Notre Dame’s spring practices are two-thirds done. The Irish held on Saturday their 10th of 15, and head coach Brian Kelly spoke with reporters afterward via Zoom.
Here are some of the topics he addressed.
On LB Drew White’s Injury
“Drew has a high ankle sprain. We’ll be careful with him. Nothing long term. He’s certainly a guy we know enough about. He’s a great leader. Whether we put him back out there or not is questionable. His presence is there. He’s with the young guys. He’s making sure they’re picking up the things they need to, and he’s learning too. There are some nuances in the defense he needs to be aware of as well.”
On LB Jack Kiser
“Jack is learning the position because he doesn’t have a ton of experience out there. What we like about Jack is he’s extremely athletic, even in space, and a guy you enjoy coaching. He’s always around the building trying to pick up more time to watch film and meet with [defensive coordinator] Marcus [Freeman].
You can see his improvement. He’s around the football. There are some things in the pass game we have to work on. He doesn’t have the elite speed to play the slot receiver one-on-one, but we can do a lot of other things with him in terms of blitzing him, zone coverage.”
On The Wide Receivers
“Receiver, to me, it’s about more than anything else getting [Joe] Wilkins, [Braden] Lenzy and [Lawrence] Keys at the next level. Jordan Johnson is getting better, there’s no doubt. He has to continue to get better with the little things. He has missed a couple practices. We have to get him back in the flow of things.
“But those three guys are where this is at. They have got to ascend to a championship level. They have been good, don’t get me wrong. I need them to move to that great level. They’re capable of it, and we’re seeing some signs. This is all wrapped up in these three guys taking that next step.”
“That’s assuming we get Kevin Austin back healthy. Avery [Davis] has obviously been steady for us in the slot. You have a great tight end. You have two outstanding backs, three really with C’Bo [Flemister]. But those three guys have to ascend. That’s the really the key.”
On The Slot Corner/Nickel Back
“It’s going to be contingent on who we’re playing. If we’re playing Florida State and they come out four wides and 11 personnel, you’ll see a lot more nickel on the field. That position is in flux. We’re playing an extra safety or corner there.
“KJ Wallace has been getting some work there. [TaRiq] Bracy has been getting some work there. We’re going to continue to find what the best rotation is for us at that position. It will be contingent upon personnel groupings. We run a lot of 12 personnel and that guy isn’t on the field when we go against each other because of the personnel matchup.”
On DE Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa
“Myron probably falls in the category of a slight surprise for me. I didn’t know how he was going to handle the transition to the edge. He has been impressive. The thing he will have to work on is picking his spots in terms of what techniques he’s going to use. He has to mix it up. Those are things that take time to develop.
“He’s so good against the run, he’s strong and has such a good lower body and base that he can get underneath tackles and string things out. The learning curve is continuing to work on a couple moves off the edge with his bull rush and speed rush.”
On Spring Surprises
“The ability of the mid-years, guys who come in from high school and have to adapt through COVID and academics and weight training, then come out here and compete. In some instances, it has surprised me they can do it at a high level. We have some freshmen who are vying for playing time in their first year. I find that not surprising, but pretty impressive.
“I’d say that’s quite an achievement for a kid of that age to come in here to a championship program, a team that has played in the playoff two of the last three years, to make that kind of impact.”
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