Notre Dame offense practice notes 4-7

Mike Vorel
South Bend Tribune

SOUTH BEND — Notre Dame's most impressive quarterback on Saturday barely played any quarterback at all.

Avery Davis — a 5-foot-11, 203-pound sophomore — did throw some during the Irish practice in the Loftus Center on Saturday, but the Texas native also took hand-offs and end-arounds and made a series of impressive plays in 11-on-11 scrimmage drills as a wide receiver.

Most notably, Davis hauled in a short pass from junior quarterback Brandon Wimbush, juked senior cornerback Nick Watkins and accelerated into the second level without ever being touched.

In Notre Dame's ninth practice of the spring, the Irish offensive starters were Wimbush, running back Tony Jones Jr., left tackle Liam Eichenberg, left guard Tommy Kraemer, center Sam Mustipher, right guard Alex Bars, right tackle Robert Hainsey, tight end Alizé Mack and wide receivers Miles Boykin, Chris Finke and Chase Claypool.

Notre Dame's second-team offense consisted of the following: quarterback Ian Book, running backs Dexter Williams and Jahmir Smith, left tackle Aaron Banks, left guard Logan Plantz, center Colin Grunhard, right guard Dillan Gibbons, right tackle Josh Lugg and wide receivers Javon McKinley, Freddy Canteen and Micah Jones.

Lugg also filtered in with the starters at the left guard position during Notre Dame's 11-on-11 scrimmage, as did sophomore Cole Kmet at the tight end spot.

This was the first media practice viewing in which Jones started over Dexter Williams at the running back position.

Junior offensive lineman Trevor Ruhland — who has practiced with the starters at times at left guard this spring — sat out the practice with a pectoral injury. Sophomore wide receiver Michael Young also continued to sit with a head injury.

Notre Dame wide receiver Chase Claypool and tight end Brock Wright were both full participants on Saturday after being limited with injuries earlier in the spring. There appeared to be some rust in the scrimmage, however, as an accurate Wimbush pass hit Claypool in the hands, popped in the air and was intercepted by cornerback Troy Pride Jr. and returned for a touchdown.

Wright also caught a pass and was immediately popped by early enrollee freshman safety Houston Griffith, forcing a fumble.

As for offensive standouts, Claypool earned a measure of redemption in a 1-on-1 tackling drill with the Irish DBs, repeatedly using a physical stiff-arm to elude tacklers. He also received a hearty cheer after shaking cornerback Donte Vaughn on a double move and scoring easily in a red zone drill, and he easily bested the much shorter Shaun Crawford for a touchdown on a fade.

Wimbush was inconsistent with his accuracy on Saturday, producing a mixture of perfect passes, errant throws and poor decisions. Late in the scrimmage, he threw a pass deep down the sideline that slipped through the hands of cornerback Julian Love and should have been intercepted.

The most impressive catch of the day came from — you guessed it — Miles Boykin, who wrestled a jump ball in the end zone away from Love and safety Jordan Genmark Heath.

Irish tight ends Mack and Kmet both consistently made plays on Saturday.

Ethan Rae — a consensus four-star 2019 tight end — watched Saturday's practice from the sideline. Three offensive line recruits — 2019 target Zeke Correll, 2020 target Luke Wypler and 2019 prospect Jack Stewart — followed coach Jeff Quinn's unit during practice.

Notre Dame's Houston Griffith (3) runs drills Saturday, April 7, 2018 during practice at the Guglielmino Athletics Complex on the campus of Notre Dame. Tribune Photo/MICHAEL CATERINA