Notre Dame Notebook: Practice No. 5 Report
Notre Dame's fifth and final practice at Culver Academies during preseason camp was held Thursday.
Head coach Brian Kelly was not available for comments afterwards as the team prepared to head back to the Notre Dame campus for a day off on Friday before returning to action on Saturday morning.
The initial practice on Sunday that was open to the media revealed no injuries that sidelined anyone, but by practice five in full pads this Thursday — also open to media — the inevitable assortment of wounds began catching up, especially along the offensive line and defensive backfield.
• Freshman offensive tackle Quinn Carroll was dressed in practice gear and doing some upper body workout drills with a trainer, but the university confirmed Carroll had torn his ACL earlier in the week and would be sidelined for the year. He was wearing a brace on his right knee.
To get a full three units along the offensive line again, senior walk-on defensive lineman Logan Plantz— who has worked on offense most of his career — was shifted back as an offensive guard. That’s because fifth-year senior guard/center Trevor Ruhland did not partake in the early skeletal drills, but was seen back in action later.
• In place of Carroll, the No. 2 offensive tackles were junior Josh Lugg on the left side and freshman Andrew Kristofic on the right, while freshman walk-on Quinn Murphy was the No. 3 left tackle and sophomore Cole Mabry was on the right side. However, Mabry also incurred an injury fairly early in practice and later could be seen riding a stationary bike on the sidelines.
• In the defensive backfield, sophomores Houston Griffith at cornerback and D.J. Brown at safety were both dressed but riding stationary bikes throughout practice.
• Fifth-year senior Shaun Crawford, who has worked corner, nickel and safety, was withheld from practice and later also worked out on the bike.
• Early in defensive drills around period four (there are 24 five-minute periods), junior cornerback Avery Davis limped off the field and did not take team drills thereafter.
Working with the No. 2 secondary were sophomore TaRiq Bracy and senior walk-on Temitope Agoro at the corners, although freshman K.J. Wallace was also active and even lined up as a nickel. Agoro started on special teams last year.
The No. 2 safeties were freshman Kyle Hamilton — who made another interception off sophomore Phil Jurkovec on a forced pass over the middle (Hamilton had three on the first day) in an early session — and sophomore Derrik Allen. Junior walk-on Patrick Pelini also saw work with the second group.
• Senior long snapper John Shannon also did not participate during the field-goal kicking session, but sophomore walk-on Michael Vinson capably filled in for him.
• After dropping an early pass during warm-ups, sophomore Kevin Austin, whose status for the first month of the season remains murky, was not involved in team or scrimmage action.
Cole Kmet Suffers Broken Collarbone
One of the best individual plays of the scrimmage came in period 10 when, in red zone work, starting junior tight end Cole Kmet made a leaping catch on a fade into the corner of the end zone that safety Alohi Gilman almost stripped from him as they were falling down.
Unfortunately, Kmet landed hard on his right shoulder and was favoring that side for a while before walking off the field with the training staff. He did not return to the practice, and Blueandgold.com learned shortly thereafter that he had suffered a broken right collarbone. The hope is that he can be recovered enough to play at No. 3 Georgia on Sept. 21.
Junior Brock Wright and sophomores Tommy Tremble and George Takacs all excelled in his place, with both Wright and Tremble also making outstanding plays. Wright twice scored in red-zone situations, one while crossing the back line and another making a difficult catch in coverage. Tremble made a similar leaping catch that Kmet did, also over Gilman.
The practice began with the field-goal units that featured the competition between junior Jonathan Doerer and freshman walk-on Harrison Leonard, who are vying to replace four-year starter and all-time Notre Dame scoring leader Justin Yoon.
Doerer showed typical power on his kicks, easily converting an extra point and then 31- , 35- and 40-yard attempts, with fifth-year senior walk-on quarterback Nolan Henry returning as the holder.
Doerer's fifth attempt, from 43 yards and on the left hash, went wide left, but he bounced back with a 47-yard make from the middle. His final attempt, from 50 yards, was mis-hit and sailed well short and wide.
Leonard responded with a 5-of-5 effort with an extra point and field goals of 31, 35, 40 and 42 yards. The ball did not have as much pop off his foot as with Doerer, but his final field goal from 42 yards was hit perfectly and had 15 to 20 yards to spare.
Strong competition appears to be at work for both.
The final five periods (25 minutes) featured scrimmage work that included a full officiating crew. A total of eight series were run. Here’s the breakdown:
1 Vs. 1 From Offense 30-Yard Line
Opening at the much-watched inside linebacker slots were fifth-year senior Asmar Bilal at Buck (although later he would be at Mike too) and junior Drew White at Mike, with junior Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah continuing to maintain a presence at rover.
The first play was a back-shoulder fade from senior quarterback Ian Book to classmate Chase Claypool for 22 yards. Senior Troy Pride had excellent coverage, but against the leaping Claypool there was nothing that could be done by Pride without getting hit by a penalty.
After a good surge by the line allowed senior Tony Jones Jr. to pick up five yards through the middle, Book went back to Claypool with another lofted pass — and this time Pride was whistled for interference, taking the ball to the defense’s 28-yard line.
A counter by Jones picked up six yards, although he missed a read that could have taken if for another 10 yards or thereabouts. Book then found junior Jafar Armstrong out of the backfield and in the flat for 14 yards, and a completion to Claypool took it to the one-yard line.
Junior Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa knifed through to stop Armstrong for no gain on second down, but on the next play the hard-charging Armstrong bulled past Gilman for the score.
2 Vs. 2 From Offense 30-Yard Line
Despite sporting a blue cast on his left hand, sophomore running back Jahmir Smith made a strong 11-yard run off the left side on the first play. Sophomore quarterback Phil Jurkovec then experienced much frustration on the next three plays.
A designed run had him pick up four yards, which easily could have been 10 or 15 more but was not because of a way-too-early blown whistle.
On the next play, Jurkovec lofted a gorgeous ball that traveled at least 50 yards in the air toward classmate Braden Lenzy, who had beaten by several yards both Bracy and Allen — but Lenzy seemed to misjudge the pass, slowed down, and then saw it sail just past his fingertips near the goal line.
On third-and-six, a scramble by Jurkovec resulted in a completion for a first down to Tremble, but that play likewise was blown dead while the quarterback was attempting to improvise.
2 Vs. 2 From Offense 30-Yard Line
Another chance was given to the second group because of the frustration of the first series. Once again on the first play, Jurkovec went deep, this time to senior Javon McKinley on a post route. The pass was a little to the receiver's right this time, but again the target appeared to slow down while the ball was in the air.
After a two-yard gain by sophomore C’Bo Flemister, Jurkovec threw incomplete while under duress.
1 Vs. 1 From Offense 30-Yard Line
Book was credited with two yards off a scramble on the first play, but senior drop end Julian Okwara in a “live” situation might have had the sack.
A draw to Elliott picked up six, with a great close by senior safety Jalen Elliott to prevent a huge run.
A two-yard dump-off to Jones picked up the first down, but Hamilton made both a good hit and read. On the next play Jones broke through for an 11-yard gain on an inside zone with a double tight end alignment, followed by a 13-yard catch by Wright.
From the defense’s 35-yard line, Book went deep to Claypool in the end zone, but both Pride, who broke up the pass, and Hamilton were there.
Smith gained zero on second down as Tagovailoa-Amosa blew up the play, but on third-and-10 Book perfectly placed a 12-yard completion to McKinley, who was covered well by Bracy.
Book went back to McKinley again on the next play, but this time Bracy won the battle as the pass fell incomplete. Armstrong appeared to have brief daylight on the next play before sophomore linebacker Jack Lamb tripped him for a gain of only three.
On third-and-seven, Okwara exploded off the edge to touch-sack Book for a five-yard loss. On fourth-and-12, the play was blown dead when Book held the ball too long and the pocket collapsed.
2 Vs. 2 From Offense 25-Yard Line
Jurkovec was 1 of 3 on this series, and lost yardage on a run-pass option (RPO). On fourth-and-five, Wallace was in good coverage at nickel on an incomplete slant to Lawrence Keys III.
2 Vs. 2 From Offense 36-Yard Line
Freshman Kyren Williams picked up eight yards on a first-down buck sweep, but on second down Flemister failed to gain when freshman tackle Jacob Lacey filled the gap.
On third-and-two, Jurkovec patiently waited off a blitz to complete a 16-yard slip screen to Williams.
From the defense’s 40-yard line, Jurkovec — who is quite comfortable with the deep ball — lofted a wobbly pass that found McKinley in stride at the goal line for the touchdown over Agoro.
3 Vs. 3 From Offense 30-Yard Line
This became like a freshman-team scrimmage, including a defensive line that included first-year players Isaiah Foskey and NaNa Osafo-Mensah at end and Howard Cross III and Hunter Spears at tackle.
Quarterback Brendon Clark threw incomplete to Cam Hart on first and third, but in between completed a three-yard toss to Kendall Abdur-Rahman on a slide route.
On fourth-and-seven, rover Jack Kiser’s edge pressure resulted in a touch sack.
3 Vs. 3 From Offense 25-Yard Line
Flemister opened with six- and 20-yard runs, and the Clark completed a four-yard pass to Takacs. On second-and-six, freshman cornerback Isaiah Robertson forced an errant screen to Abdur-Rahman, and then a pass to sophomore Micah Jones fell incomplete, with good coverage by Agoro.
On fourth down, Kiser finished another drive with a sack.