FOOTBALL

Notebook: Pondering Corey Robinson's future at Notre Dame

Eric Hansen
South Bend Tribune

SOUTH BEND — With each passing no-show, the whispers get a little bit louder.

That Corey Robinson’s most notable accomplishment during spring football so far has been a decidedly non-football feat — a stirring rendition of the national anthem preceding a Bucks-Bulls NBA game in Milwaukee — only churns speculation.

Could the senior-to-be wide receiver — ND’s most experienced by far in terms of starting experience — be just a formal announcement away from the end of his Irish football career?

A medical evaluation by a specialist of Robinson’s multiple concussions, including one this spring, is now set for Tuesday after he was originally penciled in for this past week. That’s according to ND head coach Brian Kelly, who was asked about Robinson after Saturday’s practice — No. 12 of 15 this spring.

“He hasn’t alluded to one way or the other,” Kelly said of Robinson’s impending decision to stick with football or move on without it. “I think he’s doing this, because he certainly cares about playing football. If he didn’t, he probably wouldn’t go through this evaluation. He would just say, ‘I’m done.’

“So clearly he feels as though football is important and he wants to get obviously the kind of medical expertise necessary to make an informed decision.”

The 6-foot-5, 215-pound Robinson is ND’s active leader in receptions (65), receiving yards (896) and TD receptions (7). He’s played in 38 games with five starts in his first three seasons, though his productivity was way down last season from 2014 (16 catches from 40 in 2014).

Sophomore Equanimeous Brown has moved past him on the depth chart, and others could as well.

“We’re supportive,” Kelly said of the evaluations process. “Corey’s a very thoughtful kid. His dad (former NBA star David Robinson) is going to be part of the process, and his family is going to be there, too. I think that’s great for him.”

St. Brown, meanwhile, sat out the contact portions of practice as a precaution Saturday after injuring his shoulder in an earlier practice.

“We wanted to make sure he was good for next week,” Kelly said. “(It’s) not the shoulder that he hurt last year.”

Blue-Gold format change

For the first time since 2011, the format for next Saturday’s Blue-Gold Game at Notre Dame Stadium appears to be shaping up as an actual game, with dueling wannabe starting quarterbacks DeShone Kizer and Malik Zaire on opposite sides, and with traditional scoring.

The past four spring wrap-ups have featured the football equivalent of golf’s Modified Stableford System — points being awarded for such things as first downs, turnovers and three-and-outs, and touchdowns.

Kelly said he’s also leaning toward having the quarterbacks subject to being tackled for at least part of the game.

“I haven’t made a definitive decision on that, but they clearly need to be involved in the game,” he said. “They run. That’s what they do. That’s the identity of our offense, that the quarterback is going to be a running threat as well. So you’ve got to let them run a little bit, too.”

Still a happy camper

Brian Kelly’s reaction to the NCAA’s immediate ban on satellite camps didn’t match the outrage of some of his Northern counterparts.

It was actually more like a shrug.

“I don’t see it impacting what we’ve done,” Kelly said, “and it would not change our business plan and how we operate on a day-to-day basis.”

At the urging of coaches from the ACC and SEC, the NCAA, as of Friday, now limits camps to the team’s campus or regularly used facilities off campus. The rule change was seen as a shot at Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, who held several camps in the SEC/ACC geographical footprint last year.

Kelly initially embraced the satellite camp concept, scheduling one in Atlanta, but pulled the plug himself before it got much past the planning stage. His reframed thought was that recruiting ultimately would be better aided by getting prospects on ND’s campus rather than coming to them.

Squibs

• Among those taking in Saturday’s practice were former ND starting center Braxston Cave, now a member of the Detroit Lions, and future Irish defensive end Adetokunbo Ogundeji. The latter enrolls as a freshman in June.

• Kelly’s reaction to Notre Dame’s season opener at Texas being moved from a Saturday slot to Sunday night kickoff was predictably positive.

“You come to Notre Dame to play in those primetime games, so we’re excited about the national audience that we’ll have,” he said. “Great slot for a national game.”

• Former Notre Dame linebacker Darius Fleming, most recently with the New England Patriots, threw out the first pitch Saturday for the Chicago White Sox’s game against Cleveland at Cellular Field in Chicago.

ehansen@ndinsider.com

574-235-6112

Twitter: @EHansenNDI

Notre Dame’s Corey Robinson during Notre Dame spring football practice on Wednesday, March 16, 2016, inside the Loftus Sports Center at Notre Dame in South Bend. (Tribune Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN)
Notre Dame quarterbacks Brandon Wimbush (12), Malik Zaire (8) and DeShone Kizer (14) run drills during practice Saturday, April 9, 2016 inside the Loftus Sports Center at Notre Dame in South Bend. (Tribune photo/BECKY MALEWITZ)