Notre Dame defensive practice notes 3-31

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

SOUTH BEND — Equanimeous St. Brown looked open until he wasn’t.

As the Irish wide receiver crossed the field, quarterback Brandon Wimbush threw him a pass near the left sideline.  That’s when safety Nick Coleman, who had been providing soft coverage deep, flashed in front of St. Brown and knocked down the pass.

It was only the first play of 11-on-11 action in Friday’s practice, the seventh of the spring, but it represented the unexpected rise of Coleman in March. The former cornerback has continued to take reps as the No. 1 free safety. The experiment seems to have worked for the junior from Dayton, Ohio.

The final portion of practice available for media viewing included scrimmage action inside the Loftus Sports Center. The offense and defense took turns impressing.

The ensuing play after Coleman’s pass breakup went considerably worse for the defense. Wide receiver Miles Boykin beat cornerback Nick Watkins on a slant route and took it the distance for a long touchdown.

Defensive tackle Jerry Tillery made himself noticeable by flashing into the backfield for what would have been two tackles for a loss — if he was allowed to tackle the Irish running backs. He beat offensive linemen on the right and left side of the line from his nose guard position.

Before Notre Dame’s defense entered the scrimmage setting, the unit ran through its typical pursuit drill as a defense and broke up into position-specific drills.

Thomas Booker, one of Notre Dame's top defensive end targets in the 2018 recruiting class, attended practice and followed the defensive line closely. Sophomore defensive end Daelin Hayes even took the time to dap up Booker between drills.

The following players lined up with the top two defensive units during practice.

No. 1: Defensive ends Daelin Hayes and Andrew Trumbetti, defensive tackles Micah Dew-Treadway and Jerry Tillery, linebackers Greer Martini and Nyles Morgan, rover Drue Tranquill, safeties Nick Coleman and Devin Studstill and cornerbacks Nick Watkins and Julian Love.

No. 2: Defensive ends Julian Okwara and Jay Hayes, defensive tackles Jonathan Bonner and Daniel Cage, linebackers Te’von Coney and Jamir Jones, rover Asmar Bilal, safeties Jalen Elliott and Nicco Fertitta and cornerbacks Donte Vaughn and Troy Pride Jr.

Notre Dame's Nick Watkins (7) runs drills during practice, Friday, March 31, 2017, in South Bend. Tribune Photo/BECKY MALEWITZ