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Irish Insights


Nov. 3 practice notebook

Notre Dame's practice Tuesday had a familiar face.

Former Irish and NFL quarterback Steve Beuerlein was on the sidelines, and before practice started, Beuerlein talked with quarterback Jimmy Clausen – who rode a stationary bike during agility drills – and quarterbacks coach Ron Powlus.

Beuerlein worked as an analyst for Notre Dame's game against Navy last season for CBS.

There were also plenty of players not at practice Tuesday.

Backup quarterback Dayne Crist wasn't at practice, which is to be expected since he will have surgery Friday to repair his ACL in his right knee.

Running back Armando Allen also wasn't at practice for the 40 minutes open to the media. The junior back has been battling a nagging ankle injury this season and didn't play last Saturday against Washington State. Coach Charlie Weis said Allen is day-to-day.

Also absent from practice was right guard Trevor Robinson. The sophomore offensive lineman injured is ankle against Washington State and is doubtful for Saturday's game against Navy.

Now on to who was at practice, starting with former Bishop Dwenger standout John Goodman

Double duty for Goodman

With Crist out for four to six months, Goodman is Notre Dame's emergency backup quarterback behind Clausen and Evan Sharpley.

Goodman is still mainly working out as a receiver, but Weis said the sophomore will also be knocking the rust off his quarterback skills at practice. The 6-foot-3, 203-pounder did play quarterback in his senior season with the Saints.

Goodman didn't get to practice in a red jersey though, staying in blue for practice.

Weis even jokingly asked Goodman if he wanted a red jersey while the quarterbacks and receivers were running over cushions on the ground after stretching.

"Can I get one?" was Goodman's reply. Apparently not.

But Goodman did open his practice with the quarterbacks.

When the quarterbacks were loosing up, Goodman threw with Sharpley, while Clausen threw with Powlus and Matthew Mulvey and Brian Castello threw to each other.

When it came to throwing and handing off, Goodman does have some work to do.

When the quarterbacks worked on taking a hike and throwing it, Goodman missed wide on his first attempt.

After Powlus talked to him about his stance, Goodman connected on the next three throws.

As for handing off to a running back, Goodman missed his first exchange with James Aldridge. The two were able to connect on the second exchange.

After Goodman handed off to Cierre Wood, Powlus showed Goodman of where his arms needed to be. It looked like Powlus wanted Goodman to get lower on his handoffs.

When it came time for quarterbacks to throw to receivers, Goodman was back to his spot in the receiving corps as Clausen and Sharpley handled the throwing duties.

Wide receivers

Michael Floyd, who has been cleared to play this week against Navy, was back in full swing at practice.

The sophomore is returning from a broken collarbone, and for the first time since he started participating in practice three weeks ago, Floyd was allowed to have contact.

Floyd ran through teammates holding cushions with a decent burst. Before this week, Floyd always ran around the cushions.

"Oh, my goodness, are you OK?" receivers coach Rob Ianello jokingly asked Floyd after the receiver went through the cushions.

Floyd just gave a little sigh after going through the drill the first time.

The running order was: Floyd, Golden Tate (who was told not to go through the cushions upright), Robby Parris, Deion Walker, Barry Gallup Jr., Duval Kamara, George West Jr., Shaquelle Evans and Roby Toma.

Offensive line

Watched the offensive linemen work on pushing back an opponent by going through a circle in which the lineman had to make four blocks.

Offensive line coach Frank Verducci stressed that he wanted the last block of the drill to be the best.

The order for blocking was: Eric Olsen, Paul Duncan, Sam Young, Dan Wegner, Chris Stewart, Matt Romine, Taylor Dever and Mike Golic Jr.

Golic appeared pretty slow getting around the circle and didn't seem to be pushing players back with a lot of authority.

The linemen who didn't go around the circle but instead were the ones being blocked were: Mike Hernandez, Zach Martin, Andrew Nuss, Chris Watt, Alex Bullard, Braxston Cave, Dennis Mahoney and Lane Clelland.

Tight ends

Weis spent time with the tight ends, which consisted of Kyle Rudolph, Mike Ragone and Jake Golic.

Weis did this last week to help in getting Rudolph the ball more after the tight end had quiet games against USC and Boston College. Though Weis is quick to point out, Rudolph's production was down in those games because he was needed as a blocker against the Trojans and the plays just weren't clicking against the Eagles.

Weis told Rudolph since he caught some passes with the stick route against Washington State that future opponents would try to take that away.

Weis also worked with Rudolph and Ragone on catching the ball against a "soft 2," in which a second defender would play back a little bit and the tight ends would have to catch the ball in a small pocket between a defender that is up on them and one sacking back a little.

Rudolph made a nice one-handed grab in front of Weis, who was playing the part of the second defender.

Ragone almost ran into Weis when he went, which prompted Weis to say, "If you run me over, you'll be in big trouble." Weis said this while laughing, but considering one player ran over the coach last year in a game, Ragone wisely took the warning.

Weis stressed to both tight ends while running the route that they needed to lean into the first defender before cutting away from him without pushing to get open.

Former Bishop Dwenger standout Tyler Eifert is still not practicing.

Eifert, who thought he was going to have back surgery to repair a bulging disc, will instead go through a rehabilitation program to be ready for spring practice. Eifert played in the first game of the season but will not play for the rest of this season. He is eligible for a medical redshirt.

Quick hits

  • Scouts from the Kansas City Chiefs and Indianapolis Colts were at practice

  • Defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Jon Tenuta worked with Harrison Smith, Manti Te'o, David Posluszny and Scott Smith at recognizing situations in Navy's triple-option running attack

  • Receiver pairings when Clausen and Sharplye started throwing were: Floyd and Parris, Kamara and Goodman and Toma and Walker

  • Running back order for the gauntlet was: Aldridge, Mike Narvaez, Steve Paskroz, Robert Hughes, Theo Riddick, Jonas Gray and Wood