Notre Dame offense practice notes 3-23-16

Eric Hansen
South Bend Tribune

SOUTH BEND — Walk-ons Chris Finke and Omar Hunter climbed into the two-deeps at wide receiver Wednesday morning during Notre Dame’s fifth football practice of the spring.

While, Finke — a former high school teammate at Kettering (Ohio) Alter of QB Malik Zaire — especially has been impressive during the media windows into practice so far, this depth chart shift was more about attrition.

Sophomores C.J. Sanders and Miles Boykin watched practice from the sidelines, with apparent injuries, while senior Corey Robinson missed the outside session at the LaBar Practice Complex all together.

There was minimal work with the wide receivers in the passing game anyway, during the approximately 40-minute look-in the media was allowed on Wednesday.

Senior offensive guard Colin McGovern was also a bystander, opening the door for sophomore Tristen Hoge to get some first-team reps at right guard. Hoge is in the mix for playing time at both center and right guard.

The rest of the starting offensive line comprised senior Mike McGlinchey at left tackle, junior Quenton Nelson at left guard, junior Sam Mustipher at center and senior Hunter Bivin at right tackle.

Senior Zaire was the first-team quarterback for the opening tempo drill, with senior Tarean Folston and sophomore Josh Adams alternating at running back.

The first-team wide receiver corps was senior Torii Hunter Jr., in the slot, and junior Corey Holmes and sophomore Equanimeous St. Brown on the outside. Senior Durham Smythe was the first-team tight end.

Junior QB DeShone Kizer led the second-team offense — a designation that means nothing at this point in terms of who will eventually win the starting job at this position.

The line in front of him, from left to right, comprised junior Jimmy Byrne, sophomore Trevor Ruhland, grad senior Mark Harrell, junior walk-on Sam Bush and junior Alex Bars. Sophomore Alizé Jones was the tight end.

Surging sophomore Dexter Williams shared second-team reps at running back with junior Justin Brent. Freshman Kevin Stepherson joined Finke and Hunter at wideout.

Folston continues to look fast and fluid in his comeback from an ACL tear suffered last September. Williams looks like he could make it a true three-man rotation with Folston and Adams.

One of the more amusing drills Wednesday was the ball-security exercise. Two managers whacked at the ball with Nerf-covered bats as the running backs ran past. The backs then ran through the gauntlet, an apparatus designed to induce fumbles as well.

Taking in Wednesday’s practice were 2017 Irish recruiting targets Robert Hainsey, a 6-foot-5, 276 offensive lineman from Bradenton, Fla., and Greg Rogers, a 6-4, 304, defensive tackle from Las Vegas (Arbor View), as well as 2018 defensive back prospect Houston Griffith.

Griffith is a 6-0, 185-pounder from Mt. Carmel High School in Chicago and is the son of former Illinois standout running back Howard Griffith, who won a couple of Super Bowl rings with the Denver Broncos.


Twitter: @EHansenNDI

Notre Dame’s Dexter Williams 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