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Notre Dame Football

Quick Defensive Notes from Notre Dame's 10th Practice

August 17, 2021

It was good to be back in the Bend to watch my first practice since 2019, even if we didn’t see much today. Let’s consider it an appetizer for the entree that is the full practice we’ll get to see on Thursday.

- There obviously isn’t much that can be learned from stretching. The only thing I could think of when watching it is that Notre Dame is fortunate that it was a unique year for recruiting because if more programs got eyes on Blake Fisher, there would have been way more programs in the south who would have put a heck of a lot more effort into landing him.

He is Alabama big as a freshman.

- About 15 minutes of the 30 minutes we had was stretching, but they then broke out into field goal. Jon Doerer had a good day and hit over 50 during that period.

One thing that stood out was having Rylie Mills in the middle of the field goal block defense and I’d expect to see that all this season. If he can provide a Jarron Jones type of presence in those situations, that could end up being big for the Irish.

- Ryan Barnes (pictured above, but he that pic is not from today) was off to the side working with a strength and conditioning coach rather than practicing, so we can assume he is injured.

I’ve never seen a freshman corner like him when it comes to size. I’ve stood next to Richard Sherman before and Barnes looks like Sherman today. What’s he going to look like three years from now?

- The defense worked on a tackling and turnover circuit at the start of individual. I wish there was more to report on with this, but nothing stood out of note.

- In the last five minutes they broke out into position groups with both the defensive backs and linebackers working on block destruction. This is something that Marcus Freeman has talked about emphasizing at Cincinnati and something Clark Lea certainly emphasized during his time at Notre Dame so it’s nice to see this continue to be fundamentally important for the defense.

- I did get to see the defensive line work in groups with a drill where they were reacting to zone blocking looks.

The first defensive line had Jayson Ademilola at 3-technique, Kurt Hinish at nose, Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa at big end, and Isaiah Foskey at Vyper.

The second D-line had Rylie Mills at 3-tech, Howard Cross at nose, NaNa Osafo-Mensah at the big end, and Justin Ademilola at Vyper.

The third defensive line had Jacob Lacey at 3-tech, Aiden Keanaaina at nose, Alex Ehrensberger at the big end, and Jordan Botelho at Vyper. We got kicked out after that.

I don’t know if anything should be read into those groups. We’ll see more during the full practice on Thursday.

I am interested to see if Justin Ademilola is a permanent fixture at Vyper and if 3-tech is where Jacob Lacey is going to be slotted this season. I know that Howard Cross is making moves at nose so I’m intrigued by how that might shake up the rotation inside.

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