Notre Dame offensive practice notes 3-31

Mike Vorel
South Bend Tribune

SOUTH BEND — Brandon Wimbush kept running.

In the closing moments of media availability during Notre Dame's practice on Friday morning, the highly touted junior quarterback found junior wide receiver Miles Boykin on a slant route, watching as Boykin eluded cornerback Nick Watkins and burst into the open field. As Boykin galloped unabated towards the end zone, Wimbush sprinted after him, crossing nearly the entire field with long strides to celebrate with his teammate.

That could be a glimpse of things to come.

In the first seven periods of Friday's practice, Notre Dame's offensive starters were Wimbush, running back Josh Adams, wide receivers Equanimeous St. Brown, Chase Claypool and C.J. Sanders, tight end Durham Smythe and offensive linemen Mike McGlinchey (LT), Quenton Nelson (LG), Sam Mustipher (C), Alex Bars (RG) and Tommy Kraemer (RT).

This was a significant moment for Sanders, who had been practicing behind Chris Finke at the slot receiver spot previously this spring. On Friday, Finke worked with the second team. Tight end Alizé Jones and running back Tony Jones Jr. also got some work with the first unit.

Also of note on Friday was sophomore quarterback Ian Book, who practiced with the second unit for the first time in media viewing this spring. Book hopped over senior Montgomery VanGorder, who worked with the third team. 

As he has been doing all spring, sophomore wide receiver Kevin Stepherson — who caught 25 passes for 462 yards and five touchdowns as a true freshman last season — was relegated to the third team, behind Claypool and Boykin. That didn't stop Stepherson from hauling in a long reception on a crossing route during 11-on-11 action.

Sophomore wide receiver Javon Mckinley, who has been limited this spring while recovering from a broken fibula, worked with the second team during the practice's opening tempo drill.

Wimbush took a few snaps from under center on Friday, a rare sight for an offense that overwhelmingly operates with shotgun snaps. 

Notre Dame had a notable visitor on Friday in 2018 tight end and Irish target George Takacs. As expected, Takacs shadowed the tight end position throughout the morning practice.

Junior running back Dexter Williams did not attend Friday's practice because of an exam, which resulted in an increased role for sophomore Deon McIntosh with the third team.

Notre Dames Ian Book (12) hands the ball off to Tony Jones Jr. (34) while running drills during practice, Friday, March 31, 2017, in South Bend. Tribune Photo/BECKY MALEWITZ