trumbetti.

The buzz around early enrolled freshman defensive end Daelin Hayes continues to build. Even though his recovery from offseason shoulder surgery limits his contact reps, the 6-foot-4, 257-pounder from Ann Arbor, Mich., grabbed some second-team D-line reps on Friday.

He showed off a quick burst in pass-rush drills and looks especially lean and fit in his build. Hayes was joined on the second team D-line by Daniel Cage at nose guard, Elijah Taylor at defensive tackle and Jonathan Bonner at the other defensive end spot.

Taking in practice Friday was 2017 linebacker prospect James Houston, a 6-1, 225-pounder from American Heritage High School in Plantation, Fla. Also observing was Tadas Tatarunas, a 2018 quarterback prospect from Mentor (Ohio) High.

Incoming freshman offensive tackle Tommy Kraemer was as practice as well and spent some one-on-one time with offensive line coach Harry Hiestand.

ehansen@ndinsider.com

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Twitter: @EHansenNDI

Notre Dame’s Drue Tranquill during Notre Dame spring football practice on Wednesday, March 16, 2016, inside the Guglielmino Athletics Complex at Notre Dame in South Bend. Tribune Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN