Notre Dame football practice notes 8-9

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

SOUTH BEND — Interceptions rarely happen in one-on-one passing sessions. It’s hard enough for a defensive back to stick to a wide receiver in man coverage with most of the field at their disposal.

But the Irish defenders managed to intercept two of quarterback Brandon Wimbush’s passes early in Thursday’s practice, the first preseason camp practice at Notre Dame following the five-practice stay at Culver Academies.

First, safety Nick Coleman, who took reps with the No. 1 defense most of the day, caught a pass intended for wide receiver Chris Finke. Not long after, cornerback Shaun Crawford ran right into a Wimbush pass intended for wide receiver Chase Claypool. The junior target stopped running his route early in a clear miscommunication with his quarterback.

The quarterbacks struggled early when the one-on-one drill moved to the goal line. At one point, Wimbush and Ian Book threw four consecutive incomplete passes. But they eventually found a little bit more of a groove. Wimbush threw touchdowns to wide receivers Javon McKinley, Claypool and Avery Davis. Book found wide receiver Lawrence Keys III and Davis for scores.

Next, the whole team gathered for some 11-on-11 work. The offensive highlight came on a run from Tony Jones Jr., who busted what would have been a 60-yard touchdown run on a cutback to his right. Defensive tackle Jerry Tillery provided pressure later for an imaginary sack (QBs aren't allowed to be touched), and linebacker Drue Tranquill recorded a pass breakup during the session.

The special teams portion of Thursday’s practice featured the field goal unit. Justin Yoon made three of his five attempts in front of the reporters in attendance. Both of his misses hit the right upright with the wind at his back and blowing slightly to his right. His first miss came on a short attempt inside 30 yards. He then went on to make field goals of 31, 36 and 40 yards. He closed out on a 50-yard attempt that hit the right upright, but he had plenty of distance on the kick.

The quarterback play picked up in the seven-on-seven session with robotic dummies serving a rush ends. Freshman wide receiver Joe Wilkins Jr. made a nice catch on a pass from Book on the sideline. Book also hit running back Jafar Armstrong down the seam for what likely would have resulted in a touchdown.

With the seven-on-seven moving to the goal line, tight end Alizé Mack made one of the best catches of the day on a leaping grab in the back corner of the end zone on a Wimbush throw. Tight end Cole Kmet also hauled in a touchdown pass from Wimbush.

Book threw touchdowns to Wilkins and fellow freshman wide receiver Kevin Austin.

Depth chart

Notre Dame used the following personnel for its top two units on offense and defense Thursday.

No. 1 offense: Quarterback Brandon Wimbush; running back Tony Jones Jr.; wide receivers Miles Boykin, Chris Finke and Chase Claypool; tight end Alizé Mack; left tackle Liam Eichenberg; left guard Alex Bars; center Sam Mustipher; right guard Tommy Kraemer and right tackle Robert Hainsey. Tight end Cole Kmet and running back Avery Davis also saw some first-team work.

No. 1 defense: Defensive ends Julian Okwara and Khalid Kareem; defensive tackle Jerry Tillery; nose guard Jonathan Bonner; linebackers Drue Tranquill and Te’von Coney; rover Asmar Bilal; cornerbacks Julian Love and Troy Pride Jr.; and safeties Alohi Gilman and Nick Coleman.

No. 2 offense: Quarterback Ian Book; running back Jafar Amstrong; wide receivers Javon McKinley, Lawrence Keys III and Joe Wilkins Jr.; tight end Nic Weishar; left tackle Jarrett Patterson; left guard Dillan Gibbons; center Trevor Ruhland; right guard Josh Lugg and right tackle John Dirksen. Tight end Brock Wright and running back Dexter Williams also saw some second-team work.

No. 2 defense: Defensive ends Daelin Hayes and Adetokunbo Ogundeji; defensive tackle Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa; nose guard Kurt Hinish; linebackers Jordan Genmark Heath and Jonathan Jones; rover Shayne Simon; cornerbacks Donte Vaughn and Shaun Crawford; and safeties Devin Studstill and Jalen Elliott. Freshman Bo Bauer saw some No. 2 reps at linebacker. 

Missing practice

Six players were doing workouts on the sidelines and away from full contact: linebackers Drew White and Jack Lamb, rover Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, offensive linemen Cole Mabry and Aaron Banks, and running back Jahmir Smith. Head coach Brian Kelly said Banks was dealing with a hyper-extended elbow, but that he should return on Saturday. Running back C’Bo Flemister did not wear full pads.

Brandon Wimbush passes the ball during practice at the Culver Academies on Friday, Aug. 3, 2018.