What we learned: Cam Hart returns to practice for Notre Dame football
SOUTH BEND ― The Notre Dame football team has worked down to its final preseason camp practices this week.
Media members observed the first five periods (roughly 30 minutes) of Wednesday's practice session. Thursday night's practice session will be the final one media will attend ahead of next Saturday's season opener at No. 2 Ohio State on Sept. 3.
Here are some things we learned from Wednesday's practice session:
Senior cornerback Cam Hart was back for Wednesday's practice after being absent Monday. He didn't have any noticeable wraps or braces and participated in most position drills, including a "wrap-up" drill and a contested catch drill with the other cornerbacks.
He did skip a one-on-one drill between cornerbacks and receivers, where the defensive player began by doing a push-up, then attempted to make a wrap-up tackle in space against the receiver.
Senior offensive lineman Jarrett Patterson walked into the Irish Athletic Center with a boot on his left leg, the same type injured running back Jadarian Price and tight end Mitchell Evans, have worn since the beginning of camp. Patterson had been using a scooter the past handful of practice sessions. Patterson also went through bike and medicine ball exercises away from the field.
Sophomore offensive lineman, Caleb Johnson, remained out of practice Wednesday, instead taking mental reps off to the side of the rest of the offensive lineman. Aamil Wagner, Michael Carmody and Tosh Baker were present again on Wednesday and were still wearing the guardian helmets, which were a new addition for the trio on Monday after sustaining concussions.
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When media members walked outside to the LaBar practice fields, freshman running back Gi'Bran Payne was getting his left thigh wrapped by a trainers. He participated in drills during the first three periods of practice before sitting at the trainer's tent for the fourth and fifth period.
Senior safety DJ Brown had a noticeable wrap over his left hand and wrist area, which didn't seem to affect him as he was a full practice participant.
Special teams work
The Irish began their outdoor portion of practice with a couple of mock kickoff/kick return reps.
Interestingly, Payne, as well as freshman wideout Tobias Merriweather, were the duo simulating as the return man. Payne had previously been in included in Notre Dame's punt return group drills, while Merriweather hasn't been seen used in this role during camp.
New guardian addition
Speaking of the guardian helmet, another new addition appears to have been added to Notre Dame's linebacker group, with junior Jordan Botelho wearing the extra padding on Wednesday.
JD Bertrand, Jack Kiser, Bo Bauer, Marist Liufau, Nolan Ziegler and Junior Tuihalamaka have been some of Notre Dame's linebackers wearing the extra padding throughout camp, or at various points, during camp.