Photo by Rick Kimball/ISD
Notre Dame Football

Freeman's Practice Observations| 8.11

August 11, 2018

Notre Dame held practice inside Notre Dame Stadium on Saturday morning. Antidote by Travis Scott was playing and things got off to a good start on the 80-degree day. 

Brian Kelly challenge his team to lock in and start practice fast. The Irish did that for the most part as the competition didn't come until basically the final four periods. 


First-Team Offense 

QB - Brandon Wimbush 

RB - Tony Jones Jr.

WR - Miles Boykin 

WR - Chase Claypool

WR - Chris Finke 

TE - Alizè Mack 
OL - Liam Eichenberg
OL - Alex Bars 

OL - Sam Mustipher 

OL - Trevor Ruhland
OL - Tommy Kraemer

Second-Team Offense 

QB - Ian Book 

RB - Jafar Armstrong
WR - Avery Davis 

WR - Michael Young

WR - Kevin Austin J.
TE - Brock Wright 
OL - Jarrett Patterson

OL - Dillan Gibbons 

OL - Colin Grunhard 
OL - Josh Lugg

OL - Aaron Banks

Third-Team Offense 

QB - Phil Jurkovec 

RB - C’Bo Flemister

WR - Javon McKinley
WR - Lawrence Keys III 

WR - Joe Wilkins Jr. 

TE - Tommy Tremble

OL - Cole Mabry
OL - Logan Plantz

OL - Colin Grunhard 

OL - Luke Jones 

OL - John Dirksen


DE - Khalid Kareem 

DT - Jon Bonner

DT - Jerry Tillery 

DE - Julian Okwara 

LB - Te’von Coney

LB - Drue Tranquill

Rov - Asmar Bilal 

CB - Julian Love 

CB - Troy Pride Jr. 

S - Nick Coleman 

S - Alohi Gilman


DE - Ade Ogundeji

DT - Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa

DT - Kurt Hinish 

DE - Daelin Hayes 

LB - Jordan Genmark Heath 

LB - Bo Bauer/ Jonathan Jones 

Rov - Shayne Simon

CB - Shaun Crawford

CB - Donte Vaughn

S - Devin Studstill
S - Jalen Elliott 

Not in action
RB Jahmir Smith
OL Robert Hainsey
LB Jack Lamb
LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah
LB Drew White

Freshman defensive tackle Jayson Ademilola worked with the second-team defense as did freshman safety Houston Griffith. 


Quarterback Ian Book found freshman receiver Kevin Austin Jr. in the end zone for about a 25-yard scoring strike. While it was a 50-50 ball, Austin made an incredible catching over, around and through cornerback Donte Vaughn. 

Exceptional play by a receiver that has started to come on positively the last few practices. 


- Wimbush was better throwing to moving targets compared to stationary targets on Saturday. He made several good throws in the red zone including an absolute rope to Nic Weishar. When he doesn’t think about what he’s doing, Wimbush plays much faster and better. 

- It was a solid day from the receivers. They still drop a few more than you’d like to see but the rust is coming off, and the focus is much better. 

- Kevin Austin Jr. is going to play a lot this year. He was getting reps with the first-team during Saturday’s practice. It wasn’t a ton of reps, but he was in there. He made several highlight-reel catches over people, and it’s not surprising as that was one of his strengths coming out of high school. It’s just going scary how good Austin could be by his third year. 

- The 11-on-11 period got everyone fired up, and it was a battle in the trenches. The offensive line got a good push to spring Tony Jones Jr. for a couple of nice gains, but that was after Te’von Coney stuff a run. You don’t want to see one side dominate in camp and both sides of the ball got their shots in on Saturday. 

- Jafar Armstrong continues to impress me as well. He’s a big kid that has speed. We saw him get loose today in 11-on-11 and he got to sideline and then tried to stiff-arm Jalen Elliott. Elliott made a tough tackle, which was also good to see because I’m not sure he makes the stop last year. 

- Julian Love and Troy Pride Jr. could be special. We’ve said it on the first two days, but they continue to impress. Pride becoming a physical presence is so significant for the defense because very few programs have a player with his skill set. 

- Quarterback Phil Jurkovec didn’t get a ton of work today in 1-on-1s or 7-on-7, but he got more reps than we saw on Thursday, which was none. In positional work, the ball was flying out of his hand with accuracy and velocity. I was big on not tinkering with his motion, and I am even more convinced it’s a non-issue after watching him today. He’s a comfortable freshman out there. 

- Defensive lineman Ja'mion Franklin did some good things on 1-on-1s. He blew by the offensive lineman twice and you could see his explosion first step. 


- Brandon Wimbush struggled early getting in the flow. He missed targets as the Irish were going through their warmup periods to start practice. Brian Kelly was very hands-on today with Wimbush and got him settled down to the point Wimbush finished the day in positive fashion. I'd be more concerned if Wimbush didn't rebound to make some tough throws when it mattered. 

- I'd love to see a little more consistency from the quarterbacks and receivers but both Book and Wimbush move the ball in 11-on-11. 

- The practice, in general, didn’t allow for the team to really get in a competitive rhythm. There was an early 1-on-1 period between the receivers and defensive backs, but Saturday was about install and positional development. Kelly mentioned post-practice that they will go heavy contact three times next week. 

- I would have personally loved to have seen more contact at the start to get the guys locked in from the beginning. I don’t think Notre Dame wasn’t focused or giving effort, but things ramped up by about 150 percent when the 11-on-11 period came around. 

11-on-11 Thoughts

- The first thing that stood out was the intensity Notre Dame brought to the session. In past years, it might have seemed like another period, but this team is fired up to compete and fired up to hit people. 

- Wimbush was good but not great. He missed a throw to the flats, which was a tough throw and Armstrong had a chance to reel it in and dropped it. Not ideal from both sides but it would have been a tough play all around. 

- Tony Jones Jr. ripped off runs of about six yards and eight yards but also was stoned for no gain and about two yards. 

- Te’von Coney came to play. We hadn’t heard much from Coney during the previous two viewings, but they also hadn’t done a ton of live 11-on-11. Coney made his presence felt throughout the 11-on-11 session. 

- Wimbush and Book did nice things off RPOs. Wimbush made a tough throw to Boykin for a nice gain.

- Armstrong had the 30+ yard catch and run, while Austin ended Book’s drive with the touchdown catch. 

- Notre Dame was bringing the pressure on Wimbush and he did well for the most part. He found Alizè Mack for about a 20-yard completion on a Don Brownesque all-out blitz. The defense was coming hard and Wimbush gathered himself to make a tough throw. 

- Wimbush also likely missed a receiver (I didn't see an open one) where he ended up running about 80 yards behind the line of scrimmages before settling for a gain of three yards. It was an impressive run to avoid being touched as he was in the red jersey but he likely missed a receiver when he was in the pocket. 


Notre Dame worked on kickoff return today. Asmar Bilal, Shayne Simon, Isaiah Robertson, Nicco Fertitta, Jordan Genmark Heath, Jalen Elliott, Nic Weishar, Cole Kmet, Keenan Sweeney, Jafar Armstrong and Avery Davis made up the first unit. 

Notre Dame will have to adjust numbers or people as Simon and Sweeney both are No. 33. 

Returners were Avery Davis, Chris Finke, Shaun Crawford and Michael Young today, but Brian Kelly said they are also working in some of the younger guys, which means Braden Lenzy and Lawrence Keys III will likely get their shot. 


It was another solid performance on Saturday from the field goal unit. Yoon hit from 20, 30, 36, 45 and 50 yards, while his only miss was from 40 yards out. Ian Book looks to be improving as the holder and even calmly reeled in a bad snap for one of Yoon’s makes. 

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