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Notre Dame Football

Uyeyama's Practice Observations | August 15

August 15, 2018
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It was an overcast, but extremely humid day for Notre Dame practice. This was the first of the three practices that I’ve been to where the offense got the better of the defense, which is encouraging.

The quarterbacks and receivers had a very good day overall. The combination of impressive throws and great catches was maybe the best I have seen from a fall camp practice in the last four years.

Let’s get right into it…

- I know everyone wants to hear about Brandon Wimbush so might as well get it out of the way first.

It was more good than bad in my opinion. He had a couple of bad decisions in team and didn’t look sharp in red zone one on ones. He threw a pick to Alohi Gilman in one on ones and threw it right to Shayne Simon in team for his pick. (A third almost pick by Nicco Fertitta would have never been thrown in a game as it would have been a sack.)

Aside from that, I liked what I saw from him. He made quicker decisions in the pocket. His ball placement on perimeter throws was so much better than it has been. I think part of that was going tempo in an early team period where Wimbush looked very comfortable.

In the red zone skelly near the end of practice, he went three for three with a touchdown to Alize Mack, Miles Boykin, and Chris Finke. The throws to Boykin and Finke were both fantastic. For whatever reason, he has looked so much better in the red zone in these situations than he has throwing ball at other times. I don’t know if it’s focus or what it might be, but it’s at a different level. Almost like a batter being able to hit better with runners in scoring position than when no one is on base.

- Generally the quarterbacks all looked good today. Ian Book made a great throw up the seam to Finke in team and had a perfect throw to Joe Wilkins to finish off red zone skelly with a touchdown.

Phil Jurkovec dropped a dime to George Takacs over Devin Studstill in red zone skelly as well.

- The offense didn’t have much success running the ball inside, but they did create a few big runs on the perimeter. Jafar Armstrong broke a jet sweep for a long gain and Avery Davis did the same where the defense failed to set the edge on a later run.

Armstrong and Davis were players that the Irish needed to show out during camp and both have done so as runners and receivers. They went tempo and threw the ball to Davis three times in a row and any he made a really tough catch on a wheel from the slot when he held on through contact with Studstill.

- There are too many receivers who made great catches to name. I’ve mentioned some above, but Finke was the one who had the best day. Brian Kelly mentioned that Finke has worked on being more explosive and he looks it.

Boykin and Kevin Austin continue to impress as well. Austin beat Julian Love deep in one on ones on a great deep ball from Jurkovec. Can definitely picture those two connecting a lot in the future.

- This was the first time I noticed George Takacs in the three practices I have seen with that over the shoulder catch in the red zone and another play in skelly where he shook Simon after the catch. On a lot of other teams he’d probably get a lot more chances to shine in camp. It was nice to see him take advantage of his opportunities today.

- I feel a lot better about Liam Eichenberg today than I did in the spring. He has taken a nice step and is playing well, specifically in pass protection aside from getting beat on one play that jumped out to me.

- I know Josh Lugg has received some praise stepping in at right guard with Robert Hainsey out and Tommy Kraemer shifted to tackle, but I saw Lugg get beat for a couple of sacks today. The first was by Khalid Kareem and the second was by Myron Tagovailoa-Amosa.

Those are two pretty good players that are having good camps, but I do think it’s worth mentioning.

- Kareem has been the best end for the Irish in camp. He is in the backfield a lot and has looked very quick. He would have had sacks on consecutive plays beating Lugg and Eichenberg. Kareem sure looks like he is primed for a big season.

- Ade Ogundeji really jumped out to me today with his motor and his ability to get off blocks and get in on tackles in the run game. If he keeps playing like that then him and Kareem might see some time on the field at the same time.

- WIth Daelin Hayes out for the day, it was interesting to see Justin Ademilola get the nod with twos at Drop rather than Jamir Jones. Ademilola had some nice flashes. He looked comfortable dropping in coverage and had a sack against Jarrett Patterson during team.

Later on he got pancaked by Aaron Banks where it kind of brought him back to do earth as a freshman, but the pass rush presence could mean he could get into the mix with an injury.

- Hit of the day went to Asmar Bilal who flew from the other side of the formation to fill against Armstrong on an outside run. There hasn’t been any red flags with Bilal yet so if anyone is waiting for Simon to overtake him, it doesn’t look like that is going to happen.

I always thought Bilal was never around the football enough in previous years and that isn’t the case anymore.

- It’s a broken record with the cornerbacks with them in one on ones so I won’t praise them again, but I do feel it’s necessary to mention that there were a couple of breakdowns in the secondary that led to big plays. It’s impossible for me to say whether it was the fault of the safeties or the corners, but a couple of guys were running wide open today and we didn't see that in the other practices.

When the Irish started tackling, Alohi Gilman is the one constant at safety on almost every play. He just has a nose for the ball.

- Houston Griffith is getting healthier and participated today. He didn’t make much of a splash during team (and actually missed a tackle on Finke in the open field), but his anticipation in man coverage is fantastic. He locked up Braden Lenzy in one on ones a couple of times.

- Isaiah Robertson going from Buck to wide receiver is quite the transition, but it might not be a bad one in the long run. It was going to be tough for him to see time at linebacker and even though the depth chart is equally as crowded at receiver, he was a better receiver in high school than a defender. I don’t see any downside in giving it a shot.

 
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