Notre Dame defense practice notes 4-14

Mike Vorel
South Bend Tribune

SOUTH BEND — Notre Dame’s quarterbacks made plenty of completions on Saturday.

Not all of them went to wide receivers.

The Irish defense claimed three interceptions in the program’s 12th practice of the spring, which took place inside the Loftus Center on a chilly April Saturday. Senior cornerback Nick Watkins dropped to his knees to pick an errant pass from sophomore quarterback Ian Book, cornerback Donte Vaughn tipped a ball high in the air and then laid out to make an acrobatic grab, and rover Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah capped it off by jumping a short out route from sophomore quarterback Avery Davis and returning the interception for a touchdown.

Notre Dame’s defensive starters on Saturday were as follows: defensive end Julian Okwara, defensive tackle Jerry Tillery, nose guard Micah Dew-Treadway, defensive end Khalid Kareem, middle linebacker Te’von Coney, buck linebacker Drue Tranquill, rover Asmar Bilal, cornerbacks Julian Love and Troy Pride Jr., free safety Alohi Gilman and strong safety Jalen Elliott.

The second-team defense consisted of defensive end Daelin Hayes, defensive tackle Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa, nose guard Darnell Ewell, defensive end Jamir Jones, middle linebacker Bo Bauer, buck linebacker Jordan Genmark Heath, rover Owusu-Koramoah, cornerbacks Watkins and Shaun Crawford, free safety Nick Coleman and strong safety Nicco Fertitta.

Saturday’s practice was the first media viewing in which Genmark Heath — who had previously been playing strong safety — worked with the Irish linebackers. Tagovailoa-Amosa also received a handful of starting reps at nose guard, next to Tillery.

Graduate student Jonathan Bonner — who started all 13 games at defensive tackle last season before shifting to nose guard this spring — continued to be limited while recovering from right hand surgery.

After being soundly beaten on a crossing route from quarterback Brandon Wimbush to wide receiver Miles Boykin, Love responded in scrimmage drills with back-to-back pass break ups.

The most physical play of the day may have come from early enrollee Houston Griffith, who came downhill on a short route and popped sophomore tight end Brock Wright.

Bauer went down at the end of a special teams drill and appeared to injure his left knee, but later returned to practice.

Notre Dame hosted a number of prized 2019 defensive recruits for official visits this weekend. Four-star defensive end Nana Osafo-Mensah, four-star linebacker Osita Ekwonu and three-star defensive end Colt Ellison each attended Saturday’s practice, as did Irish defensive tackle commits Jacob Lacey and Hunter Spears.

The Irish return on Tuesday for their 13th practice of the spring.

Notre Dame's Nick Watkins (7) and Donte Vaughn (8) circle up Saturday, April 7, 2018 during practice at the Guglielmino Athletics Complex on the campus of Notre Dame. Tribune Photo/MICHAEL CATERINA