Notre Dame football practice report 8-17

Mike Vorel and Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

Notre Dame took the field Wednesday for practice No. 14 of camp. The crowd at practice was much larger than usual for Faculty Appreciation Day and Media Day.

OFFENSE

Quarterback DeShone Kizer started the day with the No. 1 offense, but Malik Zaire took many reps with the first unit as well as the practice continued.

The rest of the starting unit included a rotation of Tarean Folston and Dexter Williams at running back, a rotation of Durham Smythe and Nic Weishar at tight end, wide receivers Torii Hunter Jr., Equanimeous St. Brown and C.J. Sanders, and offensive linemen (left to right) Mike McGlinchey, Quenton Nelson, Sam Mustipher, Colin McGovern and Alex Bars.

The No. 2 offense lined up with Zaire, a rotation of running backs Josh Adams and Tony Jones Jr., wide receivers Kevin Stepherson, Miles Boykin and Corey Holmes, tight end Tyler Luatua, and offensive linemen Hunter Bivin, Trevor Ruhland, Mark Harrell, Tristen Hoge and Tommy Kraemer.

Adams took very little reps as he continues his return from a minor hamstring injury.

The practice featured a lot of 11-on-11 scenarios and started with some physicality early. When cornerback Troy Pride Jr. hit Chase Claypool on the ground, Bivin gave Pride a shove after the whistle and started a small scrum.

The offense wasn't particularly sharp at times with some false starts and players not getting in position when needed. That led to head coach Brian Kelly demanding every offensive player to take a lap. That's the first time that's happened in all four practices with media viewing.

The drops were contagious for Notre Dame's pass catchers. Deon McIntosh, Tony Jones Jr., Javon McKinley, Smythe, St. Brown, Stepherson, Sanders, Stepherson and Boykin all dropped at least one pass. Very few were repeat offenders though.

Hunter shined in multiple sessions included catching touchdown passes from Kizer and Zaire during the seven-on-seven segment near the goal line. That session may have been the best of the day for the offense, which scored on five consecutive plays. Smythe, St. Brown and Stepherson all found the end zone.

Justin Yoon made three of his four field goal attempts during the final scrimmage session. He made kicks from 45, 22 and 33 yards out and missed a 37-yarder.

DEFENSE

Notre Dame’s defense on Wednesday featured both additions and subtractions. Junior defensive end Jay Hayes, who has been working as the starting weakside defensive end, wore a walking boot on his left foot and did not participate in practice. Junior nose guard Daniel Cage and freshman safety Devin Studstill, however, returned to practice after previously missing time with hamstring injuries.

The Irish defensive starters were as follows: defensive ends Isaac Rochell and Andrew Trumbetti (in Hayes’ place), nose tackle Jarron Jones, defensive tackle Jerry Tillery, linebackers James Onwualu (SAM), Nyles Morgan (MIKE) and Asmar Bilal (WILL), cornerbacks Cole Luke and Shaun Crawford and safeties Max Redfield (FS) and Drue Tranquill. In nickel situations, Crawford slid inside to play nickelback and sophomore Nick Coleman operated as the third cornerback.

Without the injured Jay Hayes, freshmen Daelin Hayes and Julian Okwara worked in at the weakside defensive end position behind Trumbetti.

Luke had another strong day on Wednesday, knocking multiple passes away from intended target Equanimeous St. Brown in 1-on-1 drills. Freshman safety Jalen Elliott also nabbed an impressive interception in 1-on-1 work, wrestling the football away from tight end Tyler Luatua on a pass down the seam. Freshman cornerback Julian Love made a couple impressive plays, including a break up intended for senior Torii Hunter Jr. in goal line work.

Crawford got the better of junior slot receiver Corey Holmes in a 1-on-1 drill, trailing Holmes like a shadow until the quarterback eventually was forced into an incompletion.

Senior nose tackle Jarron Jones appeared plenty mobile on Wednesday, picking up a loose football and rumbling roughly 60 yards to the opposing end zone.

Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly during practice on Notre Dame Football Media Day Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016, at LaBar Practice Field on the Notre Dame campus in South Bend. Tribune Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN