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A Promising Second Practice: Who Stood Out and General Observations

Written by Connor D'Aquila ⏐ Writer ⏐ Twitter/X: @ConnorDaquilaIT


Photo by The Irish Tribune


The Notre Dame football team was up and at it early this morning, getting in their second practice of the Spring. The players trickled in to get ready for an 8:15 am start and the media was able to watch warm-ups as well as the first five periods. While we were not able to get a great look at the schemes, it did allow for a great view of individual coaches. 


Loren Landow and Fred Hale got warmups started, and Landow’s emphasis on pliability and non-traditional exercise was evident with some unique stretches. Freeman then called the players over and gave an impassioned speech before beginning practice. The emphasis was on intensity and valuing the journey to find success, which seemed to get the team excited for the day. The players then broke off into different drills.



From special teams, the kicks left a bit to be desired. Mitch Jeter flashed the leg at times, but all around, there were more misses than one would hope, although they certainly improved as the period went on. At this point, however, this is not a major cause for concern and Jeter’s track record speaks for itself, but it will be something to keep an eye on. As wide receivers got warmed up, Mike Brown continuously emphasized the importance of being “all-pro, not pro bowl” and the talent in that group was on full display. Kris Mitchell stood out for his explosiveness and shiftiness, while Micah Gilbert looked very composed and technical given his age. Still, it was evident throughout that Deion Colzie and Jayden Thomas are the leaders of this group. While Beaux Collins still cannot participate in the drills, he was on the sideline encouraging and talking with players. Jordan Faison was present at practice, but he did not appear to participate in many of the drills. The running backs did some individual work during this time too, and the explosiveness of Jadarian Price and Jeremiyah Love flashed. Paired with Gi’Bran Payne, this should be a very fun room in 2024. 


As practice progressed, we got a chance to see some more defensive drills. The intensity from Al Golden and the staff as a whole stood out. They want their players to not only work hard but also stress technique extensively. Golden was particularly vocal, getting after players as they worked through a tackling drill with a donut, and whether it was a walk-on or Kynstonn Viliamu-Asa, no one was immune. This carried over into a one-on-one drill between receivers and linebackers where the receivers were tasked with beating the backers to the outside. Jack Kiser looked expectedly fast and technically sound in this drill, as is expected, but it was certainly a mixed bag for a group of LBs that has a lot of uncertainty heading into the season.


The receivers flashed their explosiveness, though. Also in this time, Coach Freeman was working with the safeties, holding a pad, and embracing contact, which was fun to see from the head coach. His priority on staying involved with the players was obvious. On the other side of the field, we got to see some good one-on-ones between cornerbacks, as they worked on both lateral movement and route coverage. Benjamin Morrison and Christian Gray both looked sharp in this drill and had some great battles. Jaden Mickey also flashed the intensity we have all come to expect from him, a trait that we can only hope continues as he sees ever-increasing playing time. 



To wrap up the periods open to media, we got a quick glimpse at the offense in full form. Every quarterback got a turn under center running fairly basic sets. It was a lot of run plays that got the line working on gap schemes as well as a few passing plays to get the receivers involved. Notable from these plays was a lot of motion in the backfield and three to four receivers consistently lined up outside. Reserve offensive players played a weak defense, so it did not provide insight into that side of the ball. For the entirety of practice, the way the ball came out of all four quarterbacks’ hands was very impressive. 


Overall, this was a great practice that provided a good first look at what we should expect out of this ND football team in 2024. There is a lot to be excited about and a lot more to monitor as preseason work progresses.


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