Notre Dame defense practice notes 4-6-16

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

SOUTH BEND — Practice No. 10 on Wednesday marked the final limited viewing session of the spring for media covering Notre Dame football.

Two full practices and the Blue-Gold Game will be the last to see of the Irish until fall camp. Those will likely be the most revealing sessions.

During the portion of practice available to media on Wednesday, Notre Dame’s defense did not line up as a full unit once. Following field goal work to start practice, the Irish defense split into positions for drills as warmups. The defensive line worked on penetration and pursuit and the linebackers and defensive backs worked on various coverage aspects.

Later in practice, the Irish worked on their nickelback package with linebackers Nyles Morgan and James Onwualu joined by nickelback Shaun Crawford, cornerbacks Cole Luke and Nick Coleman and safeties Devin Studstill and Drue Tranquill as the No. 1 unit. The second group comprised of linebackers Josh Barajas and Asmar Bilal, Luke at nickelback, cornerbacks Ashton White and Devin Butler and safeties Max Redfield and Avery Sebastian.

To finish the viewing session, Notre Dame brought a little physicality to the field in the Loftus Sports Center. The defensive front seven worked against the offensive line and running backs in the running game. While most of the drill was out of view, defensive end Isaac Rochell beat offensive lineman Hunter Bivin soundly, which drew some yelling from offensive line coach Harry Hiestand.

On the other end of the field, wide receivers and defensive backs went one-on-one in a 10-yard sprint for the end zone between the numbers and the sideline. The drill was dominated mostly by the receivers who were able to outrun, side step or run through the defensive backs in the small area.

Freshman receiver Kevin Stepherson recorded at least three touchdowns beating Nick Coleman, Devin Studstill and Ashton White. Walk-on receiver Chris Finke also proved to be a tough tackle when he juked Shaun Crawford and beat Studstill on separate reps. Equanimeous St. Brown also found the end zone at least twice.

A few recruits also attended Wednesday’s practice: local 2017 athlete Cedric Mitchell from Elkhart (Ind.) Concord and a trio of 2018 prospects from Thomson, Ga.: cornerback Christian Tutt, wide receiver Marcus Cade and defensive back Jacorey Crawford.

Tutt will planned to play his junior season at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., but transferred to the school and back to Thomson earlier this year. The 5-foot-11, 185-pound recruit already claims offers from Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Florida and Florida State, among others.

247Sports slates him as a four-star prospect and the No. 4 cornerback in the 2018 class.


Twitter: @TJamesNDI

Linebacker Nyles Morgan runs drills during Notre Dame spring football practice on Friday, April 1, 2016, inside the Guglielmino Athletics Complex at Notre Dame in South Bend. Photo/BECKY MALEWITZ