Notre Dame's back from spring break, but the weather still doesn't want to play nice, so the Irish were back inside Wednesday, March 19.
Reporters were given a rare glimpse of the last half hour of practice (instead of the usual first half hour), so we got to see a lot of 5-on-5 passing drills, 7-on-7 and 11-on-11. Heavy emphasis on third down defense and four-man fronts Wednesday.
First team offense
QB: Everett Goslon
OL: (L to R) Ronnie Stanley, Steve Elmer, Matt Hegarty, Conor Hanratty, Mike McGlinchey.
RB: Tarean Folston.
WR: Corey Robinson, Chris Brown, CJ Prosise.
TE: Ben Koyack.
First team defense
DL: Romeo Okwara, Sheldon Day, Jarron Jones, Ishaq Williams.
LB: Kendall Moore, Jaylon Smith, Joe Schmidt.
CB: KeiVarae Russell, Cole Luke.
S: Max Redfield, Austin Collinsworth.
Not much of a shake-up on either side of the ball, though Hanratty subbed in for Christian Lombard toward the end of practice. Head coach Brian Kelly said Lombard sprained his wrist during practice.
It's also worth noting that in the sub package, safety-turned-cornerback Matthias Farley rotated in as a nickel back while linebacker Jaylon Smith — who spent his freshman year on the outside — worked with Schmidt inside.
After practice, Kelly said that coaches planned on using Smith in different roles so offenses would never know where he will be. He made a similar comment about James Onwualu, who played receiver as a freshman but flipped to safety in the spring.
"He's a really good football player that, if we're smart with him, can do some jobs on both side of the ball," Kelly said of Onwualu.
Other tidbits from practice:
- Amir Carlisle was very active in the slot following a disappointing fall outing. Not only did Carlisle look better and more consistent at catching the ball, but he was also called upon for handoffs, as well. At one point, he burned Farley, who was lined up at nickel. Kelly said Carlisle's role diminished in 2013 following Folston's breakout, but the senior "looks pretty confident now."
- Since he's trained himself to throw with the laces, Golson throws nothing but line drives. Just watching the zip he puts on the ball hurts my hands.
- In a receiving corps that has no superstars, Kelly said tight end Ben Koyack is the "most settled" target on the roster.
- For as impressive as the Golson-Carlisle tandem looked out of the gate, Golson followed up a pretty pass to Carlisle with a pick-six in the hands of Schmidt.
- Folston took first-team reps, but senior Cam McDaniel and sophomore Greg Bryant also got plenty of touches.
- The pass rush — namely Schmidt, Farley and Sheldon Day — reached Golson and Zaire a number of times, forcing the quarterbacks to throw the ball away.