Notre Dame football practice notes 8-11
Te’von Coney wasn’t hard to find when the Notre Dame football team started its scrimmage portion of Saturday’s practice inside Notre Dame Stadium.
The senior linebacker was frequently meeting the ball carrier near the line of scrimmage and making the tackle. Running back Tony Jones Jr. ran into Coney for a short gain. Wide receiver Chris Finke couldn’t escape Coney on a jet sweep.
Coney had help too. Rover Asmar Bilal helped Coney corral Jones on another short run. Later defensive ends Khalid Kareem and Julian Okwara stuffed Jones on consecutive rushes.
The defense was swarming and didn’t allow the Irish offense to get much going. Kareem, Okwara, nose guard Jonathan Bonner and linebacker Drue Tranquill all provided pressure at various points for a pair of sacks.
Notre Dame’s second-team offense moved the ball much better, with Ian Book at quarterback. He finished the one drive observed by reporters with a touchdown pass to freshman wide receiver Kevin Austin, with cornerback Donte Vaughn in coverage.
The offensive struggles with the first team weren’t limited to the scrimmage portion Saturday. Quarterback Brandon Wimbush couldn’t find consistency in early drills on quick throws. The senior quarterback was asked to deliver a hot throw with quarterbacks coach Tommy Rees serving as a defender in his face, but Wimbush repeatedly missed his target. His throws to a stationary student manager were short, wide and high.
Wimbush eventually found his target a few times, but it took him much longer than it should have. Book was far more accurate in the session.
When the quarterbacks were joined by wide receivers and tight ends for one-on-one passing against the defense, completions were hard to come by. Freshman cornerback Noah Boykin broke up an underthrown Book pass to Austin. Freshman safety Derrik Allen knocked away a Phil Jurkovec pass to Arion Shinaver. And cornerback Julian Love prevented a Wimbush completion to Javon McKinley.
The pass breakups continued in the goal line portion of the passing competition. Troy Pride Jr. broke up a pair of passes. Safety Alohi Gilman kept a Wimbush pass out of tight end Alizé Mack’s hands.
The touchdowns for the offense came, too. Miles Boykin, Tommy Tremble, Lawrence Keys III, Chase Claypool, Cole Kmet, Nic Weishar and Austin all caught touchdowns during the goal line session. Wimbush delivered five of them.
When the offensive and defensive lines squared off for their daily session of one-on-one pass rush, many of the battles were split decisions. The offense would win one rep, and the defense would win the other, with each matchup occurring twice. The only starter to record a pair of wins on either side of the ball was center Sam Mustipher, who beat nose guard Jonathan Bonner.
Freshman nose guard Ja’mion Franklin notched wins in all four of his reps against a pair of walk-ons: center Colin Grunhard and guard Logan Plantz. Sophomore Darnell Ewell also beat Grunhard twice.
A pair of freshmen offensive linemen won both of their reps: tackle John Dirksen over defensive end Justin Ademilola and tackle Jarrett Patterson over defensive end Kofi Wardlow.
Notre Dame opened its practice with a live field goal session for kicker Justin Yoon. He missed only one of his six attempts. Even his 31-yard field goal, which appeared to be tipped by Shaun Crawford, sailed between the uprights. He also nailed kicks from 20, 36, 45 and 50 yards. His 40-yard attempt missed to the left.
Notre Dame used the following personnel for its top two units on offense and defense in the early portion of Saturday’s practice.
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 Trevor Ruhland and right tackle Tommy Kraemer.
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. Cornerback Shaun Crawford and defensive end Daelin Hayes also worked with the first unit in scrimmage action.
No. 2 offense: Quarterback Ian Book, running back Jafar Amstrong, wide receivers Kevin Austin, Avery Davis and Michael Young, tight end Brock Wright, left tackle Jarrett Patterson, left guard Dillan Gibbons, center Colin Grunhard, right guard Josh Lugg and right tackle Aaron Banks. Wide receiver Lawrence Keys III also worked with the second unit in scrimmage action.
No. 2 defense: Defensive ends Daelin Hayes and Adetokunbo Ogundeji, defensive tackle Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa, nose guard Kurt Hinish, linebackers Jordan Genmark Heath and Bo Bauer, rover Shayne Simon, cornerbacks Donte Vaughn and Shaun Crawford, and safeties Devin Studstill and Jalen Elliott. Defensive tackle Jayson Ademilola and safety Houston Griffith also worked with the second unit in scrimmage action.
Offensive linemen Aaron Banks and Cole Mabry returned to action after missing Thursday’s practice. Running backs Jahmir Smith and C’Bo Flemister were back in full pads, but their action was limited — Smith doing less work than Flemister. Head coach Brian Kelly said rover Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah has been limited with a chronic hamstring issue. Linebackers Drew White and Jack Lamb remained sidelined.