Notre Dame defense practice notes 3-24
SOUTH BEND — Many of the highlights from the one-on-one portions of Notre Dame's fifth spring practice were produced by the Irish offense. But when it came to the 11-on-11 live scrimmage, the Notre Dame defense eliminated most of those big-play opportunities.
Saturday's practice in the Loftus Sports Center was the first full practice open to the media with attendees of the Notre Dame Coaches Clinic also given access.
Early in practice, the Irish wide receivers and defensive backs squared off in an open-field tackling drill. The wide receivers were tasked with trying to get past hard-charging defenders while carrying the ball. For the most part, the offense came out on the winning end.
It was a particularly rough drill for safety Jalen Elliott. On his first rep, Miles Boykin ran right over him with a lowered shoulder. Later Michael Young juked past Elliott.
The best hit of the session may have been delivered by freshman cornerback Houston Griffith. He delivered a blow on running back Jahmir Smith, a fellow early enrolled freshman. Safeties Nicco Fertitta and Alohi Gilman also had a couple of nice tackles.
— Mike Vorel (@mikevorel) March 24, 2018
When the full Irish defense took the field for the first 11-on-11 portion of practice, the first-team defense included defensive ends Jay Hayes and Jamir Jones, defensive tackle Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa, nose guard Kurt Hinish, linebackers Te'von Coney and Drue Tranquill, rover Asmar Bilal, cornerbacks Shaun Crawford and Nick Watkins, and safeties Devin Studstill and Elliott.
The second unit included: defensive ends Adetokunbo Ogundeji and Kofi Wardlow, defensive tackle Micah Dew-Treadway, nose guard Darnell Ewell, linebackers Jonathan Jones and D.J. Morgan, rover Isaiah Robertson, cornerbacks Troy Pride Jr. and Julian Love, and safeties Nick Coleman and Jordan Genmark Heath.
Defensive ends Julian Okwara, Daelin Hayes and Khalid Kareem worked in with both groups throughout practice. On the interior of the defensive line, Jerry Tillery sat out with a concussion and Jonathan Bonner was limited with his right wrist still wrapped.
Both Kareem and Ogundeji provided pressure during the first scrimmage session that would have likely ended in a sack in a live scenario.
The only interception of the day came on an Ian Book throw during seven-on-seven. Watkins tipped a pass intended for tight end Brock Wright, and Elliott caught the loose ball.
The defensive line had a particularly good showing during the one-on-one pass rush portion of the practice against the Irish offensive line. Okwara proved to be the most elusive as he made easy work of right tackle Tommy Kraemer. He beat him on his first rep with a wicked spin move and beat him again on the next rep with straight speed.
Ogundeji and Dew-Treadway won each of their two reps against right tackle Liam Eichenberg and left guard Trevor Ruhland, respectively.
In the final scrimmage session of the day, Pride rebounded with a pass breakup against wide receiver Chase Claypool on the goal line and another breakup covering walk-on wide receiver Arion Shinaver on a deep throw by Book.
The only big play the Notre Dame defense allowed was a deep pass to wide receiver Javon McKinley, who outran Love until he was tackled from behind.
The Irish running backs were unable to find much room with Daelin Hayes, Khalid Kareem and Jonathan Jones stuffing the line of scrimmage. Coney deflected a Brandon Wimbush pass, and Wardlow did the same to Avery Davis.
Three-star defensive end Adam Berghorst, a Notre Dame target in the 2019 class, circled the field throughout practice as part of his unofficial visit.