Notre Dame defense practice notes 3-6

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

SOUTH BEND — The first look at Notre Dame’s freshman linebackers will have to wait until after spring break.

When the Irish took the field inside the Loftus Sports Center for the first spring practice Tuesday morning, early enrolled linebackers Bo Bauer, Jack Lamb and Ovie Oghoufo were busy with an exam. So too was junior-to-be safety Jalen Elliott.

The rest of Notre Dame’s returning defense shook off the rust while wearing helmets. In the portion allowed to be viewed by media, the Irish warmed up, worked on position drills and started some one-on-one coverage against the offense.

With so much experience returning from last year’s defense, there weren’t a lot of changes to note in the personnel. Even Drue Tranquill retained his captaincy in his return as a fifth-year senior.

In the team pursuit warmup, the following players lined up with the No. 1 defense: nose guard Jonathan Bonner, defensive tackle Jerry Tillery, defensive ends Daelin Hayes and Jay Hayes, linebacker Te’von Coney and Drue Tranquill, rover Asmar Bilal, cornerbacks Julian Love and Troy Pride Jr. and safeties Jordan Genmark Heath and Nick Coleman.

The second unit included nose guard Kurt Hinish, defensive tackle Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa, defensive ends Julian Okwara and Khalid Kareem, linebackers Jonathan Jones and D.J. Morgan, rover Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, cornerbacks Nick Watkins and Shaun Crawford and safeties Alohi Gilman and Nicco Fertitta.

Only Bonner, who wore a protective wrap on his right wrist, appeared limited by an injury. He still worked through drills with little contact.

As the defensive linemen worked through drills, defensive line coach Mike Elston praised junior defensive end Adetokunbo Ogundeji for his improvement. Elston also paid close attention to sophomore defensive tackle Darnell Ewell’s hand placement.

One of the first drills new defensive backs coach Terry Joseph introduced to his safeties was a sideline pursuit drill in which a runner would sprint and hesitate to make sure the safeties were taking the right angle and breaking down when needed.

When the defensive backs took on Notre Dame’s wide receivers in one-on-one pass coverage, the first play brought a matchup of Love on Citrus Bowl hero Miles Boykin. Love greeted him with a pass breakup. Later, Gilman showed good coverage on running back/wide receiver Jafar Armstrong, and walk-on safety Christopher Schilling broke up a pass intended for running back Tony Jones Jr.

Notre Dame’s Julian Love (27) fist bumps fans following the win over North Carolina in an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017, at Kenan Memorial Stadium in Chapel Hill, NC. Tribune Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN