Notre Dame defense practice notes 8-1

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

CULVER, Ind. — Attention to detail was the mantra for Notre Dame’s first practice of preseason camp at Culver Academies, and it was emphasized from the start with the Irish defense.

Under defensive coordinator Mike Elko, the defense typically begins practice with a warm-up drill for 11-man units to sprint to certain spots on the sideline. That was the case again on Tuesday, but the No. 1 defense didn’t do it right. So they were forced to do it again.

The scrutiny didn’t apply only to the projected starters. The third unit had to attempt the simple drill four times before receiving the clearance that they had finally done it correctly.

The players who lined up with the first-team defense were mostly expected names: 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 Devin Studstill.

The second unit included defensive ends Andrew Trumbetti and Khalid Kareem, defensive tackles Micah Dew-Treadway and Brandon Tiassum, linebackers Jamir Jones and Te’von Coney, rover Asmar Bilal, cornerbacks Donte Vaughn and Shaun Crawford and safeties Isaiah Robertson and Alohi Gilman.

The third-team defense lined up with defensive ends Adetokunbo Ogundeji and Jonathon MacCollister, defensive tackles Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa and Kurt Hinish, linebackers Jonathan Jones and David Adams, rover D.J. Morgan, cornerbacks Troy Pride Jr. and Temitope Agoro and safeties Jordan Genmark Heath and Nicco Fertitta.

Notre Dame’s defense took the field with mostly healthy bodies. Safety Nick Coleman was limited with an ankle injury, Elliott was helped off the field with cramps at the end of practice and Hinish left some of his lunch on the track surrounding the football field.

The defensive backs were put to the test early in practice with one-on-one pass coverage. The offense won the majority of matchups, as expected, but a few defenders had moments of success. Crawford recorded the first interception of the day on a Montgomery VanGorder pass, and Love broke up a pair of throws including one dropped interception.

In seven-on-seven drills, Tranquill took his turn with a pick of VanGorder on a quick pass to the outside. Tranquill’s new role at rover should allow him to make more plays on the ball and be a disruptive defender. Gilman and Crawford also broke up passes later in seven-on-seven scenarios.

The offensive and defensive lines squared off in pass rush drills for the first time in camp Tuesday. In order to maximize the reps, many of the freshmen and walk-on players worked in a separate group. Any glimpses of freshman defensive linemen working into the rotation may be delayed. Hinish was the only freshman defensive linemen allowed to take a rep with the top group.

The veteran offensive line had a strong showing. Trumbetti had one of the better performances for the defensive line. He beat right tackle Tommy Kraemer with ease on one rep. Ogundeji notched a rare victory against left tackle Mike McGlinchey. Tillery, Dew-Treadway and Bonner showed some explosion on the inside.

In the middle of practice, the defense devoted time to what Elko calls “ball disruptions,” which are opportunities to create turnovers. The various drills, which players rotated to in groups, include chances to knock the ball out of the air and ways to separate the ball from a receiver, ball carrier or quarterback. | 574-235-6214 | Twitter: @TJamesNDI 

Andrew Trumbetti during the first practice of fall camp for Notre Dame Football Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017, at Culver Academies in Culver, Ind. Tribune Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN