Notre Dame defensive practice notes 4-19

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

SOUTH BEND — How the addition of the rover position will impact Notre Dame’s defense in the fall remains to be seen, but the hybrid safety/linebacker spot continues to produce plays for the Irish this spring.

The top two candidates to play the position disrupted Notre Dame’s offense in the first session of 11-on-11 action during Wednesday’s practice, the 13th of the spring.

First, Drue Tranquill corralled a zone-read play between quarterback Brandon Wimbush and running back Tony Jones Jr. in the backfield. Then, Asmar Bilal smacked wide receiver C.J. Sanders on a reverse for another significant loss.

The defense dominated much of the first session, so much so that head coach Brian Kelly insisted the offense run another play to finish the period. Following plenty of chirping from the defensive players, the period ended with defensive end Adetokunbo Ogundeji making a nice tackle on running back Josh Adams for a short gain.

The offensive and defensive lines matched up in pass protection drills while the skill players worked on seven-on-seven. The offense took the majority of the victories in both one-on-one and two-on-two scenarios. The drill went through eight reps before defensive tackle Micah Dew-Treadway beat freshman offensive guard Aaron Banks for the defense’s first clear win.

Defensive end Daelin Hayes impressed as he defeated right tackle Tommy Kraemer one-on-one. Daelin Hayes and defensive tackle Jerry Tillery won two-on-two reps against Mike McGlinchey and Quenton Nelson on the left side and Liam Eichenberg and Hunter Bivin on the right side. Daelin Hayes and defensive end Jay Hayes also combined to beat freshman offensive tackle Robert Hainsey and Banks.

Defensive end Julian Okwara also showed some flashes in consecutive two-on-two reps. He beat McGlinchey to the inside first and the next play he came free on a stunt with Jay Hayes with Kraemer and Alex Bars attempting to block the duo.

During seven-on-seven, freshman safety Isaiah Robertson intercepted a Wimbush pass intended for tight end Durham Smythe.

The Irish finished practice with 11-on-11 action with two-minute drill scenarios. The offense was given the ball at its own 40 and 1:05 left on the clock. Wimbush ruined the drill with one play by scrambling and then scoring on a 60-yard run on the first play.

The defense rebounded when the drill was reset when defensive end Andrew Trumbetti pushed Adams back into Wimbush for what would have been a sack. But it was only a blip as the offense moved the ball down the field for another score.

The defense fared better near the goal line when Jay Hayes, Bilal and defensive tackle Jonathan Bonner provided some pressure on the quarterback. Daelin Hayes recovered a botched snap from under center between Ian Book and Sam Mustipher. Cornerback Julian Love also knocked away a Book pass intended for wide receiver Austin Webster in the end zone.

In the various 11-man sessions on Wednesday, the Irish used the following defensive alignments:

Defensive ends Daelin Hayes and Jay Hayes, defensive tackles Jonathan Bonner and Jerry Tillery, linebackers Greer Martini and Nyles Morgan, rover Drue Tranquill, cornerbacks Nick Watkins and Julian Love and safeties Jalen Elliott and Nick Coleman with the first unit.

Defensive ends Andrew Trumbetti and Julian Okwara, defensive tackles Daniel Cage and Micah Dew-Treadway, linebackers Jonathan Jones and Te’von Coney, rover Asmar Bilal, cornerbacks Troy Pride Jr. and Donte Vaughn and safeties Devin Studstill and Isaiah Robertson with the second unit.

Linebacker Jamir Jones also worked with both units. He took the place of Morgan, who was a little banged up for a short portion of practice, in the first defense and Jonathan Jones in the second group.

Daelin Hayes during Notre Dame spring football practice Wednesday, April 19, 2017, at LaBar Practice Complex at Notre Dame in South Bend. Tribune Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN