College Football 2011: Notre Dame Football Spring Practice, Week 2 Recap

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College Football 2011:  Notre Dame Football Spring Practice, Week 2 Recap
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It's been a very slow week on the news front from spring practice, but today we finally got some more details about how the Notre Dame Fighting Irish are progressing this offseason.

Technically Week 2 will wrap up tomorrow morning, but I thought we'd get this information out there today and hopefully come back with another update sometime in the middle of next week.

Here are the updates and stories:

  • Michael Floyd will have a meeting with the dreaded Res Life board sometime next week with a decision on his punishment coming soon thereafter.

We still don't know what's going to happen with "The Thoroughbred", but it's good to know the meeting is happening sooner rather than later in April or even May. The quicker Floyd and the team find out his fate, the better it will be for everyone involved.

  • I must have incredible timing, because a couple weeks after unveiling the Notre Dame Uniform History Pictorial, Brian Kelly has confirmed that the team will in fact be wearing throwback uniforms on the road against Michigan this upcoming season.

Lest they be left out of the fun, the Wolverines will be also wearing throwbacks (as much as Michigan can, really) that may include a number on their helmet among other changes. The Irish are believed to be wearing Joe Kuharich era white uniforms, meaning ULCA stripes and the shamrock on the helmet.

Put your seatbelts on for that game, because the jerseys alone are going to generate a million opinions, let alone the game itself.

  • On the injury front, it was revealed that receiver Daniel Smith has a slight tear in his hamstring and has to take it easy. The coaches hope to have him ready and full speed by the spring game.

Nose tackle Tyler Stockton is still nursing his knee injury and was seen wearing a brace, while not in full gear. Sean Cwynar is out of his walking boot, but he will still miss the rest of spring practices, while Austin Collinsworth was finally able to participate in warmups on Friday only.

Aside from Roberson's, none of these injuries are major, but you'd really like to see Smith fight for playing time and also what Collinsworth can do at safety.

The team has good-to-great depth at most positions, so these injuries aren't a big deal, but it is frustrating to watch some of these players not participating fully with the team.

  • Both Hendrix and Golson were wearing red (no-contact) jerseys on Friday instead of the normal blue. I’m not really sure what that means, but outside of that, Hendrix did receive some first-team reps after Crist and Rees.

In some of the practice film shot by the media today, the team was lining up with Hendrix at quarterback and both Cierre Wood and Theo Riddick in the backfield. They were running a true spread option on both plays shown; faking the ball to Wood, with Hendrix sprinting outside and pitching the ball to Riddick, who had swung behind the quarterback at the snap.

It remains to be seen if this is the type of play the team will run if Crist or Rees are in at quarterback (I'm guessing highly unlikely), but it is something that a lot of people would like to see.

I'm still skeptical that we'll see Hendrix or Golson come in at random times throughout games and run this kind of offense, but it can't hurt to keep practicing it. The more they do, the more real the possibilities become.

  • Andrew Nuss has been sharing reps with Chris Watt at left guard, while Mike Golic has been cross-training there and at center.

Overall, the offensive line has been getting very good reviews from those in attendance, especially from the coaches. Everyone likes their leadership, work ethic and combination of strength and fitness.

  • Cierre Wood continues to impress everyone, including Brian Kelly who called the junior running back "electrifying" in everything he does. I hate to keep beating this drum, but Wood is going to be so good for the Irish this year.
  • A few comments were made that the receiving corps is stepping up, which is nice to hear. That alleviates part of the meltdown from last week after reports had the receivers not looking all that good.

Even without Floyd, this unit still has a lot of talent in it. Maybe we're not in the running to have a top-five receiving corps,—which we're used to hoping for in the past—but at the same time, how many teams have a combination of Theo Riddick, Cierre Wood and Tyler Eifert?

This offense is going to be just fine.

  • Jonas Gray has been playing well, but still needs to improve on some things. Like Robert Hughes from last year, the coaches really want to see Gray become more of a power back, not someone who dances around too much.

Let's hope Gray gets that role down as soon as possible because the team is going to need him to be productive with half a dozen carries or more per game in 2011.

  • On defense, Dan Fox and David Posluszny have been playing well in Anthony McDonald's absence at linebacker.
  • At the Dog linebacker spot, Danny Spond is really turning heads and is in an intense battle with Prince Shembo on the outside. Since this is one of the big question marks on the defense heading into 2011, it is nice to hear that two players are standing out there right now.
  • Steve Filer continues to toil away without a home, so-to-speak. It's looking like he might not even compete for the Dog position and instead might end up at the Cat spot. The coaches like Filer’s ability to rush the passer, but they still haven’t found him a home; not a great sign for the senior.
  • At the aforementioned Cat linebacker, Darius Fleming is receiving a mountain of praise from Brian Kelly. The coach has mentioned that Fleming has become so much more experienced in the defensive system and is much smarter in pass protection.

Considering Fleming was quietly one of the top three or four defenders last year, this is very big news. He could be ready for a seriously spectacular season.

  • Behind Fleming, true freshman Ishaq Williams has been getting a lot of reps and is in the mix according to coaches. It is likely Williams sees the field this year, but it’s already been made public that it will be with a stripped down role and minimum amount of responsibility.
  • Continuing their strong start to camp, both Lo Wood and Bennett Jackson are getting praise from the coaches and are slowly solidifying the corner position. As long as we keep hearing good things from these two, everyone should be happy.
  • We finally got a glimpse of freshman Kyle Brindza kicking, and he apparently did pretty well. I still can’t wait to see him lay someone out on a tackle, as he looks enormous for a kicker.

More to come in the following days!

 

From the FanTake blog: One Foot Down

 

Follow on Twitter: @OneFootDown

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