Notre Dame coaches and scribes got their first look at what they hope will be the next batch of future Irish stars when spring practice opened Wednesday morning. By all accounts, the five freshman who enrolled for spring ball this semester lived up to the billing at least in first impressions.
Most reporters on the scene got hung up on the miniature camera attached to the side of Dayne Crist‘s helmet. The helmet cam, which dominated Notre Dame headlines Wednesday evening, is designed to allow coaches to see if the quarterback is properly going through his progressions. This technology wowed many who said it could usher in “a new era in Notre Dame spring football practices” and who apparently missed the past 15 years of sports television. The helmet cam was around during the 1996 NHL All-Star Game, around the same time – as you can tell from this video – as the primitive Fox sports robots and, yes, the infamous glow puck experiment.
But I digress, back to the early enrollees and how they fared in Wednesday morning practice…
Practice was only open to the prying eyes of the media for 20 minutes on Wednesday and not during any special teams work. His 6-foot-1, 220-pound frame did get him labeled as “the linebacker of the kicking squad.” He outweighs placekicker David Ruffer and punter Ben Turk by 45 and 25 pounds respectively.
Despite being recruited as a defensive end, Carrico lined up on the offensive side of the ball Wednesday and likely will stay there. As former Irish defensive end and current Blue & Gold Illustrated writer Jason Sapp said, the offensive line is normally a final stop in position changes. Sapp was surprised that Carrico didn’t at least get the chance to show what he could do on the defensive side.
Golson reportedly looked shaky as he and the three other Notre Dame quarterbacks went through throwing drills on Wednesday. He also looked small. Despite putting on 10 pounds since arrive in South Bend, the 6-0, 180-pound quarterback was dwarfed standing next to Crist.
Kelly said he thought Golson had a natural comfort in the shotgun, but would have to be brought along slowly.
“He feels comfortable in the shotgun, you can see he can operate right away, but obviously it’s going to be a tailored package,” Kelly said. “He’s not going to be able to run everything we do. But some of the things he does, he’s pretty good. A little sloppy mechanically at times, we’ll have to clean that up.”
Lynch, like Golson, has been taking advantage of the training table during his first month at school. He packed on 20 pounds since his arrival and Kelly said physically he is as ready to go as some of the juniors and seniors on the team.
Tim Prister of IrishIllustrated.com reported that the coaching staff was thrilled with Lynch’s early aggressive nature. He may not have a full grasp on the defense yet, but he was full speed ahead at all times, according to defensive line coach Mike Elston.
“He’s going to be able to do it all,” Elston said. “We’re very encouraged by Aaron, and he will definitely be able to defeat a block and stop the run.”
Irish coaches said Williams has the prototypical body for the 3-4/4-3 hybrid linebacker in Bob Diaco‘s defense. He worked the third-team during drills Wednesday, but looked smooth and strong when attacking the blocking sled during brief videos of practice.
You can check out highlights of Ishaq’s first practice along with a few of the other early enrollees below.