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Notre Dame spring practice report: March 22

SOUTH BEND – Notre Dame opened its fifth practice of the spring to the media for the entire duration Saturday as those attending the program's coaches clinic also got to watch the Irish run through drills.

Defensive end and former Bishop Dwenger standout Tony Springmann is still not a full participant in practice as he recovers from a knee injury. But he did take part in the pre-practice warm-ups before going back to being a spectator Saturday.

Coach Brian Kelly met with the media after the practice and provided updates on right guard Christian Lombard and receiver Will Mahone. Lombard had surgery Thursday to repair a fracture in his right wrist, and Mahone has surgery March 6 to repair a fracture in his right foot.

Both players are done for the spring, and Kelly said Lombard's injury was something he had never seen before in his coaching career.

"He just fell backward on his hand and broke the bone," Kelly said of Lombard. "It is such a minor deal, but it is so major because they had to put a pin in it. If this happened during the season, it would be such a minor deal, but he would be gone for six weeks. It won't impact anything in regards to his training regiment. It was really a freak injury. He was on the bag, he tripped and fell backwards and broke his hand."

Kelly said Lombard and Mahone should recover from their surgeries in four to six weeks.

Here are more notes from practice:


Everett Golson and Malik Zaire both appeared to have good days.

Golson wasn't as accurate as he had been in other viewing sessions, and Zaire is showing he has made strides in being able to read defenses and make quick decisions.

Kelly mentioned after practice that Golson is still getting used to the players around him after not being with the team last season because of a semester suspension for an academic violation.

"I don't think he is feeling comfortable yet," Kelly said. "He doesn't have any of the guys. He doesn't have TJ (Jones, who graduated). (DaVaris) Daniels isn't here (because of a semester suspension for academic reasons).

"It's really like he's working with a whole new cast of characters in that sense. Malik has more time with these guys then he does."

Greg Bryant stood out the most among the running backs as the coaching staff appears to have found a multidimensional weapon in the sophomore.

Bryant was the running back used the most in the passing game, and he made a nice cut to avoid linebacker Romeo Okwara coming off the edge one play.

"He's very powerful," Kelly said of Bryant. "Tarean (Folston) is very smooth. Cam (McDaniel) is shifty and gutsy. This kid (Bryant) is a powerful back. He brings that presence."

The receivers in the opening tempo drill were Corey Robinson and Chris Brown out wide with C.J. Prosise at slot and Ben Koyack at tight end. The second group had Will Fuller and Torii Hunter Jr. out wide with Amir Carlisle in the slot and Mike Heuerman and Durham Smythe sharing time at tight end.

Kelly raved about Robinson after practice.

"He does exactly what I ask him to do all of the time, and he does it well," Kelly said. "He may screw up the first time, but you coach him and he does it right the second time. I love that kid."

Notre Dame's starting offensive line from right to left was Mike McGlinchey, Conor Hanratty, Matt Hegarty, Steve Elmer and Ronnie Stanley. The second unit from right to left was Colin McGovern, John Montelus, Mark Harell and combination of Hanratty and Elmer and Hunter Bivin.


Early enrollee defensive end Andrew Trumbetti got a chance to work with the first team Saturday as Notre Dame worked on its sub package with tackles Sheldon Day and Jarron Jones and end Ishaq Williams.

"He's got a great motor," Kelly said. "He's got pretty good football instincts, and he's got opportunity. If we had a little more depth at that position, we probably wouldn't be talking about him.

"He is physically mature enough to mix it up in there a little bit."

Another player getting work with the first team was linebacker John Turner, who has moved over from safety.

"I'll be surprised if he doesn't take advantage of this opportunity, because he has been given a great opportunity," Kelly said. "We all knew about his physical abilities, now he has been given a chance."

James Onwualu, who moved from receiver to safety, could be in for another change. He worked a lot with the linebackers during practice and was active on the blitz.

Linebacker and former Bishop Luers star Jaylon Smith continued to move around on defense spending time at both outside spots and moving into the middle on the Irish's sub package. Defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder spent plenty of time with Smith, who also got help from former Irish linebacker Prince Shembo at times during practice.


Kyle Brindza opened practice with five field goal opportunities, connecting on kicks from 20, 22 and 29 yards in the middle of the field and 37 and 42 yard from the right hash. John Chereson, a walk-on, made field goals from 20 and 37 yards out but missed on kicks from 22 and 29 yards.