Notre Dame football full practice notes 3-25

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

SOUTH BEND — On the final day of the Notre Dame Football Coaches Clinic, the Irish put plenty of competition on display.

Saturday’s practice, the fifth of the spring, featured a lot of one-on-one and scrimmage action with coaches and media members allowed to watch the entire two hours.

Notre Dame started practice inside the Loftus Sports Center for warmups and position drills before transitioning outside to the LaBar Practice Complex.

The competition started right away when the Irish went outdoors. The defensive backs and wide receivers squared off on routes while the quarterbacks tried to thread the needle. Work in the red zone resulted in touchdowns for tight ends Durham Smythe and Alizé Jones and wide receiver Javon McKinley. Cornerback Nick Watkins and safety Jalen Elliott broke up passes intended for Miles Boykin and Nic Weishar, respectively.

The special teams portion of practice was dedicated to punts with Tyler Newsome and Jeff Riney taking turns booming footballs. Sophomore John Shannon, set to replace Scott Daly, took over the No. 1 long snapper duties. Weishar worked as his backup. Notre Dame sent Chris Finke, CJ Sanders, Kevin Stepherson and Equanimeous St. Brown back to field the punts.

The No. 2 offense scored the first touchdown of the day in a scrimmage setting. Boykin caught a pass from quarterback Ian Book in the right side of the end zone with Donte Vaughn in coverage.

The offensive and defensive line set up some one-on-one pass rush drills with each side showing flashes. Freshman Aaron Banks scored the first knockdown of the day against Brandon Tiassum. Jonathan Bonner beat Quenton Nelson with a good rip move, Jerry Tillery toasted Alex Bars with a similar move, and Daniel Cage ran through Sam Mustipher with a bull rush. But Notre Dame’s offensive line recorded its share of victories with Mike McGlinchey as the most consistent.

When the Irish organized some seven-on-seven situations near the goal line, Book found more success than Brandon Wimbush. Book threw touchdown passes to Weishar, Alizé Jones and Boykin. Wimbush delivered a score to Claypool, but he was also intercepted by Asmar Bilal after Watkins deflected a pass.

The rest of the practice was a controlled scrimmage. The offense seemed to be clicking more than the defense even though Wimbush missed an open Claypool in the end zone early.

Book threw a touchdown pass to tight end Tyler Luatua. Tony Jones Jr. scored a short touchdown run by reaching for the goal line through a tackle by freshman safety Isaiah Robertson. Adams ripped off a run of 50-some yards. Wimbush redeemed himself with a touchdown pass to Claypool. Book found Tony Jones Jr. for a short throw and a long run after the catch with Greer Martini applying pressure on the quarterback. Book connected with Alizé Jones for a touchdown. Boykin beat Watkins deep for a gain of roughly 30 yards on a nice throw from Wimbush.

Nyles Morgan served as Notre Dame’s most consistent defender. The Irish offense was able to find some running lanes up the middle, but he stuffed his share of plays too. Both Drue Tranquill and Bilal disrupted plays from the rover position with tackles for a loss. Daelin Hayes recorded a tackle for a loss on a zone read keep by Wimbush. Safety Nick Coleman laid out for a diving pass breakup on a third-down play.

The scrimmage came to an end with a final fourth-down play from just outside the five-yard line. Defensive coordinator Mike Elko called a timeout before the play after some substitution confusion. When play resumed, Wimbush delivered a strike to Tony Jones Jr. in the end zone to beat Tranquill for a touchdown.

Notable visitors

Former Irish offensive linemen Zack Martin and Nick Martin helped out offensive line coach Harry Hiestand at practice. They were each running drills at various points.

The Martin brothers just so happened to be on campus the same weekend the Irish hosted some of their top offensive line recruits in the 2018 class. Offensive line commit Cole Mabry spent most of Saturday’s practice alongside offensive line target John Dirksen. Ryan Hayes and Nicholas Petit-Frere, also offensive line targets, attended Saturday’s practice.

Defensive tackle Ja’mion Franklin, a 2018 recruit, followed along the defense a day after reporting a new offer from Notre Dame.

Depth charts

Notre Dame lined up with these units at various parts of Saturday’s practice.

First-team offense: quarterback Brandon Wimbush, running back Josh Adams, wide receivers Equanimeous St. Brown, Chase Claypool and Chris Finke, tight end Durham Smythe and offensive linemen (left to right) Mike McGlinchey, Quenton Nelson, Sam Mustipher, Alex Bars and Tommy Kraemer.

Second-team offense: quarter

back Ian Book, running back Dexter Williams, wide receivers Miles Boykin, Austin Webster and CJ Sanders, tight end Nic Weishar and offensive linemen Robert Hainsey, Aaron Banks, Tristen Hoge, Trevor Ruhland and Liam Eichenberg.

 *Tight end Alizé Jones and running back Tony Jones Jr. worked in with both groups.

First-team defense: defensive ends Daelin Hayes and Jay Hayes, defensive tackles Jonathan Bonner and Jerry Tillery, linebackers Nyles Morgan and Greer Martini, rover Drue Tranquill, safeties Nick Coleman and Devin Studstill and cornerbacks Nick Watkins and Julian Love.

Second-team defense: defensive end Julian Okwara and Andrew Trumbetti, defensive tackles Micah Dew-Treadway and Daniel Cage, linebackers Te’von Coney and Jamir Jones, rover Asmar Bilal, safeties Jalen Elliott and Nicco Fertitta and conerbacks Donte Vaughn and Troy Pride Jr.

Notre Dame's Brandon Wimbush hands off to Tony Jones Jr. during practice at the Loftus Sports Center in South Bend Saturday, March 24, 2017. Tribune Photo/MICHAEL CATERINA