Notre Dame football practice notes 3-20

Mike Vorel and Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

SOUTH BEND — Spring break is over.

But spring practices have just begun.

Notre Dame completed its third practice of the spring inside the Loftus Sports Center on Tuesday morning, and the Irish offensive starters were quarterback Brandon Wimbush, running back Dexter Williams, wide receivers Miles Boykin, Michael Young and Chris Finke, tight end Alizé Mack, left tackle Robert Hainsey, left guard Trevor Ruhland, center Sam Mustipher, right guard Alex Bars and right tackle Tommy Kraemer.

Notre Dame’s second-team offense was as follows: quarterback Ian Book, running back Tony Jones Jr., running back/wide receiver Jafar Armstrong, wide receiver Javon McKinley, wide receiver Chase Claypool, wide receiver Freddy Canteen, left tackle Aaron Banks, left guard Josh Lugg, center Colin Grunhard, right guard Dillon Gibbons and right tackle Liam Eichenberg.

The Irish used a set with two running backs — Jones and Armstrong — playing simultaneously with the second unit during the tempo drill.

Notre Dame sophomore quarterback Avery Davis — who also worked as a wide receiver in the team’s first practice of the spring — went through drills with the quarterbacks on Tuesday but did not wear a red no-contact jersey, unlike his fellow signal callers. Armstrong also continued to split time between the running back and wide receiver units in drills.

The offense and defense were kept separate during the media viewing of Tuesday’s practice, as the Irish quarterbacks worked primarily on handoffs with the running backs and the tight ends worked through blocking and footwork drills.

A number of familiar faces graced the sidelines on Tuesday. Former Notre Dame wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown, running back Josh Adams, offensive tackle Mike McGlinchey and tight end Durham Smythe — each of whom will compete at the program’s pro day on Thursday — attended practice.

The defense only did one sideline pursuit per 11-man unit before splitting up into position drills. During that short window, this is how the Irish lined up.

First defense: nose guard Jonathan Bonner, defensive tackle Jerry Tillery, defensive ends Daelin Hayes and Jay Hayes, linebackers Te’von Coney and Drue Tranquill, rover Asmar Bilal, cornerbacks Julian Love and Shaun Crawford and safeties Jalen Elliott and Nick Coleman.

Second defense: 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 Troy Pride Jr., and safeties Jordan Genmark Heath and Alohi Gilman.

The defensive ranks appeared pretty healthy with only walk-on defensive back John Mahoney sitting out with an injury. Bonner, wearing a protective wrap on his right wrist, continued to be limited.

The defensive line group spent the start of practice working against various blocking schemes. In one drill, the defensive lineman were asked to react to an offensive lineman based on if he was retreating in pass protection or releasing to set up a screen. The defensive linemen would have to race to cones with the loser left do an up-down.

The rest of the defensive groups did a lot of work on changing direction. The safeties were asked to react to defensive backs coach Terry Joseph’s commands by quickly turning to their left or right and later switching from a backpedal to sprinting forward.

The cornerbacks, working with Todd Lyght, focused on mirroring receivers laterally. A lot of work was done out of a backpedal with opportunities to intercept passes also in the drills.

The linebackers, following the instruction of defensive coordinator Clark Lea, spent most of their time working on footwork and shedding blockers.

The media viewing session was dedicated to fundamentals with work against the offense set to start as reporters left Loftus.

Te'von Coney (4) and Asmar Bilal (22) run drills during Notre Dame Football Practice Tuesday, March 6, 2018, inside the Loftus Center at Notre Dame in South Bend. Tribune Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN