Notre Dame football practice notes 8-3

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

CULVER, Ind. — Miles Boykin ended his first practice of Notre Dame’s preseason camp a bit like he ended the Citrus Bowl.

His catch Friday at Culver Academies wasn’t quite as spectacular as his game-winning catch and run against LSU, but it was certainly the best grab of the day. 

Boykin, a senior wide receiver, bested fellow Chicagoland product Julian Love with a leap and full extension of his arms over the junior cornerback’s head. Love was stuck below Boykin trying to break up the pass, but the 6-foot-4, 228-pound Boykin was too big. 

The play was also Boykin’s last of the day. He was taken off the field after suffering a cramp when he landed on the artificial turf. 

Quarterback Brandon Wimbush delivered that pass to Boykin. Wimbush, who took most of his reps with the No. 1 offense, had his ups and downs. Much of the practice was spent working on shorter routes with screens to wide receivers and running backs and a lot of play-action, but Wimbush delivered a nice deep ball to freshman wide receiver Lawrence Keys III in a one-on-one matchup with fellow freshman DJ Brown. 

Wide receiver Javon McKinley also turned a short screen pass from Wimbush, who delivered the ball after avoiding a pass rush, into a long gain. 

Linebacker Drue Tranquill nabbed the first interception of Wimbush in seven-on-seven action. Tranquill cut in front of tight end Alizé Mack to make a sliding catch. Mack also let Wimbush down with a pair of drops.

Safety Alohi Gilman nearly intercepted another Wimbush pass in 11-on-11 play. Wimbush wasn’t helped by Boykin on the throw as the wide receiver slipped on his route. 

Wimbush was also part of a couple fumbles, though they may have not been his fault. One came on either a botched handoff or play-fake with freshman running back Jahmir Smith. The other came on a shotgun snap from Sam Mustipher. 

When the Irish offense took the field in the first 11-on-11 portion of practice, the starters included Wimbush, running back Tony Jones Jr., wide receivers Miles Boykin, Chase Claypool and Chris Finke, tight end Alize Mack, left tackle Liam Eichenberg, left guard Alex Bars, center Sam Mustipher, right guard Tommy Kraemer and right tackle Robert Hainsey. Cole Kmet also subbed in at tight end. 

The defense lined up with defensive ends Khalid Kareem and Daelin Hayes, defensive tackle Jerry Tillery, nose guard Jonathan Bonner, linebackers Te’von Coney and Drue Tranquill, rover Asmar Bilal, cornerbacks Troy Pride Jr. and Julian Love, and safeties Jalen Elliott and Alohi Gilman.  

Houston Griffith subbed in for Elliott at one of the safety spots, and Bo Bauer took some reps at linebacker. The Irish also used a second defensive line with Adetokunbo Ogundeji and Julian Okwara at defensive end, Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa at defensive tackle and Micah Dew-Treadway at nose guard. 

New defensive coordinator Clark Lea kept the ball disruption circuit — coach speak for creating turnovers — as part of Notre Dame’s practice. Former coordinator Mike Elko introduced the drills to the Irish last season. 

Even though the Irish weren’t wearing pads, the offensive and defensive lines still squared off in some one-on-one pass rush drills. Eichenberg, who emerged as the No. 1 left tackle in spring practice, won one rep against Hayes, but he lost on the next rep to Hayes on a spin move. Defensive end Kofi Wardlow also got by Eichenberg. 

Mustipher fared the best of Notre Dame’s starting linemen. He won all three reps against Bonner and Dew-Treadway. Kraemer also recorded three wins against Tillery and Tagovailoa-Amosa. 

Emptying the notebook 

• No. 2 offense: quarterback Ian Book, running backs Jafar Armstrong and Jahmir Smith, wide receivers Javon McKinley, Micah Jones and Michael Young, left tackle Aaron Banks, left guard Dillan Gibbons, center Trevor Ruhland, right guard Josh Lugg and right tackle John Dirksen. 

• No. 2 defense: defensive ends Jamir Jones and Kofi Wardlow, defensive tackle Jayson Ademilola, nose guard Kurt Hinish, linebackers Jonathan Jones and Jordan Genmark Heath, rover Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, cornerbacks Shaun Crawford and Donte Vaughn and safeties Nick Coleman and Devin Studstill. 

• Notre Dame spent the special teams portions of Friday’s practice working on punt and punt return. Six players worked catching punts: senior Chris Finke, sophomore Michael Young and freshmen Tariq Bracy, Braden Lenzy, Lawrence Keys III and Joe Wilkins. 

• Linebackers Drew White and Jack Lamb and offensive lineman Cole Mabry ended the practice on the sidelines. White, who missed time in the spring, was not dressed. Lamb and Mabry, both freshmen, started the practice, but did not participate in all of the drills. 

Can Miles Boykin become Notre Dame's No. 1 wide receiver as a senior? He caught only 18 passes and three touchdowns in his first three seasons with the Irish.