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Irish Insights


Aug. 11 practice report

Notre Dame players didn't get much relief from the heat during the morning practice session Wednesday, the first day the team was in pads.

While the temperature was in the 80s, it was very humid and was heating up more after the media viewing session ended. The Irish could be in for a long afternoon practice as the mercury is expected to continue to rise.

It looked like the start of a possible position switch could be in the works for Barry Gallup Jr.

Gallup, who started practice as a receiver, was practicing with the defensive backs. Coach Brian Kelly hinted at a possible offensive player moving to what has become a thinning defensive backfield at the start of practice.

That move became even more important after the news Tuesday that sophomore cornerback E.J. Banks is currently not on the team. Banks is still enrolled at the university, but his future with the football team is in limbo.

Here are some more things from Wednesday's practice:


Defensive coordinator Bob Diaco emphasized a fast pace when the defense got to work after stretching.

He didn't just want the players to come onto the field quickly and ready to work, he also wanted them to get off the field fast.

The second-team defense found out the hard way what kind of pace they needed to leave the field with as they were called back after their first run through to run the drill again. Then get off the field quick.

The first- and second-team groups were:

First team

Defensive line: end Kapron Lewis-Moore, nose tackle Ian Williams, end Ethan Johnson

Linebacker: outside Brian Smith, inside Manti Te'o, inside Anthony McDonald, outside Darius Fleming

Safeties: Harrison Smith and Jamoris Slaughter

Cornerbacks: Darrin Walls and Gary Gray

Second team

Defensive line: end Emeka Nwankwo, nose tackle Sean Cwynar, end Hafis Williams

Linebacker: outside Steve Filer, inside Steve Paskorz, inside Carlo Calabrese, outside Kerry Neal

Safeties: Zeke Motta and Dan McCarthy

Cornerbacks: Lo Wood and Robert Blanton

Defensive backs vs. Receivers

After the defense and offense ran through their initial drills the Irish mixed offensive players vs. defensive players.

The defensive backs and receivers started drills with the defensive back in a square of cones and the receiver using his forearm and moves to get separation to get around him.

Gallup went up against receivers Daniel Smith and John Goodman. Gallup didn't look lost and was able to stay with the two receivers fairly well.

Receiver Robby Toma had an interesting session. Toma mad a nice move to get around Wood his first time up, but he struggled the second time through.

Toma was going against Motta and appeared to give up trying to get around the safety. Receivers coach Tony Alford got on Toma right away and made the receiver go again against Motta. Toma kept the pace up and after the talking to he got from Alford likely won't be giving up on a play again.

Gray and Slaughter did good jobs of keeping the receiver in front of them and not getting knocked back by a forearm.


Tight ends and defensive linemen worked on sealing off their blocks to give the running backs a lane. Here are a few of the matchups:

Tight end Mike Ragone sealed off Fleming well to create a lane, and offensive tackle Zack Martin did a good job on his block.

Tight end Tyler Eifert, a former Bishop Dwenger standout, did an outstanding job of tying up linebacker Dan Fox and pushing him out of the way for Jonas Gray. Gray made it a point to give Eifert a tap on the helmet after their play.


Ben Turk and walk-on Mike Grieco handled the punting from around the 30-yard line.

Turk had a couple of nice punts with good height and distance. Grieco did a decent job with only one punt that went a little sideways on him and ended up around the 35.

The returners were Theo Riddick, Armando Allen and John Goodman, a former Bishop Dwenger standout.