Notre Dame held her second bowl practice today ahead of her Fiesta Bowl game against Oklahoma State. Irish Breakdown football analyst Vince DeDario was on hand and had observations and thoughts on the practice.
To begin with, the structure of the practice was quite different. Instead of starting with tours or doing on-air work, as we’ve seen in the past, the first half we immediately saw them compete with a one-on-one red zone.
There was competition throughout the first half and for 40 minutes there was a lot of one-on-one instruction and a lot of competitive one-on-one.
After the first period new head coach Marcus Freeman gathered the whole team and talked to them. The word “finish” has been used a lot, ending the season, completing each practice, completing each repetition and competing to win.
Some notes and observations:
*** Freeman worked with linebackers during the individual period. Offensive line coach Jeff quinn was there and spent most of the individual time working with positions from the inside offensive line.
*** First year offensive tackle Blake fisher was dressed for practice and worked through individual exercises. He was moving fairly well and didn’t seem to be bothered by the knee injury that cost him all but half of the season.
*** This practice involved a lot of work on the part of the young players. For example, during the first red zone period, it was Drew pyne at the watch with Lorenzo Styles, Jayden thomas, Matt Salerno and Mitchell evans. starting quarterback Jack coan had limited work today as Pyne and Tyler buchner got most of the reps. Thomas beat up his freshman classmate Philippe riley for a touchdown at the start of the goal-line period while Ryan barnes forced an incompletion at Styles.
*** Buchner looked sharp as he tossed the ball. He shot the ball with confidence and his ball placement was good. Buchner went 4-7 head-to-head, but two of his failures were drops, one by Braden Lenzy and the other by Kevin Bauman.
*** Pyne was also very lively during one-on-one meetings. He was only 1-4 during the red zone period (two drops) but went 7-9 during the head-to-head period including a great ball from a corner to Salerno. He was chosen by Riley during the face-to-face meeting.
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