Notre Dame’s ninth spring practice and the three-minute video from it gave a glimpse at some of Marcus Freeman’s exotic experimentation with defensive fronts. It’s hard to fully tell what happens on the entire play and see all 11 players, but a couple clips did show some intriguing groupings and usage.
Here’s the full video and some personnel-related takeaways.
(Required disclaimer: These videos are only a small portion of practice and are not indicative of final decisions on the depth chart. They do, though, offer a glimpse of who worked where for all or part of the day’s practice, and that helps identify contenders for open starting jobs and get an idea of plans for individual players).
• The first two minutes of the video is drill work, but Zeke Correll, Andrew Kristofic and Dillan Gibbons are at center in throwing drills at the start. Each has spent time there this spring in 11-on-11.
• 11-on-11 starts at 2:30. It’s a first-team offense vs. first-team defense rep. Josh Lugg is at right tackle, Rocco Spindler, at left guard, and Andrew Kristofic at right guard. The other two spots aren’t clear. On defense, safety K.J. Wallace is on the field. George Takacs is at tight end, and Jack Coan at quarterback.
• The following clip has the same offensive line, plus Tosh Baker visible at left tackle. Center is once again unclear. The first-team defense is out there, with Wallace, safety D.J. Brown, cornerback Clarence Lewis and corner Cam Hart in the secondary. Jack Kiser is at rover.
• At 3:29, Wallace is lined up at slot corner with the first team. He breaks up a Coan deep shot for receiver Avery Davis.
• The 3:51 mark has an offensive line (left to right) of Blake Fisher, Spindler, Zeke Correll, Kristofic and Lugg. The defensive front is end Isaiah Foskey, tackle Rylie Mills and end Justin Ademilola. Linebackers Shayne Simon and J.D. Bertrand blitz. Coan completes to tight end Michael Mayer with safety Houston Griffith in coverage.
• Ramon Henderson is at boundary corner at 4:16. With him on defense: Foskey, Mills, tackle Howard Cross III, Ademilola, linebacker Marist Liufau, linebacker Bo Bauer, Griffith and Brown. It’s a first-team rep for John Dirksen at right guard.
• Some second-team action at 4:40. Tyler Buchner is the quarterback, Michael Carmody at right tackle and Baker at left tackle. Kristofic is on the line too. Defensive end NaNa Osafo-Mensah is on the field with Bertrand, Simon, cornerback TaRiq Bracy, rover Isaiah Pryor, safety Justin Walters and Wallace.
• Back in 11-on-11 at 6:22, Baker is on the first-team offense again at left tackle with Spindler, Correll, Kristofic and Lugg. An interesting defensive look and possible rusher-heavy package: Foskey, end Jordan Botelho, end Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa up the middle and tackle Jayson Ademilola.
• Foskey is the vyper at 7:07, but he drops into the flat in coverage after initially taking a step toward Baker. Botelho was on the field with him, but also doesn’t rush. Those two have been on the field together in several clips this spring. Tagovailoa-Amosa, Jayson Ademilola and Liufau put pressure on Coan.
• At 7:45, Bracy is in with the first team and steps in front of receiver Joe Wilkins Jr. to pick off a Coan throw over the middle. It looked like he started at slot corner next to Lewis.
• Talk about it inside Rockne’s Roundtable.
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